2007 Castello Banfi Col di Sasso Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese
Lately I have been obsessed with Tuscan wines, so when I came across this bottle, it practically jumped into my cart! The vineyard of the wine's origin was inspired by Teodolinda Banfi. Referred to as Miss Linda, she was the first non-ordained member of the church to ever head a pope's staff and was the first woman who wasn't a nun to live in the Vatican. (I love rule breakers!) Working under Pope Pius XI from 1922 to 1929, Vatican records referred to her as the "real guardian" of the papal apartments. She was praised for her selection of wines that were served with the pope's meals and her passion and knowledge of fine wines greatly influenced her nephew to establish the vineyard that bears her name.
This wine is considered a Baby Super Tuscan. Super Tuscans came around when vineyards decided to break away from traditional Chianti laws (a ridiculous set of requirements for winemakers to follow when making Chianti). Instead of making wines that fit into the strict Chianti designation, the rebellious vintners created wine according to their own desires instead. When they did this, the wines started to carry the quality and backbone that Chiantis had started to lose. Super Tuscans are dense, tannic, and full of flavor. These wines can be quite pricy. Fortunately many producers wanted to get in on the mid-level price market and, thus, the birth of Baby Super Tuscans. These wines share many of the same qualities as the Super Tuscans but are offered at a much lower price. Due to the success of both Super Tuscans and Baby Super Tuscans, the Chianti laws have started to change and loosen up resulting in wonderful Chiantis once more.
Col di Sasso is a cuvee (specific blend, pronounced "koo-VAY") of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Sangiovese, the only grape named after a god, is most famous for its appearance in Tuscan wines. Its high acidity makes it extremely food friendly, but as a friend once told me, it doesn't "pack enough ass" on its own. This is why Cabernet Sauvignon is added. Cab Sauv brings the body and complexity that the wine needs.
Col di Sasso, translated to "stony hill", refers to the rocky slopes on which it is grown. Its name also makes sense in reference to its minerally flavor. I also picked up on black cherry, and other dark fruits, complimented with a little bit of power from the Cabernet. It carried a nice medium body with soft tannins. Tannins are often described as the component that "dries out the mouth" and they give red wine structure. This wine was also balanced without any undesirable peaks or valleys of flavors. All of these qualities made it quite approachable and easy to enjoy! I drank it while eating pasta, but it would go well with a nice steak too.
All in all, I was quite impressed with this wine. It is a great example of how Baby Super Tuscans can deliver quality Italian wine with out the high cost. I also feel as though this is a great wine for those who are starting to gain interest in reds or want to explore some new styles. It has a lot of flavor and it wouldn't seem overwhelmingly "dry" to those who are used to lighter body styles. This wine's quality definitely exceeded its price and I highly recommend giving it a try!
Name: Col Di Sasso
Vintage (year): 2007
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese
Description: Medium Bodied Red
Where to get it: Kroger and Chops Wine Bar (by the glass)
What I Paid: $8.99
Photos by Tony Frantz