Castello Banfi Named Winery of the Year (Europe)

Castello Vineyards Borgo

Castello Banfi & vineyards

Family-owned Castello Banfi is named the Winery of the Year, Europe in the 2015 Winemaker Challenge, an international competition organized by syndicated wine columnist Robert Whitley.

With its dedication to pursuing excellence through research and continuous improvement, Banfi winery has intrinsically tied itself to the territory of Montalcino and now beyond to Strevi, Piedmont. When John F. Mariani, family proprietor and now Chairman Emeritus of Banfi, inaugurated Castello Banfi winery in 1984, he declared, “It is our fondest desire that this project will be good for the people of Montalcino, good for Italy, good for America, good for all people who love fine wine.”

Staying true to these words, Castello Banfi has become one of the world’s most unique research plantations, with 25 years of clonal research, soil and hydration studies, nitrogen bottle pioneering, and and research into French limousin oak. Findings from these studies have been generously shared with the wine-making community at large.

Additionally, Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an international leader in customer satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000).

This commitment to improving the standards in the vineyard and at the winery has enabled Castello Banfi to produce world-class wines that deliver a consistent experience to consumers at exceptional values – from its Brunello di Montalcino (Best in Class Italian at the Winemaker Challenge) to its everyday value wine Centine (Gold Medal winner).

For more information on the Winemaker Challenge and a complete list of award winners, visit

Estelle & Rosa Regale Host Viewing Party for Hit Show Empire

ConquerorEstelleRosaRegaleEstelle made a guest appearance on Fox’s TV smash hit series EMPIRE this past Wednesday night (March 4th) and sang her song, “Conqueror” in a duet with Empire’s Jussie Smollett.

As one of the show’s 14.33 million viewers, Estelle watched the appearance at an “Empire Viewing Party” in Manhattan with 25 of her close friends and key influencers.  Rosa Regale “live tweeted” with the hashtag #RosaRegaleEmpire during and after the show, along with Estelle, Fox Network, and other influencers in the room.

Watch the duet via the link below:

We hope to see a lot more of Estelle on future episodes of Empire!

EstelleTweetRead more:

Banfi’s Cru Artisan Team Helps Feed the Nation’s Hungry in Houston

Banfi Volunteers
The Banfi team prepares over 3,000 meals at the Houston Food Bank

Those who know him would believe it more likely for Luciano Castiello to contemplate a wine pairing for Spaghetti Bolognese than a Sloppy Joe, but there he was doing just that.

“Maybe a nice dry Lambrusco like OttocentoNero, an easy drinking Chianti such as Fonte alla Selva, or even a bright, zesty white like La Pettegola Vermentino,” he suggested.

His well-trained teammates around him nodded in agreement, but the Sloppy Joes they were all making that day were not for them; in fact, the individuals who would dine on the wholesome meal prepared by this crack team of wine experts were not even of legal drinking age. They were elementary school children, their nourishment courtesy of Houston Food Bank “Feed America” with a little help that particular day from the Cru Artisan Wines team.

Castiello is the National Ambassador for Cru Artisan, an in-house agency focusing on the luxury selections of Banfi Vintners, America’s leading wine importer. He and his colleagues had gathered in Houston at the start of the new year for a business review and to call on some of the nation’s most prestigious restaurants where their wines are sold. But they took a half day out of their program to assemble meals for the Feed America. The 12-member team helped prepared over 3,000 meals in their five hours of service at Keegan Center, Houston Food Bank’s 15,000 square-foot industrial kitchen. [Read more…]

Bryan Voltaggio’s Pairing Menu with Banfi Wines (Recipes Included)

Chef Bryan Voltaggio is one of the most recognized and influential chefs in contemporary American cooking. From his website:

As a finalist on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5, Voltaggio is the first chef to compete on both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.

As a father and chef, Voltaggio is a passionate philanthropist and supports Share Our Strength (SOS) in their fight against childhood hunger. He has raised over half a million dollars over the last five years to support innovative school breakfast programs, meals for achievement, and the national No Kid Hungry campaign

His philosophy as a chef is: service to the local products he uses and dedication to making people happy.

Chef Voltaggio created a special menu at EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival during a “Food for Thought” presentation, in which celebrity chefs offer guests delectable bites as they share culinary tips and stories from their life in food. During Bryan’s session, he paired his delicious three-course menu with several Banfi wines: Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio, Castello Banfi Centine Rosso, and Rosa Regale Sparkling Wine.

Fortunately for those who didn’t make it to the event, Chef Voltaggio has generously shared his creative recipes and pairings. Menu and full recipes follow.

 Bryan Voltaggio’s Pairing Menu – with Banfi Wines

Local Mushroom Stew with Peanuts

Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio Toscana

Coffee Barbeque Pork Shoulder with Pumpkin Sauerkraut, Cast Iron Fried Brussels Sprouts and Buttermilk Biscuits

Banfi Centine Rosso Toscana

Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Stout Ice Cream

Rosa Regale Sparkling Wine [Read more…]

The Best Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

Stock up on these crowd-pleasing sparkling wines for the holiday season!

1. Maschio Prosecco Brut: Beautiful packaging and recently rated among The Top 100 Values by Wine & Spirits, this is a sparkling wine great for gifting and sharing. See the full review from W&S below:

Riunite’s entry into the Prosecco game offers an edgy, fresh peach and peppercorn-scented sparkler. It’s bright with the greenness of chlorophyll and a peppery burst in the end. Delicious with prosciutto. (91 Points)

SRP: $13

2. Rosa Regale: With its strawberry and raspberry notes and deep cranberry color, guests are sure to remember this sparkling red. Recommended recently by the Cleveland Dealer, which reports, “Rosa Regale definitely fits the bill for sweet fans; this would be perfect as an after-dinner drink or with dessert.”

SRP: $20

3. Bolla Prosecco & Bolla Sparkling Rosé: Fresh, lively, and easy-drinking, Bolla Prosecco is a clear choice for New Year’s Eve sipping and a great base for cocktails at New Year’s Day brunch. Bolla Sparkling Rosé makes a great starter for guests at your holiday party and also goes well with lighter fare and passed hors d’oeuvres.

The Review Stew writes last week:

“For all your festivities this holiday season, celebrate with two festive sparklers from Bolla: Bolla Sparkling Rosé and Bolla Prosecco!
[Bolla Prosecco] has hints of apple, pear and peach with a vein of acidity and lively finish…You may enjoy Bolla Prosecco with anything! It is delightful with appetizers, seafood, pasta, chicken, pork and veal as well as desserts.
[Bolla Sparkling Rose] is a light pink with the bouquet being a powerful floral bouquet. It ends with a taste of fine and persistent perlage, with a fresh, fruity flavor.”
SRP: $13

3 New Recipes for Pumpkin Pie

PumpkinPieImagePumpkin pie is a respected staple at the Thanksgiving table. The dessert represents tradition and evokes imagery of the harvest and of fall. Its base, pumpkin, is also an ever increasing fixation in the U.S. According to Nielsen, last year sales of pumpkin-flavored products increased by 13.5% – following 2012 when sales increased 12%. The round orange squash is hot and you can now find pumpkin EVERYTHING (i.e., Pumpkin spice e-cigarettes?! No, thanks.).

Stick to the basics of your traditional pumpkin pie, but this holiday season, try introducing a twist. These fun recipes, using Sara Lee Pumpkin Pie, are easy, and best of all have been specially paired with a recommended Riesling wine. Dessert + Wine? Now you have a #RieslingtoFeast.

Check out the descriptions and find the full recipes below the fold!

Cinnamon Creme Pumpkin Pie – paired with Pacific Rim Dry Riesling

This delicious cinnamon topping gives your pumpkin pie that special homemade touch that will leave your friends begging for the recipe.

Salted Caramel “Turtle” Pumpkin Pie – paired with Pacific Rim Riesling

Move over whipped cream! Sweet and salty with a bit of crunch, this twist on pumpkin pie might become the new contender for your family’s favorite way to serve pumpkin pie.

Cranberry Cream Topped Pumpkin Pie – paired with Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling

Looking for a tart and tangy twist to traditional whipped cream? Top your pumpkin pie with this beautiful, creamy topping and enjoy the compliments! [Read more…]

Tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich (paired with wine, of course)

All the ingredients for a perfect Grilled Cheese! Wine included. :)

All the ingredients for a perfect Grilled Cheese Pairing! Wine included. :)

Cooler weather means it’s time to stay cozy at home with your favorite comfort foods. Tomato soup, casseroles, and warm stews all fit the bill. However, the ultimate comfort food is a perfectly toasty and melty grilled cheese sandwich, and even better, paired with a glass of Chianti wine. Put on flannel PJs, pour yourself a glass of wine, get that grilled cheese ready, add Netflix and a cozy throw…and you’re all set!

To help create the perfect grilled cheese and Chianti pairing, Banfi recently partnered up with The Homestead at Bedford Cheese Shop to dissect what makes the ultimate grown-up grilled cheese. See the tips below, courtesy of the Homestead at Bedford Cheese Shop and Banfi! [Read more…]

6 Chili Recipe Winners Paired with Riunite Lambrusco

Tailgating just got more fun! Spice up your game day with these winning chili recipes paired alongside refreshing Riunite Lambrusco.

The Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge has now made stops in six cities across the U.S., where semifinalists entered their best chili recipe during tailgate parties in Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati.

You can find the winning recipes below. Try them out and don’t forget to pour a glass of Riunite Lambrusco!

Dallas_Finalist_Post [Read more…]