Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Castello Banfi Producer Wine Dinner at Vivere Italian Village Chicago

Castello Banfi Wine Producer Dinner at Vivere Italian Village Chicago

We've written recently about Jared Gelband, the new wine director at Italian Village in Chicago, and his efforts to revitalize the historic cellar and wine program there. An element of the wine program is a series of wine dinners featuring storied wine producers. The inaugural wine dinner of the new era featured the American owned prolific Italian producer, Castello Banfi which translates to English Banfi Cellars.

Wine Director Jared Gelband
with Erin & Johnny Fort
Presenting the wines and representing Banfi was Lars Lecht, Director of Communications and wine ambassador, Castello Banfi (shown left).

Preparing the evening dinner were Executive Chef, James Giacometti and Sous Chef Kevin Lundy. Also in attendance to welcome guests and oversee operations was Italian Village third generation owner Gina Capitanini.

The dinner featured six courses, each paired with a Banfi wine selection - three red and three whites including a sparkling wine and a late harvest dessert wine.

First course - Cocomero -

Grilled Watermelon, sea salt flakes, cherry Heirloom tomato (grown on the urban rooftop garden atop the restaurant), baby frisee, black sesame seed vinagrette, fresh Buratta cheese and shaved radish.

The course wine accompaniment -

Castello Banfi Alta Langa Cuvée Aurora Rosé 2011

 Produced from 100% Pinot Noir fruit sourced exclusively in Banfi Estate vineyards located on the Piedmontese hilltops in the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria.

Full bodied, darkish pink colour, silky smooth elegance with notes of toasted almond nut accented by smoke, apple, hints of citrus and whisper of vanilla.


RM 91 points. 

The second course - Capesante -

Iron eared Diver Sea Scallop, eggplant caponata, toasted hazelnuts, citrus froth. This was so good, any wine would have been a nice accompaniment. The crisp clean Pinot Grigio was wonderful.

The wine accompaniment -

Castello Banfi Pinot Grigio San Angelo Toscana IGT 2013

Straw colored, light bodied, lively acidity, dry, subdued modest flavors of lemon citrus fruits, wet stone, and lychee.

RM 87 points.


Third course - Pasta

Housemade tomato flavored half moon shaped pasta filled with braised pork shoulder, hand dipped ricotta cheese, Parmesan-Reggiano, rooftop grown cherry tomatos, purple basil. The sweetness of the sauce was a perfect balance to the acidity of the brilliant red wine.

Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino Sangiovese 2013 

100% Sangiovese - Banfi calls this their 'baby Brunello'. Ruby red colored, medium bodied, subdued black cherry fruits, bright acidity,  tones of leather and tobacco leaf with nice silky tannins on the moderate finish.

RM 87 points.


Fourth Course - Anatra

Pan seared Maple Leaf Farms Duck breast, Bourbon honey glaze, carrot mango spears, parsnip pur'ee, rooftop grown greens, lemon, extra virgin oil.

Castello Banfi Belnero Toscana IGT 2012

This wine discovery, a blend of Italian and Bordeaux varietals was one of the highlights of the evening. Unique blend of 85% Sangiovese with moderate amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Deep intense dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, sweet black cherry fruits with tones vanilla, leather, tobacco leaf and hint of expresso turning to nicely balanced smooth soft tannins on the lingering finish.

RM 91 points.


Fifth course - Agnello

Roasted loin of lamb, raspberry truffle jus, heirloom carrot, charred baby turnips. 

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 

100% Estate grown Sangiovese.

Deep intense dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, subdued black cherry fruits, tones of leather, tobacco, anise and hints of floral, spice and vanilla.

RM 90 points.


Sixth course - Dolci

Meyer lemon, toasted almond bread pudding, lemon honey sorbet. This dessert was delicious and was a perfect accompaniment to the sweet late harvest dessert wine below.

Castello Banfi Florus Late Harvest Moscadello 2011

Golden colored, medium bodied, bright vibrant bouquet and flavors of sweet apricot, honeysuckle, tones of raisins, almonds and honey on full lingering unctuous finish.

RM 91 points.




Vivere dinner setting
Sous Chef Kevin Lundy and Executive Chef, James Giacometti.

Diners and blogger, Rick McNees and Linda

Vivere Diver Sea Scallop

Vivere Braised Pork cheese pasta

Vivere Duck Breast

Vivere Roasted Loin of Lamb