Living close to Miami affords me the possibility of attending numerous wine trade shows and seminars. I do my best to sit in as my schedule will allow, always believing one should never stop learning.
Last week I was given the opportunity to be an invited guest at an event billed as “An Extraordinary Tuscan Experience,” hosted by Castello Banfi family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May. I’m very familiar with the wines of Castello Banfi having sold their wines for many years, but I figured why not get a refresher course. I wasn’t really expecting an extraordinary Tuscan experience… but that’s exactly what I received.
The lineup of wines being poured was spectacular: 2010 and 2011 Poggio alle Mura Brunello, 2010 Poggio all’Oro Riserva and a 1995 Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino were highlights of this impressive grouping. The wines showed beautifully and not to take anything away from them, but it was the presenter that really made this forum so exceptional.
I was fortunate to avoid much of the typical Miami traffic on the way to the event. This allowed me and my fellow wine consultants Gary Tatum and Villu Maldor to arrive a few minutes early. As we entered the oceanfront meeting room we were greeted by none other than Cristina Mariani-May. I expected a quick hello and thank you for coming but instead the third generation family proprietor spent a good ten minutes with us. I was captivated with how engaging and unpretentious she was.
As more guests arrived she then moved to the podium to conduct her seminar. For the next hour Cristina told the story of her family’s pursuit of excellence. She discussed the unique vineyards on the estate, the clonal research and the extreme attention to detail used in the winery.
Our drive back to Palm Beach County was not nearly as traffic-free, but we all agreed that that it was well worth the time. It’s easy to see why Cristina Mariani-May was selected by Food & Wine Magazine as “The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink.”
Paul Quaglini, Fine Wine & Spirits Supervisor
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