Monday, January 14, 2013


I couldn't think of a title for this article.  Summus is Latin for Summit, or Highest Excellence. When I reflected on this, the title was clear, because in a single word, it describes this absolutely fantastic wine. 

I've been fortunate enough to taste every vintage of Summus produced - many several times over.  It's a Super Tuscan in every sense of the word. However, this vintage was different. It was remarkable. I don't know how this will age - but I can say this, it's the best young Summus I have ever tasted. 

The 2007 Castello Banfi Summus is a blend of Sangiovese Grosso, Cabernet and Syrah. The percentages vary slightly, but past vintages generally encompassed respective percentages of 40%, 40% and 20%.   However, with the 2007 vintage, the blend has changed to 40% Cabernet, 35% Syrah, and 25% Sangiovese.  This change will be the style from 2007 forward.
The 2007 is dark, blackish purple in the glass.  Deep, nearly impenetrable color. When Summus is young, it typically behaves like a Cabernet. As it ages, those notes mellow, and the characteristics of the other varietals come to the fore.  Again, this vintage is slightly different.  The nose of the wine is filled with rich Cabernet like aromas of black fruits, mint and minerals. Added to the mix are bright, spicy berry notes, with smoke and meat.  In the mouth, the wine is a harmony.  It's like the finest Brunello, gilded with a layer of Cabernet.  Black fruits, newly tanned leather, mint, mineral, smoke, herbs and tobacco combine gloriously. It's difficult to explain the harmony of flavors without sounding cliche,  but this wine - despite my experience with it - surprised and satisfied me. The finish is long, and only moderately tannic, with the characteristics of the 2007 vintage displayed in that sort of "I charm now" attitude.  The acid structure is there, and while I have no doubt that the wine will easily last 5-10 years in the cellar,  I would have a hard time keeping a corkscrew away from it for that long.  Simply outstanding.  95 points, about $50. 

2007 Castello Banfi Summus:  Sangiovese, Cabernet, Syrah


  1. John, I read this yesterday, but it wasn't until this morning I had the time to dig out my bottle of Summus to see if it is a 2007; low-and-behold, this bottle bought over a year ago is just that, a 2007, and bless-my-socks. I think it was Bill who said something like he wasn't happy with the lack of fruit or something in these wines that shifted my attention to something else (can only drink so much wine!), but I'm encouraged by your review.
    What's in the plate, lentils or black beans?

  2. Dennis,

    We were at a restaurant in Manhattan after seeing Jersey Boys - which, was more amazing than the wine. What a show! Anyway, they are lentils. Tiny little lentils that were marinating in garlic/herb oil. They came free on the table and were one of the tastiest things I've ever had. I will be trying to replicate it because it was so elegant and satisfying, yet I'm positive it would be pennies to make it.