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Categoria: The WineNews Corner

14 Aprile 2017, ore 18:12

CRISTINA MARIANI-MAY (BANFI CASTLE) ON ITALIAN WINE: IN A "CONGESTED" INDUSTRY, ONE HAS TO "PRESENT ONESELF AS A RELIABLE LUXURY". WHAT ABOUT US CONSUMERS? "THEY ARE GOING BACK TO THE CLASSICAL STYLE," BRUNELLO INCLUDED, "BUT WE NEED TO EDUCATE"

“The wine industry is very congested, and there are so many wonderful wines that you can not stand still. We have to present ourselves as a reliable luxury to be successful. It is tough out there; it is a very competitive market and full of challenges”, said Cristina Mariani-May, owner of Castello Banfi - one of the leading names in the world for Brunello di Montalcino - and co-CEO of the US importer, Banfi Vintners, in an interview with "The Drinks Business" (www.thedrinksbusiness .com). Mariani-May, third-generation, is leading one of the most famous wineries in the area of the famous Tuscan red wine, pointed out an undisputed fact.
“It is difficult”, she said, “to innovate successfully in today's wine world. There are so many new things that, if you do not keep authenticity in mind, you may end up out of the loop. New is risky in today’s crowded environment, I would rather invest further in what we are doing, and doing well, to win in that field”.
The brand, despite its expansion into Maremma, Piedmont, Bolgheri and Chianti Classico, is and will remain the land of Brunello - an area that although it no longer lets in new producers, always has a spare part component within it. “There is a constant change of ownership among the 260 producers in the area, which keeps things moving”. Especially if we consider the excellent period that Brunello is in right now, thanks to "a series of good vintages" that helped “to rebuild Montalcino's reputation after the 2008 Brunellopoli scandal. We received a lot of attention thanks to the 2010 vintage that the press loved a lot and 2012 was excellent, which has helped Montalcino be recognized once again leader in quality wine production”.
Turning to its main market - but certainly not just Castello Banfi, since we’re talking about the United States, the number one market in volume and value for all Italian wine - and the evolutions taking place in consumption, tastes and trends, Mariani-May pointed out that to her way of thinking, the key to the relationship between US wine lovers and Brunello is education.
“Once consumers move to the category of Italian wine, they do not leave it because they are conquered by the elegance and finesse of its wines. I think”, she added, “that American consumers are coming back to appreciating that style of wine. They are looking for more accessible styles today, eating lighter and not wanting to drink heavy wines. American palates are changing and lighter wines are being sought, such as Pinotas in Washington and Oregon, rather than Californian Cabernets. Taste is shifting to cooler climates for the drinkability of wines, and this is the first step to the development of a European palate”.
In addition, Mariani-May emphasized, there is a kind of return to the past regarding wine tastes in New York, which has always been one of the places that anticipates and defines consumer trends, not just vintages, in the States: “Consumers flirted with Apulian, Sicilian and South Tyrolean wines, but now they are returning to the classics, such as Brunello, Barolo and Barbaresco”.

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