This easy-drinking Italian red has more than decent complexity, and is simply a delicious wine for all kinds of foods and occasions. It’s another winner from Castello Banfi, the American-owned winery in Tuscany that, among other distinctions, has a knack for producing inexpensive, relatively large-production wines that over-deliver.
At around $11 or so, you would be hard-pressed to find an Italian red that’s as satisfying for everyday drinking with pastas, pizzas, burgers, or just about any quick dinner that calls for red wine. Perhaps it’s the blend that makes it so versatile — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese, listed in that order on the label, although the lion’s share is Sangiovese, Tuscan’s signature variety.
Such blends, of course, are the basis of so-called super-Tuscan wines, which are often among a winery’s most prestigious offerings and can sell for super-high prices. Neither is the case with Banfi’s Centine, but in the down-to-earth category, it excels.
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This is a medium-bodied wine with alcohol listed at 13.5 percent. Aromas and tastes of red and dark berries and plum are accented by touches of milk chocolate and graphite. The wine, which is aged for a brief period in French oak barrels, is gently tannic. It’s relatively soft but not mushy, fruity but not cloying.
Beyond the food pairings I mentioned above, Banfi’s Centine will tame the heat and spice of Indian food, especially with a light chill; and I could also see it with grilled salmon as an alternative to Pinot Noir.
Before dinner, try Banfi’s refreshing 2019 “San Angelo” Pinot Grigio Toscano, a delightful Tuscan take on the popular variety that I reviewed here not long ago. Centine, by the way, is named after an old farmhouse on the Banfi estate and is pronounced CHEN-tee-nay.