2009 Erik Banti "Carato" IGT

SKU #1091681

I met Erik Banti in Florence and immediately liked him: wiley, real, vibrant and impatient; he was impatient because he was so sure that K&L was the perfect match for him to have us import his wines. I have to be a little coy in these meetings--you don't want to give away your poker hand right away--but I don't have a poker face, so when I tasted this, a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo, my tell was played. "How much is this?" I asked quizzically. Then I let out a slow, quiet, "wow!" when Erik gave his price. This wine is just delicious; full, fleshy, voluptuous, sumptuous, truly hedonistic. It spends 10 months in Slavonian and American oak barriques, and I think at this price you too will be saying wow! (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian buyer)

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Price: $6.99
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Staff Image By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/25/2013 | Send Email
The category of $10 and under wines is problematic at best. On the one hand, too much bad wine is tolerated at this price. "Well, it's not very good but at least it was cheap." And too many great wines are overlooked under the assumption that if it is cheap, it can't be any good. Don't make that mistake with Erik Banti's 2009 Carato. A terrific value for anyone looking for an affordable Sangiovese blend. Great producer. Great vintage. And buying directly from the producer allows us to offer it to you at a great price. Problem solved.

Staff Image By: Jim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/19/2013 | Send Email
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When I started in the wine business 41-plus years ago, a $6.99 price tag on a bottle of wine generally meant it was either a super-second growth (although we never used the term “super-second” then) from the Medoc or a “Reserve” type of bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. As this industry, both domestically and internationally, has grown during that time period, a combination of interrelated “things” (inflation, annual award events, domination by a handful of wine critics with their 100 point rating scheme, a rapidly growing public demand, and, most importantly, producers’ egos) have been introduced that has created a way of thinking by the public that price levels are directly related to a wine’s quality. In today’s market, when we see a wine priced at this level, it obviously cannot be very good. Doggie Poop! Produced mostly from Sangiovese (70%) with the balance being Merlot (15%) and Ciliegiolo (10%), this wonderful Tuscan blended Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, the nose is bright and flashy that is red fruit driven, with anise to mild cedary back notes. Soft, silky, and, again, bright, well-integrated fruit dances across your palate with excellent acid structure, opulent, fairly complex flavors, and a long, warm, fleshy finish, that demands that you go back for another glass. I have tasted wines that are priced $50.00 or more that don’t even come close to the brilliant quality of this Gem! And, that is why Rusty has insisted that I come home with cases of this puppy.

Staff Image By: Chiara Shannon | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/20/2012 | Send Email
This little Sangiovese blend is made entirely of Morellino di Scansano fruit, grown on the hilly terrain within the Maremma. A minimum of 85% Sangiovese is required to bear the DOGC label, so the blend of 70% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot, and 5% Syrah qualifies it as Toscana IGT instead of Morellino di Scansano. The blend also qualifies it as PDG--pretty darn good--and PDC--pretty darn cheap--as plump, blue-fruited Merlot fleshes out Sangiovese's rustic, spicy cherry frame, delivering a delicious, balanced, and unapologetically gulpable wine at the eye-popping price of $6.99. Aged for ten months in a combination of Slovenian and American oak barriques ('carati' in Italian), this also hints of baking spice and clove and shows some actual depth and complexity - no joke! Whether you're smoking wild boar for the 'hood or prefer to enjoy calm, simple dinners at home, with a stash of this on hand nobody will go thirsty (or bankrupt).

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/11/2012 | Send Email
As a buyer of Spanish wine for K&L I'm certainly not without my biases, but I think it's safe to say that many of my colleagues would agree with me that under $10 it is really hard to beat Spain for value reds. That said, I think Erik Banti has arguably done it with this wine here. $7 - are you kidding me? This sangiovese, merlot, syrah blend shows decent freshness and very tasty fruit for the price. Italy may have blown it against Spain in the World Cup final, but at least they can exact a bit of revenge over Spain in the $7 value red wine match-up!

Staff Image By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/1/2012 | Send Email
Another amzing find for Greg's direct import portfolio. This wine has quickly turned into my one of my staple weeknight wines. With depth and complexity that betray the modest price tag, this wine has beatiful fruit and and more going on in the glass than one would imagine.

Additional Information:



- The most widely planted grape in Italy is Sangiovese, a high-acid grape with moderate to high tannins, apparent earthiness and subtle fruit. It is thought to have originated in Tuscany and its name, which translates to "blood of Jove," leads historians to believe it may date all the way back to the Etruscan period, though historical mentions only go as far back as the early 1700s. Though planted all over modern Italy, the most significant wines made from Sangiovese still come from Tuscany: Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese must make up 75% of a blend from the Chianti DOCG t be labeled as such, traditionally allowing for Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia for the remainder, though more recently small proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot have been allowed. In Brunello di Montalcino the wine must be made entirely of Sangiovese. Prugnolo is Montepulciano's name for Sangiovese, and it is used there for the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. In the DOC of Carmignano Sangiovese can be blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also Super Tuscans, IGT wines that blend Sangiovese with large proportions of Cabernet or Merlot. Elsewhere in Italy it is a workhorse grape, though it does find some success (though not the longevity) in the Montefalco and Torgiano wines of Umbria as well as the foundation of Rosso Piceno and a significant element of Rosso Conero from the Marches. Like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese has struggled to find footing outside of Italy, though in recent years California wineries have been having better fortune with grape plantings in the Sierra Foothills/El Dorado County, as well as Sonoma County and the Central Coast.


- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world. For our entire Italian wine selection, click here. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of Italy.