Last weekend was all about about Montefalco and Sagrantino red wine.
Historically Sagrantino was used primarily for making sweet passito wines, partially drying the grapes to yield a thick, syrupy wine with raisin and blueberry qualities, much like a Recioto della Valpolicella.
Since the 1970s however, the wines have been made principally in a dry seccostyle, with typically bold extraction and complete fermentation.
The grape has one of the highest tannic levels of any variety in the world. Its wines contain more tannin than those made from Aglianico or tannat ,and twice the level of Cabernet Sauvignon ora Nebbiolo wines.
It creates wines that are inky purple with an almost-black center. The bouquet is one of dark, brooding red fruits with hints of plum, cinnamon, and earth.
Montefalco Sagrando granted DOCG status in 1992, requires the use of 100 percent Sagrantino grapes, with a minimum of 37 months’ aging before release, 12 of which must be in oak barrels. With production still relatively limited, the wine is not widely known outside Italy.
Outstanding vintage for this grape were 1998, 2005 and 2015.
Since I was born and raised in Umbria I am happy to share with you my 20 years esperience as a Sagrantino drinker.
Here is my list of the best 5 expressions of Sagrantino.
SAGRANTINO SECCO ‘IL PAGLIARO’PAOLO BEA
Sagrantino di Montefalco Pagliaro Paolo Bea, is a natural wine, handcrafted, Iconic Italian wine, full bodied and profound.
This is not a wine for everyday, it is wine to save up for and make a ceremony of its consumption. It has a core of lush sweet fruit with layers of earthy, savoury chewiness and a length that lasts forever. A must try for every wine enthusiast. Drink with hearty yet high quality Umbrian dishes like strangozzi dusted with black truffle followed by suckling pig, you know, the type of food you prepare every Tuesday.
SAGRANTINO SECCO ARNALDO CAPRAI 25 ANNI
25 Anni is the result of in-depth research and careful clonal selection of Sagrantino’s best grapes. This jubilee wine was produced for the first time in 1993 to celebrate the winery’s 25th anniversary. Since then, 25 Anni has kept its name as well as its unique character, power and elegance.
Surprising blend of blackberry jam, rose potpourri, nutmeg, pepper, pine resin, mint, clove and cocoa. Soft, fresh and persuasive with complex tannins and an intense, persistent finish.
SAGRANTINO SECCO ADANTI ‘IL DOMENICO’
It is dedicated to the founder of the winery, Domenico Adanti. Made from the best selection of grapes grown exclusively in a vineyard on the Hills of Colcimino, it pours an intense ruby red with hues of garnet, with an intense aromatic range: blackcurrant, tobacco, coffee and graphite. This wine has a lingering taste and is warm, powerful, spiced, with balanced and velvet-smooth tannins. It ages for 36 months in oak barrels and 24 months in glass. Best with slow-cooked stews.
SAGRANTINO SECCO COLLEALLODOLE MILZIADE ANTANO
Located near Bevagna, Milziade Antano is one of the three or four best producers of Montefalco Sagrantino wines today, with a long history of producing one great Sagrantino after another. Talented Francesco Milziade runs this small family-run winery in the Fattoria Colleallodole (the farm of the “hill of the larks”), establishing a reputation for Montefalco Sagrantinos that are powerful, rich and deep, but unusually well balanced, far removed from the many brutally tannic Montefalco behemoths that rarely offer a pleasurable drinking experience.
SAGRANTINO PASSITO ANTONELLI
Rich ruby tending towards garnet in colour. Rich and complex to the nose, with notes of cherries, wild berry jam, candied citrus peel and spices. To the taste it’s an amazing wine, where it begins sweet and then gives way to a fresh finish with an aromatic persistence to the nose. Food Pairings: It can be enjoyed with red fruit tarts, biscuits, gianduja chocolate and mature cheeses.