Wine Report From Italy: Sagrantino di Montefalco
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Every heard of the Sagrantino grape? Or what about the Umbrian village of Montefalco? If not, you’re missing out as one of the best kept secrets in the Italian fine wine scene is a wine named Sagrantino di Montefalco. While the wine zone was given its DOCG status (the highest classification in Italian wine) as early as in 1991, the wine never really captured the international wine drinking audience as has the other Italian big boys Amarone, Brunello and Barolo.
The Sagrantino grape
I was recently offered to taste the $60 2005 Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano from Arnaldo-Caprai. The 40-year-old family-owned winery Arnaldo-Caprai has about 220 acres under vine and grows traditional Italian varieties, international varieties, as well as indigenous varieties such as Sagrantino, which they both blend with other grapes and make into a single varietal wine. The ’05 Collepiano is 100% Sagrantino, a grape infamous for making some of the darkest, most tannic wines in the world. With most red wines the time after crushing when the grape juice soaks with the skins and seeds (the period called maceration) is usually no more than a few weeks. In making this Collepiano the winemaker allowed 28 days of maceration imparting massive amounts of flavor, color and tannins.
The need to breathe
Because of this concentration you must allow the wine to breathe and the tannins to soften. I aerated the wine in my decanter for 4 hours prior to tasting it. Let me be honest; by itself the wine is overwhelming (in a good way). The amount of flavor and tannin that assaults your tastebuds is massive; it practically numbs your palate for a brief second. Your tongue dries up like a sponge and you start to wonder if you will ever be able to taste anything again. But as the palate shock subsides wonderful intense flavors of sour cherries, dark chocolate, muddy earth, ripe plum and spice starts dancing around in your mouth. No, this is a food wine ladies and gentlemen. I paired the wine with roasted duck breasts, caramelized onion and apples, roasted potatoes and a cream/redwine reduction sauce. With food this wine is smacking!
Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook.
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