Daily Archives: December 16, 2009

Part II Sagrantino di Montefalco:Tasting the Wine

After the conference there was a tasting of Montefalco Rosso DOC, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and Passito.  47 producers are members of the Consortium (a few producers are not members) and about half of them were present at the tasting.

.I was impressed with the Sagrantino 2003 from Cantina Colle Ciocco. The wine was aged in 25hl French oak barrels. It was complex and very intense with aromas of blackberry and black cherry and a great finish and aftertaste. I also like their passito which is aged in 5hl barrels for five months. It was very well balanced and could be drunk with certain foods such as lamb.

 The Sagrantino 2005 from Cesarini Satori Signae had hints of blackberry, pepper with a touch of balsamic. Their passito Semel had hints of dried fruit and balsamic overtones with a great finish and aftertaste. It was a true dessert wine.

The Passito 2006 of Colle Del Saraceno- Az. Agraria di Francesco Botti was a big rich wine with flavors and aromas of blackberry, cinnamon and dried fruit– it was almost like liquor.

 I had visited the Perticaia Az. Agraria di Guido Guardigli last year and was very impressed with his wine. I felt the same way after tasting his wines this year; both the Sagrantino and the Passito were impressive.

 Colpetrone I also visited last year.  They make a more international style Sagrantino.

 Tenuta Alzatura is owned by the Cecchi family from Tuscany. The Sagrantino 2005 is aged in barriques for 16 months. There were undertones of blackberry plum and coffee; the wine had a nice finish and aftertaste.

 It was very interesting to me that most of the wines showed very well and that you can get a balanced wine from grapes that contain so much tannin. The passito is the most tannic dessert wine that I have ever tasted but it works.

When I saw the tasting sheet at Antonelli San Marco (Montefalco) I could not believe my eyes — Montelalco di Sagrantino 2001, 1998, 1995 and 1985 and the passito vintage 1985. The owner Filippo Antonelli said that he wanted to show us older vintages and that all of the wines were made by the former winemaker who had just retired.

 Tasting with Filippo Antonelli of Antonelli San Marco

Sagrantino di Montefalco – 100% Sagrantino is aged in 500 liter barrels for six months and 25 hl barrels for 12 months. The 1998 was aged in botti (large oak barrels) and the 1995 & 1985 were aged in cement containers. The barriques and the stainless steel came later. The wines all showed the same blackberry and plum aromas with a hint of mushroom. This was the first time I was able to taste Sagrantino this old.  It is one of the most tannic of wines but there was more than enough fruit to carry it. This tasting proved that Sagrantino is a wine that can age.

The 1985 Passito

The 1985 Passito was made from the grapes that receive the most sun. They are placed in crates and dried naturally on cane trellises for 75-90 days. The wine is unfiltered and aged 15 months in 25 hl barrels. It is a big tannic dessert wine with blackberry and raspberry jam aromas and flavors.  They also make a single vineyard Sagrantino di Montefalco called “Palone”  It was a very impressive tasting.

The Azienda Agricola Adanti on a Beautiful Fall Day

The next winery was Azienda Agricola Adanti (Bevagna) Here we had a tasting of Sagrantino 2005, 2004, 2001, 2000, 1999 1998, 1995, 1994 and 1993.  The wine is aged in large oak barrels and they also have a few 500 liter oak barrels. These wines were big and dark with flavors and aromas of blackberry, coffee, tar, smoke and a hint of almonds in the aftertaste. It is a family run operation and the son makes the same style of wine as his father did. These are very long lasting wines.

Tasting Sagrantino at Fattoria Colsanto

 Fattoria Colsanto  I first met Valneo Livon in Friuli really liked his white wine. He opened a winery in Bevagna to make Sagrantino. It is a very modern winery and it is only in the past few years that he is using his own grapes to make the wine. His Sagrantino is a touch more modern in style than some of the others but will age very well.  Malolatic fermentation takes place partially in barriques 70% and in steel 30% and then the wine is aged 15 months in oak barrels.  There are hints of red fruit and spices and undertones of tobacco.

Eating Coppa at Fattoria Colsanto

We had a great lunch here.  The highlight was the lamb prepared by Valneo’s wife that was the perfect combination with the Sagrantino.  It is traditional in the Montefalco area to eat lamb with passito at Easter time. This tradition started many years ago before Sagrantino became a dry wine and many still follow it today.

The large oak barrles-Botti- at Azienda Agricola Dionigi

The fourth winery of the day was Azienda Agricola Doinigi (Bevagna) and it was very cold in the cellar as we tasted the wine .We tasted Sagrantino from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and from barrel 2008. These were very big wines that will last a long time and are aged in a combination of large and smaller oak barrels (used). The skins are in contact with the juice for 20 days. The 2006 tasted very different from the others. When I asked why they explained that some changes had been made in the vineyard and in the cellar.  They changed over to botti–large oak barrels and the wood was new!  I was very impressed with the 2001 Sagrantino and believe it will last a very long time. The passito 2005 was a true dessert wine aged in botti.

The last winery of the day was Di Filippo (Cannara). The vineyards of the winery are organically certified by the rules of the European Community – vini Umbri da agricoltura biologica. When I asked the owner Roberto Di Filippo about this he said that it was only for the vineyards and that the European Community did not have any rules once the grapes were in the winery. This is a family run winery and it was like tasting wine in someone’s home. The Sagrantino was a little on the modern side and not as big as some of the others but the oak really did not interfere with the taste.  The wine is aged for two years in oak casks and has red berry flavors and aromas. Like all the wines I have written about, it will age very well.

This was the first time in Montefalco that I was able to taste so many wines from so many producers and from so many different vintages going back to 1985.  I was very impressed with the wines. The Sagrantino di Montefalco will last a very long time because it is the most tannic of wines. It also has a enough fruit to go along with the tannin. The passito was very interesting; some of them being true dessert wines while others could go with food. I can only hope that these wines get the recognition they deserve.

 I also visited the Lungarotti winey in Montefalco and spent the morning and afternoon in the delightful company of Chiara Lungarotti but this is an article in itself.


Filed under Italian Red Wine, sagrantino