Sagrantino: Wild and Wonderful

6/18/12 -


Italy, as a whole, provides the largest spectrum of wine styles, grapes, and traditions in Europe.  France may have been the first to itemize their terriors by the Appellation Origine Controlee system, but Italy has an equally rich vinous history represented by the country’s staggering amount of native varieties.  One of Italy’s most fascinating wines is grown tucked away in the landlocked region of Umbria.  Here the Sagrantino grape is king, but the full bodied table wine that we presently know is a fairly recent phenomenon.  In the 1960s Sagrantino was used for making passito wines with some degree of sweetness.  These wines did not appeal outside of the local market, and the grape was in danger of becoming extinct.  In 1980, the newly founded DOC Sagrantino Secco, and the full-bodied and dry wines of Arnaldo Caprai re-established the grape as a powerful variety with plenty of bold character that could rival the wines of Montalcino to the west in complexity and longevity.  Sagrantino makes spicy wines that are robust, and often quite tannic in their youth.  The grape brings to mind the richness of Primitivo, but tempered with the black cherry toned structure of Sangiovese.  We appreciate wines from Montefalco producers who don’t allow barriques to obscure the wild qualities of Sagrantino.  Many of our customers are familiar with the stellar natural wines of Paolo Bea, but the pricing of the marquee “Pagliaro” single vineyard Sagrantino may be a bit steep for some occasions, so we are very pleased to offer a less expense all-Sagrantino wine from the fantastic estate.   Beyond Bea, we also encourage you to try the great value Montefalco Sagrantino by the traditional Milziade Antano estate.  JR

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