Anima Umbria 2011
A blend of 85% grechetto and 15% trebbiano, which had very grassy wild herb and kiwi elements on the nose, expressing leesy apple texture on the palate. Whilst it was very fresh and vibrant it was a little simple and without character.
Grechante Grechetto Colli Martani DOC 2011
A much riper and fuller depth and power, very fruit forward yet rich in minerality and warmth.
Montefalco Rosso 2009
A blend of mostly sangiovese and sagrantino, but can have up to 25% other varieties both native and otherwise. Showed very peppery blackberry fruit sweetness, and also expressed some sweet oak tannin and tightness of tannin and acid, bold yet fresh and approachable.
Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2006
A typically new world heavy oak character of ripe banana skin with some vanilla and bruised blackcurrant notes, and was quite hot and a little clunky.
Collepiano Sagrantino di Montefalco 2007
Had a nice dusty earthy blackcurrant nose, quite inviting, but being my first sagrantino wine I did not expect the tannins which were very intense. In spite of this the tannins were all on the front of the palate, and the wine finished fresh and juicy with some wild herb and black fruits, a tad hot though.
25th Anniversary Sagrantino di Montefalco 2007
Much more subtle and integrated than the Collepiano, showing less obvious oak influence and tannin intensity, with some caramel and cigar-box tightness on the palate.
25th Anniversary Sagrantino di Montefalco 2008
More savoury, elegant and fresh, a lot lighter and tighter with more potential for cellaring.
An Umbrian cooking class at Arnaldo Caprai
According to my host the previous day, Orvieto is not traditionally considered part of Umbria, as it is closer to Lazio and Tuscany with an Etruscan heritage. Central Umbria had a much more rustic history, being very simple farmers. This part of Umbria has garnered a lot more attention recently thanks to their red wines, most notably in the Montefalco area where the sagrantino grape is king. In the past Sagrantino di Montefalco was a passito sweet wine that was consumed as a table wine with food. It was traditionally the wine that would be drunk with breakfast on Easter Sunday each year, as the first wine drunk after lent. The breakfast was naturally very hearty, including slow-roasted lamb, cured meats and egg, and would last several hours. Back in the 1970s they began to introduce viticultural practices from other parts of Europe in Umbria, and this changed grape and wine production in the region. With the former trellising systems there were high volumes of grapes produced, which meant to achieve the ripeness necessary for the sweet wines in particular, the harvest was usually not until late October. With new pruning practices introduced and more intense plantings, yields were reduced and ripening occurred earlier, with harvests beginning in September. Thus began the serious production of dry red wines from one of the most tannic red varieties possible. Sagrantino is tough to grow, but is quite malleable in terms of ripeness levels and vinification practices, and from what I tasted there is no defined style as yet, it is up to the producer. As the understanding of the variety and the terroir improves so will the quality of the wines.
|Bush-trained sagrantino vines