Grechetto dei Colli Mantani 2011
Had a slightly wild asparagus and kumquat nose, with citrus freshness on the palate coupled with some herbal elements, a very approachable easy white wine.
Blends 80% sangiovese with 10% sagrantino and 10% merlot, and had a generous soft and full fruit character, but was still very fresh and approachable, with red fruits and good acids. It was not really a wine of distinction and could easily be reproduced in many other places.
Montefalco Rosso 2008
A rustic ripe black fruit nose, was very well balanced and light on the palate with fresh fruits and tannins, and was a great food wine.
Montefalco Sagrantino 2008
Had a gentle brick red colour, and on the nose combined barbecue sauce, gherkin and tomato. On the palate the wine was intense yet soft with structure and mellow elegance.
Montefalco Sagrantino 2007
Much more intense and dark, and had less integration and elegance, looking more aggressive and hotter.
Sagrantino Passito 2008
Some fig and prunes on the nose with the same briny quality of the 2008 Sagrantino, opulent and full on the palate with balanced sweetness and focus.
Bird house on the Romanelli estate
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