If you are a red wine drinker and like to try fine wines that have a robust flavor, then Sagrantino wines will list among your favorites. The Sagrantino grapes are small, finicky powerhouses, but despite their needing much care to properly cultivate in their indigenous Italian region, California, Australia and other areas of the world are jumping on the Sagrantino bandwagon. As they try their hand at producing the bold red wine which originated in Montefalco in the province of Umbria, Italy centuries ago, they will tease out its richness and unique characteristics.
One good time to celebrate Sagrantino is February, the month of valentines, flowers and chocolates. An iteration of the St. Valentine’s Day legend places the saint in Umbria as the Bishop of Terni, a city in southern Umbria, the birthplace province of Sagrantino. Umbria (especially the capital, Perugia, which holds the most popular chocolate festival in Europe) is renowned for its chocolate production. Sagrantino Passito is a delicious wine that goes fabulously with chocolates. The Passito’s bright and sweet berry tastes enhance the sonorous quality of the chocolatey flavors. The pairing is a chocoholic’s dream. Both are the perfect after-dinner treats that wonderfully finish a hearty meal during which a younger Sagrantino might be savored.
Montefalco Sagrantino is a wine that is appropriate in every season. It is distinctive, flavorful, and vibrant and has an interesting finish on the palate. It pairs well with wintry fare of stews, roasts, short ribs, as well as summery grilled meats and chops. It is lovely with rustic and hearty vegetable and pasta-dish combinations. It also goes well with appetizers like cheeses and salumi and is a highly drinkable accompaniment to foods that are sweet or salted.
I enjoyed such pairings recently at a wine event at Eataly in New York City. There, I sampled Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG wines, 2007-2009 vintages. The wines were from five different producers in the Montefalco region of Umbria.
- Perticaia, Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 2009
- Scacciadiavoli, Sagrantino Di montefalco DOCG 2008
- Antonelli, San Marco Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 2007
- Arnaldo Caprai, Collepiano Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 2007
- Tenuta Castelbuono, Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 2007
The DOCG designation for each means that the wines must adhere to the highest production standards. The wines are produced from 100% Sagrantino grapes grown in Montefalco. The regulations include the specific months in the barrel, an October harvest, and the agriculture of the vines (number of vines per hectare).
This month Eataly NYC is offering tastings of these five producers at its wine shop. If you are visiting NYC or live in the area, it might be a fun occasion to drop by and sample these producers. As you open up your palate to these unique wines, you will note their different personalities, and you will probably walk away with a bottle. Any time is a good time for Sagrantino.