A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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The Wines of Montefalco

November 14th, 2010

Montefalco is the key region for Umbria’s great wines. Their claim to fame is the Sagrantino grape; which is bold and flavorful. Sagrantino maybe my favorite Italian varietal; but you need to enjoy powerhouse reds to appreciate it.

The two best know producers of Sagrantino are Arnaldo Caprai and Paolo Bea. I had the opportunity to visit the Caprai winery a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. I was surprised how modern the winery and the tasting room were.

Caprai Tasting Room

Caprai Tasting Room

We went on a tour of the winery and then returned to the tasting room. Chaos might be the best way to describe the wine tasting; but that actually turned out to be an advantage. Rather than tiny sips of wine accompanied by a long lecture on each, we got huge pours of wine accompanied by a platter of cheese. The most impressive wine we tasted was a 2005 Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni DOCG which is 100% Sagrantino grapes. This wine is huge and needs to rest for at least 5 more years. The wine is complex with layers of flavor that are perfectly balanced. This wine is a must for anybody collecting great red wines, but know that the wine costs about $90.

I’m not patient when it comes to letting wines rest. therefore my pick is the Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso, which costs about $20. This wine is 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Merlot. The wine tastes like a good Chianti but with a bit more structure due to the Sagrantino grape. I think this is a perfect everyday wine that will pair nicely with almost any meal.

One night we at dinner at Pane & Vino, a restaurant in Todi. The owner recommended a bottle of the 2005 Perticaia Sagrantino di Montefalco, and it was delicious. It was a big, bold red, but far more approachable than Arnaldo Caprai’s wine.

Perticaia Wines

Perticaia Wines

The Perticaia Sagrantino was a full bodied wine that exhibited great flavor, significant structure, and yet was elegant. This wine retails for just under $50, which is very reasonable for a Sagrantino.

I know you can purchase great wines from the Montefalco region in New York City, as well as online. Hopefully we can all work together to get some of the other retailers around the country to carry these great wines.

7 Responses to “The Wines of Montefalco”

  1. autumn says:

    Did you bring some home with you :)

  2. Susan case says:

    I would love to taste some. Have you searched locally for any?. I bet we can get some shipped in from NY.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I agree, the Montefalco Rosso is much easier (in every way) than the Sagrantino. I love Adanti’s, as well as Bea’s. Looking forward to trying Perticaia, which I’ve never heard of.

  4. Ed McAniff says:

    Susan, Olio Pizzeria of Santa Barbara has an Arnaldo Caprai wine on their list, I believe it’s the Rosso. I will get some of these wines for an Italian wine tasting later this year.

  5. Jay says:

    Ed,

    Nice report. Do you think any wine merchant in San Francisco would carry any of these wines?

    Jay

  6. bobby says:

    Ed – this is fantastic – we’re going to work on the salmon and try to track down some Montefalco – thank you food guru!

  7. susan Shand says:

    I loved this salmon recipe… It’s so fabulous and easy… Keep up the fabulous recipe ideas… You are making my life so easy!!!!!

    Susan

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