A standard for almost every wine exam is to identify the two DOCG’s of Umbria. Sadly many people never taste the answers! This is truly unfortunate because in a short period of time Sagrantino di Montelfaco has become one of the great red wines of Italy, even rivaling the famous wines from Piedmont and Tuscany in quality—and certainly one its greatest values! (Torgiano saved for another day).
Brought back from near extinction in the late 1970’s by a small group of dedicated growers, Sagrantino was traditionally fermented from dried grapes to make sweet wine. But instead of pursuing the centuries-old tradition of recioto-style wine, the consortium of growers saw the potential to make world-class dry wine from Sagrantino, and received DOCG status for their efforts in 1992.
Sagrantino is one of the world’s most tannic grapes, and makes exceptionally powerful and age-worthy wines with high extract and acidity as well as generous flavors. The DOCG regulations require a minimum of 12 months in barrel and 37 months overall of ageing before release, but these wines will benefit from several years in the cellar (they can in fact last for decades!). A possibility to enjoy Sagrantino sooner rather than later is the DOC version of Rosso di Montefalco made from primarily Sangiovese with ten to fifteen percent Sagrantino.
A glass of Colpetrone’s Sagrantino makes a great study partner!