This week I was invited to visit Montefalco in Umbria. I couldn’t go because of family obligations but it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about this beautiful place I have visited and the gorgeous region where it is located – Umbria. Known as the greenheart of Italy, it is an incredible lush and verdant part of the country. In this great region, Sagrantino grows, a complicated and profound grape variety, that makes some of the best passito I have ever tasted.
As a sweet wine lover, passito is always on my radar. I can’t remember when I first tried his passito but it was a long time ago. Sagrantino from Antonelli is made in Montefalco. Initially it was considered a holy wine destined for consumption during the Christian festivals. I still feel that way about this wine which is why I called it the “Nectar of the Gods” – obviously not referring to Christianity but still close to something divine.
The grapes are picked at the end of September, placed in crates in single layers. The bunches most suited for drying are specially selected. They spend two months in these crates. They spend time fermenting on the skins and then in 25 hL oak barrels for 12 months. The wine then undergoes long bottle aging.
Voluptuous and enveloping, this wine is redolent with red fruit, floral notes, hints of spice, and prune. The alcohol is moderate to high, around 14.5% with residual sugar of note. That said, the wine is neither unctuous nor cloying but both penetrating and well-balanced.
Thinking of Umbria and this wine tonight and wishing my friends who are going a great time.
I was lucky enough to visit Montefalco years ago as well. It was a beautiful area and one I highly recommend visiting.