The Preview Tasting at the Anteprima Sagrantino 2017 in Montefalco

The beginning of the year 2021 amplifies the cautious step towards a new normality. One of them is the resumption of physical presence in wine tastings which puts the virtual tastings at the backseat. The Anteprima Sagrantino, organized by the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco (consortium of Montefalco wine producers to safeguard and promote the wines) has been taking place in the Umbrian town of Montefalco since its first edition in 2015 and fortunately, never stopped even if the pandemic broke out last year. It had been the last wine tasting in the country before Italy went on a lockdown. With this year’s moderation of Covid restrictions, Montefalco opens its doors again to the wine sector to taste the new vintages of the wines produced in the region by the 72 member producers of the consortium. Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017 takes the limelight but not without the other important appellations of the area as well: Montefalco Bianco DOC, Montefalco Grechetto DOC, Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC, Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino Superiore DOC, Montefalco Rosso DOC, and Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC.

Montefalco is a small ancient town in Umbria, a central region of Italy that has embraced various appellations along with the other towns dubbing it as the “Land of Wine”. Back in the High Middle Ages, the area has already has integrated viticulture and the production of wines in its history. There are evidences that show the presence of vines way back in 1088. In the 13th-century, documents prove the existence of viticulture in the area and by 14th-century, laws on the protection of vines and wines were enforced.
Arriving to the 21st-century, the evolution of viniculture in Montefalco has proferred various wine styles of the celebrated local grape varieties in harmony with the local tradition and the territory that demonstrates great potential for both red and white wines.

Sagrantino is black grape variety indigenous to Umbria and primarily cultivated in Montefalco and the surrounding areas. It is known to have one of the highest tannic level of all varieties, a characteristic that producers approach by paying attention to the phenolic ripeness in the vines thoroughly which is softened by long aging in wood. It is the grape symbol of the territory and used in making the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG. It utilizes 100% of the grape and vinified in two ways: the secco (dry) and the passito (sweet). The disciplinary restrictions calls for the wines to be aged for at least 33 months, 12 of which are in oak barrels of any size for the dry version and another 4 months in the bottle for both dry and sweet versions. The passito are dried on racks for at least 2 months then vinified by fermenting the must with the skins.

The resulting wine for both dry and passito have deep ruby red color sometimes permitting purple reflexes and leaning towards deep garnet as it ages. The most distinctive aroma of the wine is ripe blackberries and blueberries then followed by black stone fruits like plums and cherries while violet is its main floral perfume. Its long aging period gives equilibrated tertiary aromas of dried tobacco leaves, licorice, dried spices, vanilla, coffee, eucalyptus, balsamic and forest floor. It has elegance, complexity, power and long persistence in the palate. It has a great potential for longevity that when left to age mature longer in the cellar, it is able to express fully its unique personality. 

The Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco reports that the climatic year 2017 had not been as good as the previous two years, 2016 and 2015, grading it 3 stars out of 5. It had been a very complex and difficult year with the weather conditions giving it a significant reduced quantity of yields, 40% less than last year’s. A late frost in April during the budding period gave a notable production loss while the summer period had been one of the hottest and driest vintages of recent years. Fortunately, the clouds opened up to some rains before the harvest period that the grapes ripened healthily, producing excellent alcohol content, good polyphenolic ripeness and slightly lower acidity than the normal. As a result, the wines showed overall excellent balance and pleasantness, albeit certain underlined power and warmth.

From the words of Filippo Antonelli, President of the Consorzio Tutela di Montefalco, The vintage began with a very dry winter and then had a very hot July and August, so much so that 2017 was compared to 2003, which was characterized by a torrid summer. In almost fifteen years of experience in the vineyard we have become much more attentive and I think the result in the glass is much higher than in 2003. Vintages like these are useful because they are characterized by giving life to wines that can be enjoyed when young, to be compared to other vintages in which the wine needs more time to express itself at its best.

My most notable tastings of Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017:

Moretti Omero Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Arnaldo Caprai Valdimaggio Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Luca di Tommaso Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Plani Arche Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Ilaria Cocco Phonsano Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Fattoria Colleallodole Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Tabarinni Colle Grimaldesco Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Adanti Arquata Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Tenuta Bellafonte Collenotolo Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Bocale Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Montioni Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Antonelli Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017
Agricola Mevante Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2017

My most notable tastings of Trebbiano Spoletino Spoleto DOC:

Colle Ciocco Tempestivo Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2019
F.ll Pardi Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2020
Le Cimate Del Cav. Bartoloni Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2018
Romanelli Le Tese Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2019
Perticaia Del Posto Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2019
Valdangius Campo di Pico Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2019
Bocale Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC 2020

Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco

Piazza del Comune, 16
06036 Montefalco (PG), Italy
Tel: +39 0742 379590