I’m a big red wine drinker, but summer calls for whites. So today, I would like to introduce you to two new summer whites from WineShop At Home that are at the top of my list. I encourage you to try them and enjoy them throughout the summer.[Read more…]
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about barbecues. While many people think beer when they think barbecue, I think wine! So the focus of today’s article is what wines go best with barbeques. [Read more…]
One of my favorite guidelines for wine and food pairing is the notion that you can mirror tastes or contrast them. I’m devoting this article to the all-important food and wine pairing question: Should you mirror or contrast? A big thank you to Vinfolio and SFGN for their help with this article.[Read more…]
If you’ve ever played Pictionary, you know how much fun it is to come up with hysterical pictures that are meant to resemble clues. What if you combined wine tasting with Pictionary? Let me introduce you to Roland Micu who is America’s youngest master sommelier. His claim to fame is that he thinks about wine in shapes. “For instance, after sipping gruner veltliner (a crisp Austrian white wine), he draws what looks like a starfish on a cocktail napkin. ‘This is what I see when I taste this wine,’ he says. ‘This is its texture.’ A fruitier, full-bodied red blend from Sonoma County inspires what looks like a Rorschach blot. While it is not unheard of to see imagery when tasting, it is rare.”
As I discussed in “Wine and Health: A Fun Deep Dive” last week, I’ve long known that Tannat was a really healthy wine because of its high polyphenol/resveratrol content, but I didn’t know that Sagrantino from Umbria, Italy had even higher polyphenol/resveratrol levels. Today let’s explore this wine.
Let’s Start with Wine Folly
I love Wine Folly The Master Guide Magnum Edition published in 2018. This book has a page for most wine grapes, plus a lot more information. So, I’ll start with what the book has to say about Sagrantino. They describe the grape as “a rare, deeply bold, central-Italian red” with notes of plum sauce, licorice, black tea, black olive and black pepper. Because Sagrantino has very high tannin and astringency, they recommend pairing it with fatty foods such as cream-based sauces, sausages, wild mushrooms and cheese.
Other Characteristics of the Grape
Sagrantino is a deeply colored grape that grows well in the limestone and clay soils of Umbria. In addition to the tasting notes that Wine Folly highlights, I found the following characteristics on a number of web sites: black cherry, blackberry, spicy and earthy. The wine is described as both sweet and savory. In one video I saw, it said that even when the wine reaches 14.5% alcohol, there is still quite a bit of residual sugar left. Hence, this unique combination of sweet and savory.
The wine benefits from aging for at least 10 years. Interestingly, there’s a local wine law in Umbria that says that Sagrantino can’t be released until it has aged for at least 30 months. So, you won’t find a bottle in a store that’s younger than three years old. When I am able to shop again, I will pick up a few bottles, so that I can drink one now and age the others for five, 10 and maybe even 15 years, if I have the discipline.
If the label says Sagrantino, it must have 95% of this grape in it. Typically, when it is blended, it’s blended with Sangiovese.
According to Wine-Searcher, this grape is “often described as elusive and mysterious. [It]…is produced by only a handful of producers in Montefalco and hardly grown outside Italy at all. Consequently, its availability is limited, though an increase in international attention has seen a rekindling of interest in this intensely colored grape. Even rarer than the dry red wine crafted from Sagrantino and its blends are the varietal passito wines of Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG. These concentrated wines, made from semi-dried grapes, are comparable to Vintage Port in their intensity and longevity.”
The wine comes from an area in Umbria called Montefalco. Tutto Montefalco tells us that “Montefalco is a majestic hilltown in central Umbria. Once you arrive, you will step through the ancient walls of a very unique and charming countryside town that will take you back in time and have you walking around the village in the same footfalls of at least eight saints that called Montefalco their birthplace…The major tourist attraction in Montefalco is the museum inside the Saint Francesco Church. This church was built between 1335 and 1338 and is one of the most interesting medieval churches in the area…From atop the hill in Montefalco you can view the magnificent Umbria valley below with the beautiful olive groves and vineyards.”
I’ve you’ve tried Sagrantino, I’d love to hear about your experience. Salute.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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