2002 Montefalco Sagrantino
Sagrantino • Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
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Mission Codename: Il Mio Nonno Perso
Operatives: Agent Baco Noir and Agent White
Objective: Gather intel on the elusive Sagrantino grape
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Moretti Omero
Wine Subject: 2002 Montefalco Sagrantino
Don’t let anyone tell you that 2002 was a terrible year in Italy. Why many of the wines of that year were less than exceptional, there are still some beautiful wines to be found. Among them this wine.
Montefalco Sagrantino, a very small DOCG south of Perugia in the Umbria region of West Central Italy, is famous for producing one of the most unique and distinctive wines of Italy. The wines of this region are made exclusively from the Sagrantino grape, often thought to be the grandfather of the Sangiovese grape. Wines from this region come in two varieties, the sweeter passito style and those, like this wine, which are dry.
These wines date back to the 15th century, where the the name ‘sagra’ means festival, causing many to believe that these wines were used for celebratory occasions and special feasts. These wines universally have superbly balanced and have the dominate flavor of of ripe and fresh blackberries.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark inky purple and black with darker pink and red edges.
Smell – Medium intensity that begins slightly sweet of ripe dark fruit that then evolves with earthly and oak undertones. As this wine breathes, hints of tangy raspberries emerge.
Feel – Exceptional mouthfeel with medium, but solid tannic structure, full bodied with an almost creamy and fat feel on the tongue
Taste – This wine begins with excellent fruit flavors that becomes almost tangy. Hints of spice and black pepper are then followed by subtle earthy and oak and cedar wood flavors.
Finish – A fantastic finish that is long and flavorful that continues to reveal its flavors long after each sip.
Conclusion – Quite simply, this is an exceptional wine. If you enjoy Italian reds, this is well worth trying. Showing its varietal characteristics as well as a range of flavors and structure, this is a wine that you can drink by itself as well as pair with a range of dishes. This wine gets a huge Wine Spies thumbs-up!
It all began at wine tasting earlier this year, when Agent Baco Noir was raving about the rare wines from Montefalco Sagrantino. It was decided at that point that The Wine Spies would have to search and return with one of these elusive ‘festival wines’ for our stateside operatives.
As I stepped off the train in Foligno, Agent Baco Noir was standing on the platform with a mischievous smile on her face. Not saying a word, we quickly passed through the station to a pair of Vespas she had procured for our upcoming mission. No directions, no dossier, just a map scribbled on the back of a cafe napkin.
Driving south-westbound out of the town we were immediately in the rural countryside. Farms, ranches and vineyards as far as the eye could see. We pulled up next to pig ranch where Baco Noir stepped off her scooter.
“We’re on foot from here”, is all she said, fixing her hair, adjusting her sunglasses and mumbling to herself about getting her designer high-heeled shoes dirty. I followed, not saying a word (I have learned to keep my mouth shut with regard to women and Italian shoes). Walking through the ranch we could see a farm house in the distance.
Approaching the farm house, we could see vineyards and olive groves surrounding the farm house. Just then, a man, clearly worn by working the land beaconed us into a small tasting room where he quickly disappeared into a back alcove. Emerging again almost immediately with a case of wine in hand he discretely gave them to Baco Noir, who still wearing her sunglasses, turned around and walked out the door. As soon as we stepped outside, she gave me the wine to carry back to the scooters.
Just as quickly as we got the wine, I found myself back at the train station, samples in hand. Baco Noir didn’t even get off her scooter, only saying “see you in the Piedmont in two weeks, give my regards to HQ, Ciao!” as she placed a parcel on top of the wine case I was carrying.
Not being able to wait to return to HQ for our tasting, I opened one of the bottles of the 2002 Moretti Omero Montefalco Sagrantino on the train back to Rome. I now now why this is such an exceptional wine. As I sipped the first glass, I opened the parcel, and inside to my surprise was a note, some Pecorino Toscana cheese, a Abruzzese sausage and some fresh fruit.
It might as well be a perfect day, I though, as I began to read Baco Noir’s note… (details redacted)
To this day, each time I taste this wine I am immediately transported back to that magical place.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Rare Wine Alert
Today’s wine is an exceptionally rare wine find that The Wine Spies have sleuthed for you. We are the only retail establishment in the United States where you will find this wine and we have secured a very limited allocation for you. Be sure to order early – once this wine is sold out, this wine may not be available again.
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Violet red dark with orange reflections that indicate its maturity. An ample and complex nose on this wine, a powerful alcohol content, that sustains a notable quality of smells: red fruits of strawberry, prunes and ripe cherries. A well rounded smell that brings to mind spiced sweet wood, black pepper, cinnamon, leather, and blond tobacco. In the mouth, it is full and lingers with subtle tannins, a balanced acidity and an enveloping warmth. A reverberating smell insinuates “marasca” cherry and vanilla that lingers unforgettably. An extremely high quality wine. It is a wine that deserve to accompany large dishes of meat, like game and roasts. Pairing suggestion: lamb chops.
About This Wine:
Wine made from the Sagratino grape from the Umbria region has an intense red ruby color, a strong impact on the nose with intensity and persistence, and the flavors of red jam, dark fruits, and some earthiness. The wine is strong but elegant, with above average tannins in the early years followed by a mellowing after 5-10 years of evolution in the bottle. The locals serve this wine with meat and game dishes, salami, pasta and hard cheeses. While drinking this wine you may find yourself experiencing an out-of-body sensation where you are mentally transported to Italy!
About Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG (Umbria – West Central Italy):
Upgraded to DOCG status in 1992, made exclusively from the Sagrantino grape. Made in two styles, dry and sweet (passito). The passito style dates back to the 1500s and are most authentic in style. The dry style (which is this one) is considered to be the best and most consistent in the region known for its flavors of ripe fresh-picked blackberries.
This local varietal almost died but is currently seeing a revival. The name is thought to come from ‘sagra’ which means festival implying this wine was reserved for special occasions and feasts. I would love to be at one of those in Italy right now!
About The Winery:
This family business is situated 2.5 kilometres away from the 316 national road connecting Foligno to Todi, on the way to Monti Martani. It stretches for 30 hectars, including olive-groves, vines, woods, plantings of truffles and a pig-breeding.