2004 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Moretti Omeri is truly an Italian wine of exceptional distinction. If you haven’t tried a 100% Sagrantino wine, then this is a stellar example of the varietal and region.
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Mission Codename: Il Mio Nonno Perso – Part II
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Gather intel on the elusive Sagrantino grape and return with an exceptional example of the varietal
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Moretti Omero
Wine Subject: 2004 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Winemaker: Moretti Omero
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 superb balance and have the dominant flavor of ripe, fresh blackberries.
The last time we featured this wine, it was the 2002 vintage, and even though the vintage was one of the poorest in recent memory in Italy, that wine showed that even in a bad year, great wines exist. The 2004 vintage was an excellent year and these wines are just now ready to drink.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Garnet purple with a clear relatively dark core with ruby highlights. Along the edges the color fades from brick to pinkish-orange. When swirled, clusters of fast thin tears ring the glass.
Smell – Classically old-world and medium bold in intensity with complex and well integrated aromas of earthy ripe cherry, dusty bramble-brush and blackberry, dried floral rose and violets, and a touch of sandalwood, vanilla spice and licorice.
Feel – Full-bodied, smooth and dry with excellent minerality, the fine grained but persistent tannins reach the far corners of the palate. The balanced acidity and excellent structure lingers through to the finish.
Taste – Tart and rich Italian cherry, hints of blackberry and bilberry are layered over complex herbal and earthy notes. Sandalwood, a touch of mild vanilla oak, black licorice and spice add to the classic flavors of this exceptional wine.
Finish – Super long and supported by this wines excellent structure. Lingering notes of earthy cherry, oak, spice and bramble invite sip after lucious sip.
Conclusion – The 2004 Moretti Omero Montefalco Sagrantino is a powerful wine that also shows tremendous finesse and elegance. The fine grained but firm tannins, lingering minerality and balanced acid carry the old-world aromas and flavors from the first sniff through to the last sip. If you are a fan of Italian wines, then this is a must have addition. Truly a special wine worthy of any of your celebrations. We recommend decanting this wine prior to serving.
Below is a recap of when Agent White and Agent Baco Noir first discovered the great wines from Moretti Omero:
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 beckoned 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 and exclusive 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.
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Wine Spectator – “There’s pleasant stewed plum, blackberry and spicy vanilla character on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, with a compact and firm yet silky mouthfeel. A little in reserve now. Needs bottle age to offer more on the palate. Best after 2009. 700 cases made. –JS”
Special Recognition – 2008 Biodivino International Organic Wine Competition.
Dark ruby in its color, rich of spices. Italian cherry, petals of faded flowers, coffee’s dust. Warm and velvety to the palate, it shows is ancient rusticità in every voluptuous and dainty sip, very rare indeed. It was symbol of hospitality for special guests, delicious end meal in the important parties, joy of a moment. Today the version passita survives to the fame and the extraordinary commercial success of the dry version.
The ripened, organic Sagrantino grapes are placed in small baskets, once processed and left to ferment for 20/25 days. The wine is left in oak cask to be decantered for 24 months before bottling.
Serve this exceptional wine with local Umbrian dishes, wild game and red meats.
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.