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A pair of Italian reds, one of which is very good

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

From an excellent vintage the 2010 Colpetrone, Montefalco Sagrantino is a rare bargain that provides immediate drinking pleasure yet is capable of development for several years to come.  With the expected structure come robust flavors of generous dark fruit which morphs into a mineral vein that will have you revisit your glass time after time.  I recommend you pick up a few bottles for this weekend.  While the 2014 Castiglion del Bosco, Rosso di Montalcino clearly needs age, I do not foresee it improving.  Avoid.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Colpetrone, Montefalco Sagrantino- $21
Imported by Vias Imports. This wine is 100% Sagrantino which was aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. The fruit is sourced from 35 hectares of vineyards on soils of limey soil with clay deposits at 350 meters.  Alcohol 14.5%. There is a deep fruited nose. In the mouth are red fruit flavors then generally dark fruit with a prominent mineral vein. The wine is robust in a way. The move from fruit to minerality engages the palate. This would not be Sagrantino without the strong structure of very fine grained tannins. However, the weight of the fruit generally covers it. ***(*) Now – 2027.

2014 Castiglion del Bosco, Rosso di Montalcino – $19
Imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines. Alcohol 14%. The wine finally opens up on the second night revealing black fruit and licorice aromas. In the mouth the wine is upfront flavors of bright plums. There is a tangy middle and short finish. It is a clean wine in need of some age as it is not moving at this point. *(*) 2019-2027.

We Try the Sagrantino Grape from Montefalco

Montefalco is located between Florence and Rome in the region of Umbria.  The red wines of this area may be made from the grape Sangrantino.  This grape is generally found only in the towns surrounding Montefalco.  While there are different views about its origins it was first specifically mentioned in a document from 1598.  Grown for centuries on the local hillsides, the Sagrantino grape was typically used to make a sweet passito wine or fortified wine.  In the 1990s several winemakers started producing a dry red wine which was complex and long-lived.

The Italian Appellation system includes table wine: Vino da Tavola (VDT),  Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT), along with quality wines from specific origins: Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).  These apellations require increasingly specific vineyard origins, permitted grape varieties, and  production requirements.  Today there are several different types of wines made around Montefalco including several Umbrian IGT and a Montefalco Sagrantino Passito DOCG.  The two red DOC and DOCG certified wines are Montefalco Rosso DOC and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG.  Montefalco Rosso DOC is an earlier drinking wine made from 60-70% Sangiovese, 10-15% Sagrantino, and 15-30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.   Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG is comprised over 500 hectares of vineyards and accounts for 6% of the Umbrian wine production.  These wines must be made from 100% Sagrantino which is aged for 30 months, 12 of which must be spent in wood.

I really enjoyed both of these wines.  The Cantine Novelli, Montefalco Rosso DOC is definitely a more approachable, earlier drinking wine.  The Colpetrone, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ratchets up the flavor and concentration. While it is quite enjoyable with just a few hours of air this wine will certainly age and develop for many years to come.  I believe both of these wines represent a good introduction to two styles of wine from Montefalco and are good value for the price.  Both of these wines, along with several others from Montefalco, are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2006 Cantine Novelli, Montefalco Rosso DOC – $17
Imported by Red Ink Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese,15% Sagrantino, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Merlot.  The fruit is sourced from a vineyard on soils of clay with a pebble/gravel mixture.  The varietals are fermented separately, undergoes malolactic fermentation, with 15% aged in oak barriques.  Ont he second night there was a light nose of jammy, red fruit.  In the mouth the red fruit had a bit of lift before making way to cool blue fruit with a racy middle.  The flavors were slightly jammy in the finish, with stone-like flavors, and gutsy acidity which picked up.  This was fresh and enjoyable.  *** Now-2017.

2007 Colpetrone, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG – $26
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is 100% Sagrantino which was aged for 12 months in French oak barriques.  The fruit is sourced from 35 hectares of vineyards on soils of limey soil with clay deposits at 350 meters.  This slowly opened over several hours.  There were focused, black fruit with air, stoney ink flavors, and a hint of licorice.  Towards the middle there were concentrated red fruit flavors, leather notes, and a little wood box to this wine where power lurks.  The finish revealed lifted, blue fruits which were racy and inky.  This young wine has an expansive finish with fine ripe tannins and some warmth.  ***(*) Now-2022.