It's Another Excellent Vintage: Preview Tasting at the Anteprima Sagrantino 2016

Umbria is decidedly one of Italy's most scenic regions and an ideal choice among travelers who love the Italian life. Its geography is characterized by an inviting landscape of a mixture of ancient walled hamlets and perfectly manicured rows of vineyards on hills and valleys. All the towns are characteristically charming and has distinctive importance to the region. Not only does it command richness in gastronomy, artistic legacy, history, culture and tradition, but it also has an important main agricultural cultivation to boast about. Wine is fast becoming a positive impact to its growing economy. Although the last decade has seen a slight decline of its quantitative production, the viticulture sector has its viable reason - because the wine producers have changed their course towards the qualitative improvement of their products. Though small in size compared to the other towns, Montefalco, known as the balcony of Umbria because of its elevated position and views over the panorama below. It is most known for its importance in wine production with appellations named after it, the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and Montefalco Rosso DOC.

Sagrantino, an Italian black grape variety and known to have one of the highest tannic level of all varieties, is indigenous to Umbria and primarily cultivated in Montefalco and the surrounding area. 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.

Another very interesting grape variety of great personality, grown from the hills of Montefalco towards the town of Spoleto going across the luxuriant valley which represents the tradition of the area, is the ancient white grape Trebbiano Spoletino. The wine producers of this variety have adopted different stylistic interpretations of this wine, from aging in stainless steel to long maceration with the skin and short aging in oak barrels. The grape has the capacity to deliver diverse complexities of characteristics with its fruity aromas, tropical and citrus tones, savory hints, enriched with its decisive minerality.

Montefalco announced that 2016 was another exceptional vintage like last year's. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco (Consortium for the Protection of the Wines of Montefalco), their evaluation states that the year had a mild winter characterized by abundant rains while spring and summer saw a succession of hot days with well-distributed rains that allowed the grapes to ripen in an excellently, evading the problem of water stress. The trend in the average daily temperatures and monthly rainfall had proved to be in line with the historical series of the area which favors a harmonious vegetative development that guaranteed good production levels. With the climatic condition in 2016, the vintage has a remarkable potential in having excellence in structure, richness in coloring material and very interesting acid component. These are the conditions that guarantee elegant silky wines destined for long aging. The Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco appraises 2016 as a classic vintage of great wines, perhaps less ready for release but certainly has a high potentiality of an excellent one.

Every year, the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco organizes a preview tasting of the Montefalco Sagrantino wines of the vintage ready to be released to the public. This year's Anteprima Sagrantino of the 2016 vintage held between 24 - 25 February 2020, saw additional white and red wines aside from the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2016. Montefalco Bianco DOC, Montefalco Grechetto DOC, Trebbiano Spoletino Spoleto DOC, Trebbiano Spoletino Superiore Spoleto DOC, Montefalco Rosso DOC and Montefalco Rosso DOC Riserva were also included in the lineup of wines.

“We are always very excited to announce the new edition of the Sagrantino Preview," asserts Filippo Antonelli, President of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco "because for each vintage year it is a real watershed event, a moment of transition that defines the boundaries of our work, the work already done and the work that will see us engaged in the coming months on the promotion and enhancement of our wines, our territory and our excellencies. Every year we enrich the Preview with new products and we do so with the aim of making the exhibition as close as possible to the needs of the sector and therefore of companies, both in terms of communication and marketing. Making our names more and more famous all over the world is in fact fundamental for the growth of this sector. This year the Sagrantino Preview will present the extension of the denominations protected by our Consortium with the introduction of the Doc Spoleto which completes the range of products that refer to what remains an exceptional territory from a wine-making point of view. Obviously we also have some nice confirmations, such as the initiatives that are part of our Preview, which complete and enrich the offer, which have become fixed appointments of a programme that, year after year, wants to be more and more interesting, rich and above all useful for our business fabric, for the many operators who look at us with interest, for the specialized press that is for us a privileged interlocutor, voice of our wines, an important tool to convey our quality and our emotions in the bottle."

Here are my most notable tastings of Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2016:
Montefalco Sagrantino Vignalunga 2016, Moretti Omero
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Romanelli
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Fattoria Le Mura Saracene - Goretti
Montefalco Sagrantino Fortunato 2016, Valdangius
Montefalco Sagrantino Carapace 2016, Tenute Lunelli - Castelbuono
Montefalco Sagrantino B&G 2016, Benedetti&Grigi
Montefalco Sagrantino Phonsano 2016, Ilaria Cocco
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Le Cimate
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Agricola Mevante
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Lungarotti
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Tenuta Alzatura - Cecchi
Montefalco Sagrantino Colle Grimaldesco 2016, Tabarrini
Montefalco Sagrantino Colleallodole 2016, Fattoria Colleallodole - Milziade Antano
Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Colle Ciocco

Here are my most notable tastings of Trebbiano Spoletino 2018:
Trebbiano Spoletino Spoletino 2018, F.lli Pardi

Trebbiano Spoletino Campo di Pico 2018, Valdangius

Trebbiano Spoletino Anteprima Tonda 2018, Antonelli

Trebbiano Spoletino Trebium 2018, Antonelli

Trebbiano Spoletino B&G 2018, Benedetti&Grigi

Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco

Piazza del Comune, 16

06036 Montefalco (PG), Italy

Tel: +39 0742 379590