Sagrantino di Montefalco is a full-bodied red wine and a true jewel of Umbria, Italy.
Sagrantino di Montelfaco and Its Production Area In the areas surrounding the town of Montelfaco, in Perugia province in the Umbria region (central Italy), there are produced the DOCG label wines: Sagrantino di Montefalco. Sagrantino is a variety of grape that is representative of Umbria, and these red grapes contains large quantities of polyphenols (phytochemicals with antioxidant properties). There are two kinds of wines produced from them: a “passito” raisin wine and a dry or “secco” red. In line with current trends, the passito wine is not sweet, but as dry as the dried grapes from which it is made. It is an obligatory requirement that both wines be left to ferment in wooden barrels for more than 30 months before they are released for sole and consumption. There are some dry wines available that are fermented for 12. Sagrantino grapes are lined up to dry on wooden drying racks, transforming them into raisins. This processes allows the grapes to be kept in dry climates without spoiling, and also preserves the natural sugar content in the fruit, making it an extremely important process.
Sagrantino di Montefalco: Characteristics and Culinary Pairings The “secco” dry wines are full-bodied and ripe in tannins and polyphenol compounds, which are considered the keys to longevity as both are forms of antioxidants. This wine is a perfect marriage when paired with roasted meats or wild game meat. The “passito” raisin wines while being inherently sweet still strongly retain the tannic dryness, meaning one can enjoy a unique sensation of juxtaposing dry yet sweet sensations. It pairs well with aged cheeses and dried sweets.
The History of Sagrantino di Montefalco The first written record of Sagrantino grapes dates back to texts written in the 16th century. Furthermore, there are also historically confirmed references to them amongst the literary works of author Pliny the Elder (AD23 – AD79). There is also mention of them in the works of the followers of Saint Francesco (1182 – 1226), where it is said that the grapes originally came to Italy from Asia minor (now part of Turkey) and were originally named “Sacrantino” meaning sacrament. Sagrantino grapes first came to be cultivated by monks for the creation of raisin wine to be used in religious rituals since 1540. However since then as a result of the war, they had all but disappeared from Umbria. Until the year 1970, that is, when a handful of wine producers started praising the quality of Sagrantino grapes, which led to DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) labelling in 1979, and then DOCG (Guaranteed Controlled Designation of Origin) labelling in 1992. As a result of innovative methods and technological processes applied to vineyards and wineries today, the quality of Sagrantinon grapes and the wines they make is constantly improving. From the year 2000 up until today, the amount of wine being produced and international interests in it is growing exponentially.