A Taste of Umbria By the Glass – the Famous Sagrantino Wine

Sagrantino is a grape variety found in Italy in the Umbria region. It has high tannin and is deep in its colour. The Sagrantino grape plantings in Umbria are seen in recent years and considering the overall plantings; it accounts for a small percentage of growth.

Origin of Sagrantino

The parentage and origins of the Sagrantino grape are disputed. However, Sagrantino is found its home in Umbria, and in and around the Montefalco regions. Historically, Sagrantino was known to produce dessert wines. In recent years, the dry style has gained popularity.

Where is Sagrantino Grown?

Sagrantino has resistance to spring cold and winter but needs sufficient sunlight and heat to reach its full ripeness. Only then it can provide balance sugar against high tannins and adequate flavour. In the Montefalco area, the Umbrian grapes are seen predominantly widespread but is a rare find outside Italy.  The Montefalco di Sagrantino is believed to have some success with plantings in Australia, Sicily, Argentina, and California.

Taste of Sagrantino Wine

It is a black grape that has high tannin and thus has a dry after taste. It may be used to make sweet and dry wines and is known to produce dry reds featuring high tannin. In particular, the Montefalco di Sagrantino wines have flavours of forest fruits, dark cherry, and liquorice while it also includes the savoury notes of truffles and the forest floor. The palate bursts with flavour while the aromas may be restrained. The dry red wines are highly tannic and are appropriate for barrel aging so that over time the tannins get softened. These wines age well in bottles and so considering laying them down for a period of 5 years at least is best for the vintage wine.

Sagrantino Wine Styles

Sagrantino wines may be available in several styles. Apart from being used in sweet and dry wines, they are also used in specific blends. In the late 1970s, Montefalco Sagrantino moved up to the DOC status, and the historical Sagrantino Wine was acclaimed to be the richest wines produced. In 1992, Montefalco Sagrantino and Sagrantino Passito Montefalco were elevated to the DOCG status that is the highest quality classification in Italy.

Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG

The most luxurious red wine you can taste in Umbria is the Sagrantino di Montefalco. The wine has 100% Sagrantino grapes, and it undergoes aging for a long time before it is actually released for bottling. It at least is kept in its oak barrel for a period of 12 months. The structure of the tannin in the wine makes it ideal for aging even after release from the barrel.  Thus, over time it develops tobacco, forest floor, leather, and other tertiary flavours. Eventually, these flavours balance with the fundamental characteristics of forest fruits and dark cherry.

Foods to Pair with the Montefalco Sagrantino Wine

  • The Sagrantino forest aromas open to pairing with dishes that are high in Umami (such as truffles or porcini).
  • The high tannins in the wine should be balanced with some protein-rich foods. Venison and Pheasant are the two best options when it comes to food pairings with this vino. However, decanting the wine is a must before serving.