If there is one wine style that is rarely seen in Australia – or even outside of Italy – it is Montefalco Sagrantino.
Sure, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG is tiny (304ha) so it is self limiting. But still, you never see it. Anywhere. Even within the historic walls of Montefalco itself, genuine DOCG wines are uncommon.
You can understand why too. Sagrantino, when it’s good, is a paradoxical wine> Think almost limitless dark black fruit, massive walls of tannins and huge impact, all with an acidity and life that is unexpected. The concentration of Puglian Primitivo, but from the cooler hills of Umbria.
I ended up in Montefalco last year following the cycling, the wine a second priority. But after a few days in Sagrantino city, it’s hard not to want more. I’m still kicking myself I never bought anything in town…
Back home in Sydney then, and $160 off the list at Pilu for the 2012 Di Filippo Montefalco Sagrantino looks (almost) cheap, especially up against the other great reds of Italy (Brunello, Barolo, Amarone etc).
It’s an extraordinary wine, too. 15.5% alcohol, yet it doesn’t feel scorched. It’s deeply tannic, black fruited and almost brutally concentrated. The oak influence here softens and shapes the wine, giving a slight vanilla sweetness and coating the tannic, hearty finish. It’s dominant, but filling in any holes in the licoricey fruit – a modern, polish to what is otherwise a rustic wine. That unstoppable richness doesn’t burn either, the acidity not harsh, the flavours just life-affirming and deep, the style not sweet fruited – it’s deeper, oak-savoury and firmer than that. The alcohol plays a part in structure, but it’s not just spirit.
What a wine. A very modern big red, and magnificent because of it. Best drinking: I’d wait another few years really and then? It will possibly live forever. 18.7/20, 95/100. 15.5%, $160 off the list. Would I buy it? This is my second bottle. More please.