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Sagrantino: What You Need to Know About this Italian Grape

Experimental Sagrantino vineyard at Arnaldo Caprai Winery in Montefalco, Italy

Experimental Sagrantino vineyard at Arnaldo Caprai Winery in Montefalco, Italy

Sagrantino is likely to be indigenous to Montefalco. Some believe the grape variety was introduced to the region by Franciscan Friars perhaps by St. Francis. Today the grape is said to only be grown in Mantefalco. However, we know of a winery in North Carolina and a winery in California that are growing Sagrantino.

Wine lovers who enjoy tannins and those who enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon wines may well enjoy Sagrantino wines. The wines are often dark purple to black in color and exhibit aromas and flavors are dark fruits. Those we had in Umbria had very bold tannins, some with kissing tannins.

According the the Sagrantino website, food pairings include wild boar, fine game, lamb, braised meat, free-range country pigeon and aged cheeses. Other suggestions include pairing it with chocolate and cigars.

Research has shown that Sagrantino wines have a long aging possibility.

History of Sagrantino in Umbria

Prior to 1960’s, not many winemakers grew Sagrantino. However by 1979 Montefalco received DOC for its wines and in n 1980 a D.O.C appellation was given to Montefaclo Sagrantino.  This final designation required that the Sagrantino wine must be 100 percent Sagrantino and aged for 30 months.

With considerable support from  Arnaldo Caprai in Montefalco, Sagrantino received DOCG status from Montefalco Sagrantino.

We were fortunate to visit Arnalda Caprai after the International Wine Tourism Conference. The Wine Trail Traveler article is online.


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