Arnaldo Caprai Winery
Summary: Sagrantino di Montefalco is produced from Sagrantino grapes. This varietal grape has been growing in this region for more than four hundred years and is the main red grape in this region. Key words that drive the Arnaldo Caprai family include tradition, innovation and territory. Grapes have grown in the area for centuries. Caprai uses innovation to study the grape and uses innovative practices in the vineyard and winery. Wine travelers will enjoy tasting wines at a modern, sleek tasting counter.
Arnaldo Caprai is a leader in the production of top quality Sagrantino di Montefalco. Arnaldo bought the Val di Maggio estate in 1971 and began with a 5 hectare vineyard. Arnaldo planted the white grape Grechetto and the red grape Sangiovese. Arnaldo’s son, Marco Caprai, started managing the winery in 1988. In 1991 there was an investment made into acquiring additional vineyards. Innovation and territory come into play as Caprai began to conduct research as a means to improve quality of the grapes and wines. The vineyard next to the winery has a research study plot where Sagrantino is grown on several different trellis systems. Wine is individually made from each different trellis block. Most of the Sagrantino planted in the vineyards use a cordon spur and are planted at a density of 8,000 plants per hectare.
Of the 150 hectares (370 acres) of property, 136 hectares (220 acres) are under production. The vineyards are located in Montefalco, Gualdo Cattaneo and Bevagna. Varieties include Grechetto, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites and Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sagrantino for the reds.
The winery has designated areas for stainless steel tanks and ageing barrels. Many of the barrels are Slovenian barrels; however, malolactic fermentation of the Sagrantino is done in French oak barrels from Allier, Nievre and Vosges. Sagrantino is barrel aged for two to three years. The cellar rooms are controlled for temperature and humidity. A third area is used to bottle age the wine.
The large rectangular tasting room has an oval tasting counter in the center. The countertop is glass that is lighted. This is a wonderful way to let the wines express their color. The elegant tasting counter is suggestive of the elegant wines.
During our visit, our group was treated to a cooking demonstration. It was actually more than a demonstration as we were encouraged to take part in rolling out the pasta dough to just the right size than place on a pan for cooking. We learned to use our fingertips to roll out the dough. We were helping to prepare our lunch. The chef stated “Italy, especially Umbria, is the food of family not the food of chefs.”
Our first wine tasted was the 2011 Grecante Grechetto Colli Martani DOC, a straw colored floral wine. There were hints of floral and yellow stone fruit on the taste. The finish was crisp and fruity. The wine was made with 100% Grechetto, a common white grape of the Umbria region.
Our tasting quickly changed to the reds. The 2009 Montefalco Rosso DOC was a blend of Sangiovese 70%, Sagrantino 15% and Merlot 15%. The light ruby colored wine had a cherry aroma and taste and offered bold tannins. The 2007 Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano DOCG was a dark ruby colored wine produced from 100% Sagrantino grapes. The dark fruits on the aroma and taste had very bold tannins. This wine demands food. The 2007 Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 anni DOCG was also a dark ruby colored wine made from 100% Sagrantino grapes. It too had dark fruits on the aroma and taste and offered bold tannins.
We tried a dessert wine that was also made with 100% Sagrentino grapes, the Sagrantino di Montefalco passito DOCG. As with the other wines made with the Sagrantino grape, this wine was a dark ruby color with dark fruit on the aroma and taste. It was slightly sweet and had bold tannins along with a fruity finish.
The Arnaldo Caprai Winery is opened most days for tours and tastings. Enjoy the views, and modern tasting room while you discover or rediscover the wines made with the popular Umbria varieties.
February 6, 2012
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