The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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Page 22 of 132

22 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 { planet grape } WHILE TOURISTS FLOCK TO ARTISTIC, MEDIEVAL PERUGIA AND ASSISI, land- locked Umbria's bucolic green rolling hills provide idyllic growing conditions for spicy olives, lentils, wheat and spelt, and the tartufo nero (black truffle) di Norcia. Black pigs roam the verdant hills and lush forests, along with deer, sheep and cows. Grapes thrive on slopes fac- ing south and southwest—Grechetto, an indigenous white, Sangiovese like its western neighbor Tuscany and the majes- tic Sagrantino. Named after the "sacrament," Sagrantino was used in a sweet version by monks in religious ceremonies, and farm workers drank the wine at religious holidays. Montefalco Sagrantino Secco (dry) tends to be a big, ripe, black-fruited wine of tremendous depth, length, and vigor. It has the power of Brunello di Montalcino, but with more robust fruit tannins and less obvious oak. Montefalco Sagrantino Passito, made from raisins, is sweet and port-like. The grape almost completely disappeared in the 1960s, but thanks to producers like Arnaldo Caprai, whose son Marco has contributed greatly to its renaissance through count - less scientific studies focusing on protecting the vineyards as well as the grape, and adding vineyard nomenclature to the label, there are now more than 74 wineries making the wine, 30 of which have been built in the last ten years. One of the secrets of Sagrantino's success, not easy to achieve when hiding in the shadows of Tuscany, is its unique health benefit. Roger Corder, author of The Red Wine Diet, observed that "the Caprai Montefalco Sagrantino Collepiano is not only rich and powerful, it also has one of the highest procyanidine contents I've ever found." Marco explained, "With over five milligrams per liter of polyphenolics, Sagrantino seems to be the richest kind of grape in the world for tannins, and that plays a very important role if we want to talk about the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine daily. So many studies to uncover a cause for red wine's effects have focused on its phenolic constituents, particularly resveratrol and the flavonoids. As it turns out, Sagrantino, with its thick skin, is one of the richest grapes in resveratrol." The Monk's Elixir Recommended Recent Releases Prices are suggested retail. Perticaia 2010 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ($47.99) ZIGZAGANDO, TOTAL BEVERAGE SOLUTION (AND OTHERS) Antonelli 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ($45) OMNIWINES DISTRIBUTING CO. Còlpetrone 2009 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ($30) VIAS IMPORTS Scacciadiavoli 2008 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ($40) VINITY WINE COMPANY Arnaldo Caprai 2009 Collepiano Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG ($60) FOLIO FINE WINES UNIQUE MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO DOCG IS RIPE FOR DISCOVERY by Catherine Fallis, MS PHOTO COURTESY OF ARNALDO CAPRAI The state-of-the-art barrel room at Tenuta Castelbuono. SAGRANTINO TALKING POINTS •Rich robust central Italian DOCG red •Unique to Perugia, Umbria •Potential health benefits

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