Tasting Notes: Sagrantino

Montefalco, Umbria is home to sagrantino, a grape that makes a majestic dry red with strong tannins and rich fruit. Lovely, too, is its sweet expression, the dessert wine passito. Sagrantino also forms the backbone of a blend, montefalco rosso. White wines include fresh, light grechetto and elegant trebbiano spoletino. Here, 13 of our favorite bottles.

Paolo Bea Pagliaro 2007

Paolo Bea Pagliaro 2007 ($75) Maverick vintner Paolo Bea uses earth-friendly methods to make a sagrantino with a bordeaux soul: graphite, humus, and wild herbs.

Paolo Bea Passito 2006

Paolo Bea Passito 2006 ($95) Rich but not too sweet, this debonair dessert wine tastes of black figs and earth.

Antonelli Chiusa di Pannone 2006

Antonelli Chiusa di Pannone 2006 ($33) Meaty and smoky yet mellow, this is a great sagrantino for ragù.

Terre de la Custodia Rosso di Montefalco 2011

Terre de la Custodia Rosso di Montefalco 2011 ($22) This sangiovese-based red has the scent of dusty road; chocolate and cherry notes resolve into an herbal finish.

Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino 2012

Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino 2012 ($20) A lovely white with a honey-suckle aroma, creamy texture, and well-meshed acids and oak.

Colpetrone Gold 2006

Colpetrone Gold 2006 ($50) The scent of charred bread crust yields to flavors of cassis and black cherry in this dry, rich red.

Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Rosso 2010

Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Rosso 2010 ($20) Cranberries, raisins, and smoke mingle in this swarthy red with pronounced but balanced tannins and acids.

Lungarotti Sagrantino 2008

Lungarotti Sagrantino 2008 ($30) A pretty red from one of Umbria’s most prominent winemaking families, this velvety wine offers herbs on the nose and a mouth full of roses, cocoa, and savory spices.

Arnaldo Caprai 25 Anni 2008

Arnaldo Caprai 25 Anni 2008 ($80) Rich soil, iron, tobacco, and prunes mix with a surprising potpourri note in this gorgeously textured wine that’s great with steak.

Arnaldo Caprai Grecante 2012

Arnaldo Caprai Grecante 2012 ($20) A flowery nose fronts zesty acids, chalk, and steely minerals, with a lingering peach finish.

Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino 2008

Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino 2008 ($26) Bright acidity keeps this sagrantino lithe; hints of licorice and rosemary give it exciting depth.

Adanti Montefalco Rosso 2010

Adanti Montefalco Rosso 2010 ($15) Tart and tannic with hints of bright cherry and earthy peat moss, this bargain red blend is a great wine to pair with pizza.