Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Report from ... Montefalco: a Journey of Sagrantino, Day 2 - June 23, 2014

Today it's three wineries, a tour of the town of Montefalco and lots of wine and more and more food - where do these people pack all this stuff??? ... here's the pictorial evidence:

Arrival at Cantina Scacciadiavoli
Celebrating 130 years of continuous operation in the Montefalco region
... said to be the region's oldest winery.
The courtyard pictures is just how it was 130 years ago
Another look at the courtyard
A look from the winery building --- this was actually built as a "wine factory"
back in 1884 by Prince Ugo Boncompagni-Ludovisi, of Piombino, and was a 4-story gravity flow style ... obviously
our good Prince was a renaissance man ahead of his time.

the only two areas not designed for wine is the kitchen
and the communal 'living area'; or meeting area
Upstairs they have converted the old drying area into a special events area
complete with cute kitch on the walls
most of the structures are as is from 1884:  ceiling, beams, posts ...
... corridors ...
even the original posts are here and they bare the emblem of the Prince,
on each and everyone

Barrel caves
Floors in this  barrel / tank room are elevated in the middle and sloped
to the sides for easy cleaning of the winery.

Bottom level houses barrels and a double wall tank ...
It has been created to look like one barrel, but in fact there are two large
concrete tanks back there - the one on the right house 545hl while the left is 555hl
now up to the tasting room for a look at the wines
here is our sit down tasting; maybe we should have skipped breakfast
a little bit closer now
2013 Grechetto
exotic fruit like pineapple and guava with floral hints; palate is floral but
with more grapefruit pith flavours - dry and lively on the tongue (*** 1/2+)
2010 Rosso
a blend of 60% Sangiovese / 25% Merlot / 15% Sagrantino
invitingly red fruit nose with a fruit driven palate and easy drinking flavours (****)
2008 Sagrantino
aromas of anise, black raspberry, vanilla and smoke; shows big tannins and acidity
with chalky raspberry and strawberry (****)

Liu's "very dirty car" - she was embarrassed to have us ride in it earlier because
she said it was 'embarrassingly dirty' - I think it's the mismatched wheels
next stop:  Cantina Colle CiOcco
the outside view: back in 1997 an earthquake destroyed the winery
so this is its re-incarnation
We are here for lunch - and the table is set with care ...
... both of them

Our hosts: Francesca and Lamberto Spacchetti
Starting with prosciutto and melon and bruscetta
all topped with there house made olive oil
(more on this in a bit)
Awesome plate of pasta - fresh and lovely: olive oil and fresh tomoatoes
I can't believe we ate the whole thing
paired with the 2010 Rosso: fresh and fruity with good spice (*** 1/2+)
a great pairing with the pasta
Next up, the roast beef, it's never a small amount of food here is it?
And we get a comparative of two vintages of Sagrantino: 2005 versus 2007
2007 is much more elegant, more friendly and more approachable
2005 is astringent, harsh, sharp and angular; tannins out of balance
Olive Oil here is like a religion; here we have the "three churches of Colle CiOcco":
Fiore, Fruttato and Gentile

Dessert is served with 2008 Passito:
black cherry, chocolate and plum - delightful and delicious (****)
Taking a break to re-group my faculties on the back patio ... beautiful view

Finally: a double dose of grappa - both Sagrantino one is barrel aged in
cherry wood (right) and the other, not.
The after lunch chats
Interesting to note that the winery is 100% run using solar power

The Centre of Town ...
Here we are looking at City hall of Montefalco - from the tower you can get a
"Ringhiera Umbria" - 360 degree view of Umbria
Here Elisabetta Rambotti struggles to get the secret door to the tower opened
the climb is steeper and more dangerous then it looks - it was also made
for much shorter people (ouch! my head!)
View of the centre of town from the top of the tower
Here's the full 360 degree view - I'll shut up now while you take it all in

And Now ... What goes up, must come down ... oh boy
Our walk back to the hotel includes this sight
and this one: parental discretion is advised
can you imagine this sign on the street so North America
- people would lose their minds:  "the children, protect them!!!"
The 'gates' of Montefalco

Last Winery of the Day ... Col Santo

View from the front seat of the driveway up to the winery
This is Renato, the winemaker for Col Santo - love the shirt

The front of the winery - notice how you walk right into the production area
see ?!?

the vineyard (part of it anyway)
a close-up of one of the guardian roses

vineyard view from the upper patio
from left:  Konrad Ejbich, Roberto Staiano, and Maurizio Dalmasson
enjoy the comforts of the patio and the view that goes along with it
Dinner starts with prosciutto (surprised???)
"When you have antipasti in Italy don't fill up too much, the train is coming,
it's only the smoke."  - Maurizio
This delight from Friuli: 2012 Friulano is a wonderful started wine (*** 1/2+)
Taratella with wold boar ragu - oh so good - now that's Italian!!!
especially when topped with fresh Parmessan
main is rabbit
Another 2 bottle tasting of Sagrantino:  2002 versus 2010:
this one is more of a fair fight, but the '10 nudges out the '02

2010 - fresher, fruitier, approachable with red licorice and sweet black cherry,
blackberry, cassis, blueberry and smoke - all well structure (****)
2002 - dried red berries, fig and plum, succulent and supple and still shows good power
from the tannins and acidity.
plus we get a special surprise out of Friuli: 2011 Pignolo "Eldore"
only 50 hectares are grown in all of Friuli, this grape was re-discovered in the 70's and
only 8-10 producers make a wine from it these days ... what a treat.
2nd last of two more surprises:
the yet to be released 2012 Passito - smooth and yummy

and the paint thinner, gut wrenching, throat-seering 25 year old grappa ...
"brought out for special occasions" says Maurizio
Goodnight from Umbria
That concludes our broadcast from Montefalco for the day ... tomorrow we have added an extra stop on our already packed agenda (an Olive Oil Farm) so that means an even earlier start to the day ... so join me for Day 3 when we visit three more wineries, taste much more wine and who knows what will happen next ...