Drinking Montefalco Sagrantino is kind of like having kinky sex.
I mean, there’s the juicy anticipation phase when you smell all of that ripe red fruit and spice on the nose; then there’s the sexy, feel-good phase when the wine enters your palate like silk; and then… WHACK! The tannins smack/bite/spank you.
This is not to say that you should assume that abyone drinking Montefalco Sagrantino is into kinky sex, it’s just to give you degenerately progressive and tolerant 1WD readers a frame of reference, and show you where my own head was during my recent media visit to the region.
During that trip, I decided to have a visit to the relatively small (eight hectares, about 45,000 bottles/year) and decidedly non-kinky (family-run) producer Romanelli, who’s vineyards sit in the northeastern corner of the region, and who I strongly suspect will not exactly be totally thrilled that I opened their feature here with a reference to kinky sex. Anyway… with the high winds there, it’s a great spot for passito style dessert wines (FTR, theirs is spicy, racy, and pure, and well-worth seeking out), but also (as is common in Montefalco) for several types of farming.
Devis Romanelli, who took over the winemaking reins in 2007, has been making a push to certify Romanelli’s olive oil and vines as organic, which isn’t easy in the sunny-but-continental Montefalco climate. “2013 was very… educative for me for organic viticulture” he quipped.
Devis’ grandfather purchased the farm in the late 1970s, during which it was also producing wheat, olives, and supporting cattle; grapes were sold to the once-ubiquitous Montefalco co-ops. Their Sagrantino comes mostly from their San Clemente vines, which grow on a limestone/clay mixture. It’s these that are in the 1WD review focus today, as Devis walked me through a tasting of their Sagrantinos going back to his first vintage… so buckle up, and get your safe words ready…