Sagrantino is an Italian grape variety that deserves more attention. Most famously grown in Umbria, smack bang in the middle of Italy between Rome and Florence. The wines of Montefalco are absolutely glorious but unfortunately very hard to find here in Australia.
When it comes to tannins, Sagrantino is king. It has very thick skins and very large seeds, these give the wines lots of tannin and lots of colour. These tannins can be very rough and drying in their youth, but with some bottle age they can soften, resulting in balanced but very full bodied wines.
Montefalco Sagrantino must be made 100% from Sagrantino grapes and requires a minimum of 37 months of aging before release, one whole year of that must be in oak barrels.
Those with the patience to make great Sagrantino are handsomely rewarded. Dark and inky in colour and bursting with dark fruits. The wines are incredibly savoury and pair beautifully with big meaty dishes. Protein and tannins are a match made in heaven. Winter is the absolute best time to enjoy these gentle monsters.
We have two great local examples from Sassafras in the Canberra District and Savaterre from Beechworth. Each has managed to tame the tannins enough to make wines that are leading the category in Australia.
- Chris, Albury -