Some wines present their aromas as clear and distinct gems sparkling with overt charm. Other wines are dense and murky, with explosive aromas seeming to exist just below the threshold of discernment. Sagrantino is in the dense and murky camp, their complexity withdrawn but powerfully present.
Aromas of black plum, fig, and tobacco rest on a background of forest floor, with just a kiss of old oak, and a hint of bretty burnt rubber that blows off with aeration.
The opening palate exudes a sense of force without being too heavy. In fact, you notice the acid-laced top notes right away giving this wine more lift than most Sagrantino. The flavors in the mouth shift toward the red spectrum, showing cherry persistently threatened with a smothering blanket of leather and tobacco. The wine has a linear through line with good fruit persistence until, finally at the end of the midpalate, the massive tannins, with the martial tread of grim faced men, begin to force their way onto the stage. Sagrantino is not known for its elegance but this one qualifies, settling into a round, still, rich midpalate held in place by tense acidity keeping the tannins manageable.
Majestic and mysterious yet refined, drink while pondering Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, the first movement.
Technical Notes: Sagrantino is grown primarily in the Umbrian region of Montefalco in Central Italy. If you enjoy big wines it is worth seeking out. Winemakers in the region have made great strides recently in taming these beasts to be drinkable when young. This wine was aged for 37 months, 18 in neutral oak and was fermented using native yeasts.
Price: $60 (Purchase from DOCG Imports)