THE MONK’S ELIXIR – Unique Sagrantino DOCG is Ripe for Discovery


Planet Grape  The SOMM Journal  October November 2015

While tourists flock to artistic, medieval Perugia and Assisi, landlocked Umbria’s bucolic green rolling hills provide idyllic growing conditions for spicy olives, lentils, wheat and spelt, and the tartufo nero (black truffle) di Norcia. Black pigs roam the verdant hills and lush forests, along with deer, sheep and cows. Grapes thrive on slopes facing south and south-west – Grechetto, an indigenous white, Sangiovese like its western neighbor Tuscany, and the majestic Sagrantino. Named after the “Sacrament,” monks used Sagrantino raisins for religious ceremonies, and farm workers drank the wine at religious holidays

Montefalco Sagrantino Secco (dry) tends to be a big, ripe, black-fruited wine of tremendous depth, length, and vigor. It has the power of Brunello di Montalcino, but with more robust fruit tannins and less obvious oak. Montefalco Sagrantino passito, made from raisins, is sweet and port-like. The grape almost completely disappeared in the 1960’s, but thanks to producers like Arnaldo Caprai, whose son Marco has contributed greatly to its renaissance through countless scientific studies focusing on protecting the vineyards as well as the grape, and adding vineyard nomenclature to the label, there are now more than 74 wineries making the wine, 30 of which have been built in the last 10 years.

One of the secrets of Sagrantino’s success, not easy to achieve when hiding in the shadows of Tuscany, is its unique health benefit. Roger Corder, author of The Red Wine Diet, observed that “the Caprai Montefalco Sagrantino Collepiano is not only rich and powerful, it also has one of the highest procyanidine contents I’ve ever found.” Marco explained, “With over 5 milligrams per liter of polyphenolics, Sagrantino seems to be the richest kind of grape in the world for tannins, and that plays a very important role if we want to talk about the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine daily. So many studies to uncover a cause for red wine’s effects have focused on its phenolic constituents, particularly resveratrol and the flavonoids. As it turns out, Sagrantino, with its thick skin, is one of the richest grapes in resveratrol.”

 Sagrantino Talking Points

    • Rich robust central Italian DOCG red
    • Unique to Perugia, Umbria
    • Potential Health Benefits


Recommended Recent Releases

2010 Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG $47.99

Importer: Vias Imports

2009 Arnaldo Caprai Collepiano Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG $60

Importer: Vinity Wine Company

2007 Antonelli Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG $45

Importer: Omniwines Distributing Co.2008 Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG $40

Importer: Folio Fine Wines

2009 Colpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG $30

Importer: Vias Imports 


Read our reviews of more Sagrantino wines here:

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