Sagrantino Wine Tasting at Eataly’s La Scuola: It’s Sagrantino Month!
I don’t think I can easily tire of Sagrantino wines. I am rather unschooled in superlatives and cannot tell you the finest wine ever produced in the last 60-100 years. I’ll leave the sommeliers to that and surely there will be disagreement, pretension (no offense guys and gals) and enough rant to bore the rest of us oenophiles. However, I do know what I like and after being introduced to a little known grape varietal and its wines from the region of Montefalco, Umbria, I’ve tasted enough wines made from the Sagrantino to know that they are a lovely accompaniment to hot appetizers, cheeses, salumi and meat dishes.
So I really enjoyed the Sagrantino wine tasting at Eataly’s La Scuola. I was introduced to different Montefalco wineries producing a variety of the region’s Sagrantino wines and blends, from Rosso to the straight Montefalco Sagrantino D.O.C.G.
Eataly has been featuring Sagrantino wineries since its Umbrian promotion of products in the fall. That was my first introduction to the rare Sagrantino grape and the Arnaldo-Caprai winery. I enjoyed the wines then and at a delicious tasting hosted by Roberto Paris at New York Times 3 starred Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. As I attended other tastings and dined at other venues, I moved on falling back on my past loves, the better known Tuscan wines, primarily because I couldn’t get a glass of the Sagrantino blend or wine made only with the Sagrantino grape varietal. The restaurants simply didn’t have it on their wine lists, nor could I find it at my neighborhood liquor shop.
This recent wine event at Eataly’s La Scuola was not an official tasting which made it relaxing and enjoyable. As I tasted the rich, blood-red, full bodied Sagrantinos, I was able to mingle, share and talk at length with some of the producers and winery owners. I tasted Sagrantino blends in their roughness of youth and only wines made of Sagrantino in the mellowness of a 5 year aging. Either way, whether I was curious about drinking a red blend of Sagrantino and merlot with every day meals or saving the best, the aged pure Sagrantino wine, for a more special occasion with friends, the wines I tasted were unique and interesting. And there were some surprises.
What is wonderful is that Eataly is offering Sagrantino wines by the glass for $10.00 in all of its restaurants Fridays and Saturdays. That means that if you are near Eataly on Fridays, check out the Sagrantino tastings. If you are dining there ask for a glass of Sagrantino from one of these producers. Though I dined at Manzo on Sunday, I was able to get a glass of the Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino Collepiano and when I checked, there are still some bottles for sale.
If you are in New York City and haven’t yet been to Eataly, you are missing a great treat. If you are in town before the end of the month and you stop by, you will be able to enjoy these wines that are gaining global favorable renown. And if you visit Umbria, Perugia and Spoleto for the festival and Montefalco, the town where the Sagrantino grape varietal has made its home for centuries, you will be able to drink the vino locale with relish. Now that you are familiar with wineries in the area, you will be able to visit for tours and tastings of this amazing varietal that nearly went into extinction if not for a dedicated group of growers and producers and families whose generational lifestyle included making really great wines for every occasion.
WINERIES CELEBRATING SANGRANTINO MONTH AT EATALY AND AT THE LA SCUOLA TASTING
A DISCLAIMER: I was not able to feature a few wineries here because I ran out of time. When I travel again to Umbria to visit family, I will make sure to map an itinerary to tour the ones I missed. And I will try to taste their wines this week at Eataly.