Sagrantino Wine Tasting at Eataly’s La Scuola: It’s Sagrantino Month!

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This is Sagrantino month at Eataly. You can enjoy a glass of Sagrantino from various Umbrian wineries at Eataly’s restaurants. You can also taste the pleasures of Sagrantino wines every Friday when Eataly’s wine store will feature a select Montefalco winery’s Sagrantino vintage.

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I am enjoying a glass of Sagrantino Collepiano from the Arnaldo-Caprai winery. Eatay’s signature brand is on its stemware, of course. Eataly’s La Scuola is host to events like tastings and cooking classes. I have yet to get to a pasta class, though I could probably teach it as I learned how to make fresh (spinach, tomato, gnocchi, ravioli, etc.) pasta from my mom and nonna.

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.

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I tried these wines which are an older vintage and found them to bloom into the satisfying Sagrantino mouth feel. The winery is Cantina Le Cimate and I had the opportunity to speak to producer Paolo Bartoloni who is happy that his wines are being introduced to the American markets where we will be able to enjoy them. My oenophile friend FK spoke to Paolo at length and hopes to visit him in Montefalco after FK returns to his home in Hungary.

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Paolo Bartoloni with Marco Caprai (back to the camera) both paisano from Montefalco, Umbria. Take a day trip there if you are visiting Spoleto or Perugia.

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.

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Another delicious wine from the Antonelli winery. This is a Rosso, a blend of Sagrantino and other reds.

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Montefalco Sagrantino from the Scacciadiavoli Winery. The winery takes its name from an exorcist who lived nearby. I would have loved to have gone to a wine dinner the Scacciadiavoli Winery was hosting at Eolo, a restaurant in Chelsea, NYC. The food and wine pairings looked sensational. The way to fully experience the luscious power of Sagrantino is with a great food. The menu looked super. Rats. I hope to give you some feedback on  the dinner and restaurant it in an upcoming post.

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.

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Dan Amatuzzi, Eataly’s wine expert (left) and Marco Caprai of the Arnaldo-Capri Winery which won Wine Enthusiast’s European Winery of the Year 2012. Marco is discussing the region of Umbria, its beauty and nearby cities to visit. He discussed Perugia and Spoleto which has the annual Spoleto festival.

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This ruby red Sagrantino with its lingering smell of vanilla and spices is produced by Colle Del Saraceno and Francesco Botti…on the BOTTI farm (it has been around since the last century) in Montefalco.

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I happen to enjoy great after dinner wines. Who knew Sagrantino could be used to make a delicious dessert wine? This Montefalco Sagrantino D.O.C.G. Passito has been produced on the BOTTI family farm since the 19th century. And it is out of this world, great, almost liqueur-like because of the long period of natural air-drying. The bouquet of blackberries, cloves and cinnamon lingers on the mouth and persists on the nose. Wonderful with desserts and cheeses.

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.

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If you walk into Eataly from its entrance on 23rd Street, you will see this sign reminding you it’s Sagrantino month. Enjoy a glass of this interesting wine from a grape varietal that was nearly made extinct.

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

Antonelli San Marco

Arnaldo-Caprai

Perticaia

Scacciadiavoli

Tenuta Castlebuono

Cantina Le Cimate

Colle Del Saraceno, Francesco Botti

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.

Posted on March 14, 2013, in Wine Tastings. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. With Italy on everyone’s mind right now, these wines should be wildly successful. “Eataly” was even on the cover of the most recent Wine Spectator. Perfect timing Carole.

    Like

  2. Wow, had no idea it was on Wine Spectator. Thanks. Cool.

    Like

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