Sagrantino wine and a perfect food pairing

Montefalco –  piazza by night – Christmas 2013

In this blog it’s not unusual ending or beginning a new year with a post on…wine!

First of all, 2014 in Umbria started with great news: the American wine magazine Wine Enthusiast has included our region among the 10 best wine travel destinations 2014, together with well known areas like Sonoma, Barossa Valley, Languedoc, just for example.
Finally an important recognition for a little, but great region whose wine producers have centered their work and efforts only in making quality, high level wines for many years.

Secondly, we’d like informing you all about our last exciting wine and food experience that we had in the last days of 2013 in the beautiful scenery of Montefalco adorned for Christmas.


Merry Sagrantino 2013

The occasion came from an invitation by Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco, association of wine makers of Montefalco wine area, during the event Merry Sagrantino, organized by Consorzio for the promotion of the wines and food from the area.

It’s not a secret that I love wine tasting and – although I know this area and its wineries, let’s say… “quite” well, these events are always an opportunity to discover new wineries, wines and to learn more, especially on wine/food pairing.

The amazing local food

Guided by a collegue sommelier, we started with a Montefalco Bianco DOC, a blend of Trebbiano Spoletino, Grechetto and Malvasia, fresh and fruity, that we paired with a tasty ciauscolo, a kind of soft salame – originally from Le Marche region – spread on a slice of unsalty Umbrian bread.
Then, we moved to a Montefalco Rosso DOC, Sagrantino’s “little brother”, deep ruby red with its typical aromas of cherry, red fruits and hints of spices, in paring with an organic salame. An elegant Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC (riserva means that the wine has been aged at least one year longer than the basic one), was our third wine, that we tried with coppa, a special cured meat made by the parts of the pork not used for salame and prosciutto. All these fantastic cold cuts were offered by Gastronomia Santa Croce, Foligno.

The Fab Five

Extremely happy of this first part of the “lesson”, we went on tasting a Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2007 in its dry version (according to the last disciplinare, rules on production, this wine needs 37 months of aging period to be released), full-bodied and dark ruby red, with its aromas of ripe blackberries and blueberries, hints of spices and pleasant tannins. Its perfect companion was a mature pecorino cheese.
All the food/wine matches went very well with this typical Umbrian food products.

Regarding wine and food pairing, infact, one of the first rule that you learn at the wine school is:  “when you are afraid of making a mistake in wine and food pairing, choose always a dish or a speciality from the region the wine comes from“.
Therefore, I was really very interested in going on and trying an usual pairing I’ve never experienced before: Lumache di Cantalupo, specifically a snail sauce, yes, s.n.a.i.l.s, from Cantalupo.

Salsa di Lumache from Cantalupo

Cantalupo is a small village, under the municipality of Bevagna, one of the five towns in the wine district of Montefalco DOC-DOCG.
This village is a famous for its typical dishes prepared with lumache.
Each August infact there’s also a sagra, a food festival, when the local people, i Cantalupesi, celebrate their very special dishes.

The warm snail sauce, like a ragù, was spread on a slice of bread, in a sort of bruschetta, and it was unbelievable. The taste of the snails is similar to the one of the sea-food, but more intense and the sauce by tomato and vegetables from the orto, house garden, simply reminded me those old flavours that only a nonna could make.


Umbrian bread with warm Salsa di Lumache

We also tried the three red wines we had before with the salsa di lumache and all of them were perfect. Even Sagrantino 2007 was in a very good balance, especially when the sauce was warmer and could release all its flavours.

Of course, the wine tasting ended with a Montefalco Sagrantino Passito DOCG (sweet) with its charming notes of bluberries, blackberry jam and berries in alcohol. The wine was matched with two chocolates from an artisan factory, Perugia.

Although I am not a big fan of Sagrantino Passito with chocolate (I’d rather prefer it with cookies and traditional cakes, like blackberry jam crostata) the pairing was very pleasant, especially with the first one: a white cioccolata with caramel.

Artisan Chocolate, Perugia

Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco organizes many events to promote the wines and typical products of its wine area all year round.
The most famous and important one is Enologica Montefalco, wine festival, taking place in the third week of September. The event includes wine tasting, guided visits, workshops and the unforgettable Festa della Vendemmia in Montefalco main piazza.
Definitely not to be missed!

And…if you are interested in discovering more on Montefalco and Umbrian wines and the secrets of wine pairing…well…take a wine tour with us!


See you soon in Umbria!

Web resources:
Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco
Enologica Montefalco
Lumache di Cantalupo – on line shop
Umbria among the 10 Best Wine Travel Destination 2014 on Wine Enthusiast Magazine