Monday, June 23, 2014

Report from ... Montefalco: a Journey of Sagrantino, Day 1 - June 22, 2014

This is a quick little jaunt (3 days) into the heart of the Umbria region, where 3 Canadians (Konrad Ejbich, Roberto Staiano and myself are about to discover the region of Montefalco and the wines made from the Sagrantino grape.

Day 1 was fairly relaxed.  We arrived early afternoon to Rome, then took a 2 hour car ride (I'll fully admit I slept through most of it) to Montefalco, where we arrived at Villa Pambuffetti and were greeted by Mauro, son-in-law of the owner.  Here we had or first tasting of both Sagrantino wine and Montefalco-hospitality.

Arrival at Villa Pambuffetti
The long view of our homebase for the next three nights

Looking through the surrounding gardens
And yet another long view down the pathway;
I have to say the word "wow" passed my lips s few times by now
And it only gets better the closer you get:
an oasis in the heart of Montefalco

This is the patio where we will soon be having dinner
And this is the lobby area ...
there's a rustic charm and tranquility that surrounds the place
Mauro introduces us to our first (of many to come) bottle of Montefalco Sagrantino

Tabarrini 2003 Montefalco Sagrantino - Colle Grimaldesco
Plummy, rich, chalky, with a big 15% alcohol but shows none of it.
Smells are of raisinated fruit, but that's what you get from an older wine in a
hot vintage; this was a great introduction to the region as the wine was very well balanced.
Konrad finds it lip-smackingly good

Mauro serves it to us with fresh Pecorino cheese and an oninon confit
We are then presented with a delicious house-picked and made olive oil ...
the aromas here are out of this world
I then put it all together: bread, olive oil, Pecorino, onion confit ...
and "the taste was pure gastronomic heaven" - Konrad Ejbich
Konrad and Roberto relax while gazing our over the countryside -
just before we move into the front patio area for dinner
Where we are presented with our second bottle of Sagrantino ...
this one's a little sharper around the edges, and aggressive with acidity and tannins
but it smooths out quite well and seems a fine dinner wine
Potatoes souffle with saffron sauce

Gnochetti with cherry tomatoes, rucola (arugula) and almonds
Konrad and Roberto can't wait to dig it
Steak dinner, tender and juicy - pairs really well with the wine
Ending with Sagrantino Gelato ...
base is mocha/coffee with Sagrantino sauce

That ends the look at day one ... tomorrow we are on the road at three different wineries for more food and wine - so far I am very impressed with the older vintages (we've had two so far if you're keeping count) and can't wait to start tasting what the producers have in store for us.

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