Son Of A Lesser God: Sparkling Wines From Almost Unknown Grapes: Sagrantino

27th June 2023

Son Of A Lesser God Sparkling Wines From Almost Unknown Grape Sagrantino

Do You Know The Sagrantino Grape?

You probably know this red variety for the powerful wines with burly tannins, deep color and fruity and spicy olfactory features.

It isn’t a pretty unknown grape but it is very interesting and unusual the evidence that a lot of wineries in Montefalco have started producing sparkling classic method with this grape!

Sagrantino is the most important native red grape of Umbria, the beautiful, green region in the center of Italy.

Plinio the Elder in the “Naturalis Historia” wrote about hirtiola grape of Bevagna and Montefalco territory; according to other sources, Sagrantino would have been imported by the monks from Asia Minor, returning from the Holy Land.

The name reminds the “holy” character of the wine: since the Medieval Age the passito version was used during the Holy mass by the priest and for celebrating Christmas and Easter.

Recently, Sagrantino got a very good reputation because of its high level of antioxidant agents such as polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins; the red wines can have a very good aging potential!

Scacciadiavoli winery is named after the location where an exorcist lived in the 14th Century: the legend says he drove away the devil from a possessed young girl offering her a cup of Sagrantino wine.

Prince Ugo Boncompagni Ludovisi founded the winery in 1884 as a modern enological complex; in 1954 Amilcare Panbuffetti, at the age of 71 years old, acquired the Scacciadiavoli estate in which he started working as an apprentice at the age of 14. In 2000 a massive renovation was carried out, with the aim of preserving all the original structural elements and introducing modern and technological equipment.

The winery produced not only very good red wines but also sparkling!

Scacciadiavoli Brut Rosé is a classic method from Sagrantino grapes; the manual harvest takes place in the first decade of September and the vinification in stainless steel tanks, then 48 months on the lees. In the glass a brilliant light salmon color, olfactory notes of floral, apple, citrus fruits and bread. Medium plus acidity, creamy mousse, high alcohol, very good quality at a very nice price too. Enjoy with finger foods for aperitif or with fish or sushi.

Scacciadiavoli Pas Dosé Special Edition is a Blanc De Noirs from native grapes (mostly Sagrantino), with 15% Chardonnay. Ten years on the lees, bright golden color, great complexity on the nose and very rich texture.

If you are a Pet Nat fan, you can’t miss Umbria rosato Igt Virgì, from a blend of native grapes of Montefalco (Sagrantino too): Eraldo Dentici dedicated this sparkling wine to his daughter Virginia. On the label, the image of the little feet of the baby! The grapes are harvested in 4 different days; gentle pressure and fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Fruity and refreshing, with a smooth tannin.

Eraldo is a very special man: he decided at the age of twenty to become a wine grower: he founded Cantina Rialto and in 2015 he chose to run organically in the vineyards and in the cellar.

The clayey soils, the high rate of humidity and the gentle winds create a particular microclimate, very important for healthy grapes! He is looking for decreasing sulphur and copper in the vineyards, with new biostimulant products.

He also produces another Pet Nat, Romeo, from Sangiovese grape, dedicated to his son Romeo. Very juicy and perfect for a picnic with friends!

Images Belong To Olga Sofia, Glass of Bubbly Was Granted Permission to Use Them.

Olga Sofia Schiaffino

Winelover, Sommelier, wine blogger WSET Level 3 passed with distinction. Sparkling wine addict.