On the Road with the Grape Guy07 Nov 2020
- Category: On the Road with the Grape Guy
(February 22, 2020) … My first evening in Umbria was spent with the Goretti sisters, Giulia and Sarah, with whom I had previously met the year before and was so impressed with their wines that I attempted to put them in touch with an agent in Ontario / Canada. I do not believe their wines are not here yet, but they are certainly working on it (I definitely need to be updated on how that’s going). The sisters are outgoing, personable and passionate about their wines. The property is on fringe of the Sagrantino area (it was a good 30-minute ride to get there). On another note, their mother is an amazing cook who has published a cookbook and teaches cooking classes at the estate … “Dinner” was simple but simply delicious, nibbles and finger foods, put together by mama - then we got to the wines.
2018 Grechetto … The nose is fresh with peaches and lemons while the palate balances sweet white fruit with acidity: citrus, under-ripe pineapple, lemon drop and even a hint of floral … fresh, lively and something I could have sipped on all night long (or better yet, on their terrace through the afternoon). Rating: ****
2016 Il Maggio, Grechetto … This is the more “serious” version of Grechetto, having spent six months in medium-toast French oak (where it is also fermented). The barrel regime is 50% new and 50% one-year-old … the acidity is still present, helping to balance the vanilla and apple notes while lemon zest and other citrus peels kick around on the finish. Even with the new oak there is still a freshness factor to this wine. Rating: *** ½
Then came the inevitable look at Sagrantino – a four vintage vertical flight that incorporated 2010 / 2012 / 2013 and 2014 … the interesting part is that midway through the flight there was a change in style to the wines – I was informed after all the tasting was done that a new winemaker had come on board for the 2013 vintage, this new style added elegance to these usually powerful wines:
Montefalco Sagrantino …
2010 … Red and black fruit combined on both the nose and palate with some vanilla, smoke and still very rugged tannins.
2012 … This younger Sagrantino had a more early-drinking profile than the 2010 – the fruit was rich and red while the tannins had a pleasant softness.
2013 … The switch in winemaker probably attributes to the silkiness of the tannins; the dark fruit and cocoa notes come to the fore while showing off an elegance (with power, the iron fist in a velvet glove analogy comes to mind here.
2014… A tough vintage, but one that was able to add a dimension of red fruit to a dark fruit core, and when compared with other years this Sagrantino came across a little lean and thin – but that could be mistaken for the “elegant” note discussed in the previous vintage – time will tell with this wine, but to me it seems more a drink-sooner than later kind of wine.
Now stay with me if you’ve heard this before … and if you are a follower of my International Video Series you might have … but the L’Arringtore, that I am about to introduce you to, is a wine I wish was always available to me and if you have not watched me wax poetic about it you can find it here – otherwise let me describe it to you in words below:
2015 L'Arringatore … The first vintage of this wine was back in 1991 and the name means “the orator” or “the speaker” … it comes from the notion that wine is a conversation starter. It’s a special wine made from 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo (a grape native to central Italy) of which only three-hectares are grown by Goretti. This wine truly has character: soft and round yet spicy with dark fruit, vanilla, dark cherry, chocolate and good tannin structure … it’s a wine worth talking about, and talking over. Sadly, it is sold primarily in Umbria, but also has a following in Japan, because of its name, which sounds similar to “Arigato” (“thank you” in Japanese) … by the end of our evening the finish leaned a little more on the sweet red fruit side but it was still a delicious bottle. I highly recommend this wine to anyone who can get their hands on it. Rating: ****+