By Dwight Casimere –firstname.lastname@example.org
Bordering on Tuscany and right above Rome is the lesser-known and
lesser-traveled region of Umbria. It’s Italy's best kept secret and its
been hiding all along in plain sight! Home to some of the country’s most delightful, yet undervalued wines, the region is starting to get some respect thanks to its flagship grape Sagrantino.
Although it’s been around for centuries, the origins of Sagrantino are
shrouded in mystery. Some say it gets its name from the fact that it was
believed to have been used to make sacramental wine by the monks. Thick
skinned and jam packed with flavors of blackberries and ripe blueberries
and dark red plums, the grape has its own smoky hints of oak and spice,
which is why local wine law requires that it must not be released before 30
months of aging. Only a few growers produce Sagrantino, most of them
located in and around the town of Montefalco.
Arnaldo Caprai is the undisputed king of Sagrantino. A successful textile
entrepreneur, he began the winery in 1971 with the purchase of 45 acres in
Montefalco with the expressed purpose of resurrecting the Sagrantino grape
to its original glory. Through diligent research and the judicious use of
both ancient and modern techniques, has produced wines of elegance and
distinction that reflect the richness and complexity of Montefalco culture
A case in point is Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso 2015 ($25), a
food-friendly blend of Sangiovese, Italy's premiere grape, which gives it
bright, fresh fruit flavors, and Sagrantino, which gives it structure and
warmth. A stellar combination of depth and freshness, richness and
elemental delight, this is a wine that "plays well" with a variety of dishes, from pasta and or vegetables for those who don’t prefer meet to grilled meats and vegetables.
Got a hankering for ribs? Ask your butcher to thin slice some Short Ribs
into a relatively new cut called Flanken. Marinated overnight in herbs and
olive oil, they cook up in a minutes on a hot grill, whereas normal short
ribs take hours to cook in a slow cooker. Pair with asparagus brushed with
garlic infused olive oil and turned quickly on the grill and add a side salad of arugula and red onions with balsamic vinaigrette, and you have a wonderful summertime meal.