Paolo Bea, Sagrantino, Cerrete, Montefalco, Umbria Italy 2011
It is difficult to believe that Montefalco Sagrantino can get any more profound than Bea’s beloved “Pagliaro,” but indeed it can. The family has owned a parcel in Cerrete, the highest-altitude vineyard in Montefalco, for some time, but it wasn’t until the 2007 vintage that Giampiero deemed the vines old enough to do justice to the cru’s potential. With its poor, mineral-rich soils and its acidity-preserving altitude (450 to 500 meters), Cerrete yields a wine not more powerful than “Pagliaro” — in fact, it comes across as lighter on its feet — but with greater nuance, as if the settings on a microscope were dialed up to render even more detail.
In acknowledgment of its stature, Giampiero gives it an additional year in large Slavonian oak, making for an astonishing five-year élevage before the requisite long resting period in Bea’s dark, cool bottle cellar. The 2011 is a masterpiece, more flamboyant and layered than the relatively restrained 2010, yet maintaining the cru’s signature poise. With a soaring nose of garrigue, deep red fruits, and warm stones, it displays an incredible integration of its elements on the palate, which is ultra-concentrated yet elegant. This should age remarkably.
Producer: Paolo Bea