From: Umbria, Italy
Taste: Among the Bea family's offerings, the 2017 Paolo Bea Pagliaro Montefalco Sagrantino, simply known as Pagliaro. It boasts dark fruit aromas of black cherries, blackberries, and currants. This dry, full-bodied gem is structured with exquisitely ripened character, showcasing the best of Sagrantino. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate awarded it an impressive 94 points, noting its complexity with hints of blackcurrant, spice, earth, cola, and medicinal herb. Despite its substantial 15% alcohol content, Pagliaro is surprisingly supple and smooth, promising to evolve gracefully in the cellar until at least 2024.
Pairing: Paolo Bea has a mastery of taming the tannic Sagrantino grape, making it an ideal companion for robust and flavorful dishes. In the heart of Montefalco, where Sagrantino reigns supreme, it pairs beautifully with the bold flavors of Tartufo, Porchetta, and the savory cured meats of Norcia. Additionally, it shines alongside tomato-based pasta dishes, Porcini mushrooms, or a hearty Porchetta sandwich. With all that lovely Porchetta mentioned, we had to share a recipe for Porchetta-Spiced Roasted Potatoes below— these can accompany any large roast (beef, pork, turkey, chicken) and will grace your table in style.
Porchetta-Spiced Roasted Potatoes
By Kay Chun
About. The Bea family's roots in Montefalco trace back to the archives of the 16th century, an enduring presence in this picturesque Umbrian hill town. Their estate embodies the classic Italian Fattoria, where wine production coexists harmoniously with the cultivation of olives, fruits, vegetables, and even the raising of farm animals. Paolo Bea, the patriarch, leads the charge in crafting wines that are as untamed and vibrant as the Umbrian landscape itself. Assisting him are his two sons, Giuseppe, the vineyard caretaker, and Giampiero, who oversees the winemaking process and commercial aspects of the winery.
The 2017 Paolo Bea Pagliaro Montefalco Sagrantino hails from the Pagliaro vineyard, nestled at a lofty altitude of 1,300 feet. Here, the Sagrantino grape thrives under the Italian sun. The harvest takes place in the latter half of October, with the cuvaison extending for a substantial forty to fifty days. After this meticulous process, the wine is aged for a year in stainless steel, followed by two more years in large Slavonian oak barrels, and a final year in the bottle, all without filtration. This commitment to tradition yields an annual production of 15,000 to 20,000 bottles from the Pagliaro vineyard alone.
One of the distinguishing features of Paolo Bea's winemaking philosophy is their dedication to organic farming and the implementation of biodynamic practices. Copper-sulfate treatments, cover crops between the vines, and annual plowing are all part of their meticulous vineyard management. The family takes great pride in manually harvesting the grapes from their estate vines, ensuring the utmost care in the selection process.
In the cellar, Paolo Bea's winemaking is a built upon the ideology of minimal intervention. The grapes are destemmed, and fermentation occurs spontaneously in stainless-steel tanks without temperature control, a process that lasts anywhere from 35 to 60 days. This dedication to natural winemaking extends to their use of vertical basket presses, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, and an élevage period that ranges from 12 months to 5 years in stainless steel and large Slavonian oak botti. The wines rest on their fine lees until assemblage before bottling, and no fining or filtration is applied.
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