History

The typical cultivation area includes the municipality of Montefalco, part of the territory of the municipalities of Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell'Umbria, all in the province of Perugia.

From Origins to the Middle Ages

You cannot talk about Umbria and Montefalco today without mentioning Sagrantino.
A very old vine that produces red grapes with exceptional characteristics for both long ageing wines and passito wines.
Its origins even seem to date back to Roman times. Pliny the Elder, in his Naturalis Historia, mentions the Itriola or Irciola vine, which was peculiar to 'Umbria of Bevagna' and the Piceno area; in 1953, the archaeologist Carlo Pietrangeli hypothesised the combination of Itriola with Sagrantina grapes, bearing in mind that the Montefalco territory was part of the municipality of Bevagna.
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According to some, Sagrantino arrived in Umbria, particularly in the Montefalco area, thanks to Franciscan monks from Asia Minor. According to others, however, it was spread in the area in the Middle Ages by Byzantine monks arriving from Greece.
However, it was during the Middle Ages, following the growing importance of wine in religious communities and with the practice of viticulture becoming increasingly widespread in convents and the countryside, thanks to the efforts of monks and friars, that the role and importance of the vine became more and more affirmed, so much so that municipal accounting records testify to Montefalco wine being sent as gifts to cardinals and pontiffs.
Part of its 'sacred' name could, therefore, derive precisely from these religious roots, from the fact that it was a mass wine or, more simply, a sacristy or sacristy wine.
In the Middle Ages, vineyards were one of the hinges around which people and communities organised their lives. This is demonstrated by the church of San Bartolomeo, one of the oldest parishes in Montefalco, first documented in 1219, which features a single lancet window in the outer apse wall decorated with vine shoots and bunches and other typical medieval motifs.
This is demonstrated by the statuary legislation, which dedicates special attention to vines and grapes. In the Historical Archives of Montefalco, there are numerous documents that testify to the constant care that "[...] the vine-dressers reserved for the field planted with vines" since 1200.

Its origins seem to date back to Roman times

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The Renaissance

In 1451, the famous Florentine painter Benozzo Gozzoli, called by the Franciscans to fresco the apse of their church, now the Civic Museum of Montefalco, perhaps alluded to Sagrantino, painting the bottle of red wine on the table set by Cavaliere da Celano as part of the pictorial cycle of the 'History of the Life of Saint Francis'.
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In 1451, the famous Florentine painter Benozzo Gozzoli, called by the Franciscans to fresco the apse of their church, now the Civic Museum of Montefalco, perhaps alluded to Sagrantino, painting the bottle of red wine on the table set by Cavaliere da Celano as part of the pictorial cycle of the 'History of the Life of Saint Francis'.
Medium-sweet grapes and robust berries that are unlikely to rot are the innate qualities of Sagrantino. This vine has a fairly low vigour and prefers medium-textured, siliceous-clayey soils with southern exposure, and generally gives rather irregular yields.
While it is currently vinified mainly for the production of dry wines, it seems that in ancient times tradition preferred a sweet type, obtained by drying the grapes on wooden racks. Whether dry or passito, according to the Disciplinary Regulations, it must be aged for at least thirty-six months, of which, for the dry, at least twelve in wooden barrels.
The Sagrantino regulations are among the oldest: as early as the 14th century, documents testify to the existence of rules to protect and regulate the cultivation, harvest and production of the grapes. In 1540, there is news of a municipal ordinance in Montefalco that established the date of the grape harvest.
During the Renaissance period, the wine of Montefalco was already well-known and appreciated, so much so that in 1565 Cipriano Piccolpasso, superintendent of the fortress of Perugia, in his report on the Papal State for the Pope, specifically dedicated to the cities and territories subject to the government of Perugia, wrote: "[...] Montefalco, set on a hill with a beautiful view, is adorned with beautiful and good vineyards, cultivated land and great fruit, makes fine wines [...]". We can safely say that Sagrantino is at least over four hundred years old.
One of the oldest records of the Sagrantino grape, kept in a notebook by the Assisian notary Giovan Maria Nuti, dates back to 1598 and is currently kept in the Notarial Archives of Assisi. The notary refers to the custom, widespread in Foligno, of mixing Sagrantino with musts to give them aroma and flavour.
The Itriola grape is also mentioned in De naturali vinorum historia, de vinis Italiae e de convivis antiquorum, a fundamental work of Renaissance Italian oenological history, published in 1595 by Andrea Bacci, who defines it as particularly suitable for the production of Moscatelli. The Marche doctor and naturalist also mentions the assiduous presence of this grape in the areas of Bevagna, Narni and Amelia.
The municipal statutes, in their intention to regulate every aspect of town life, also dealt with the protection and defence of vines and grapes through a detailed series of prohibitions and sanctions, so much so that in 1622, Cardinal Boncompagni, legate of Perugia, aggravated the sanctions already provided for in the statute, even providing for "[...] the penalty of the gallows if any person cut the grape vine [...]".

Ampelographic characteristics of the vine

Sprout apex fan-shaped, whitish green, with carminate edges. Adult leaf medium, trilobed sometimes quinquelobed; U-shaped petiolar sinus; upper page vesicular or bullous; lower page has downy-type tomentosity. Nerves bristly, medium to broadly toothed, narrow base, margins slightly convex. Cluster: medium-small, cylindrical-conical, winged, sometimes sparse due to run-off. Berry small with medium to very pruinose skin, black in colour, medium thick, firm.
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Phenology
Sprouting: medium
Flowering: early
Flooding: medium 
Ripening: medium-late

 

Agronomic skills
Vegetation habit: semi-erect
Physiological aspects: Slight dripping, sensitive to magnesium deficiency
Vigour : Low
Potential bud fertility: Average
Basal bud fertility: Average

Environmental and cultivation requirements
In its cultivation area it expresses itself well in all soils, even in deep and fresh ones, obviously producing wines with different characteristics but nevertheless of excellent quality. In clay-limestone soils it reaches optimum levels of physiological ripeness, optimising the content of polyphenolic substances. It fears magnesium deficiency or excesses of potassium. Prefers compact forms of cultivation with high or very high density (spurred cordon and guyot). On traditional forms of cultivation it produces excessively and delays ripening. Can give disaffinity phenomena if grafted onto certain 420A clones.

Sensitivity to disease and adversity
High resistance to winter and spring cold, medium tolerance to powdery mildew and rot (acid rot and botrytis), poor to downy mildew, particularly on leaves.

Oenological skills
Chemical characteristics of grapes
Sugar content ┬░Babo : 20-24 
pH : 3.2-3.4 
Total acidity g/L : 5.0-7.0 
Total anthocyanins mg/kg: 1000-1400 
Total polyphenols mg/kg: 4500-5000 
Total polyphenols perc.skins/grapes: 70/30

Oenological use and wine characteristics
In purity it produces Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, blended with other vines it gives rise to Montefalco Rosso DOC. The wine produced is a very intense ruby red colour with violet reflections; the aroma is very persistent on the nose with typical hints of blackberry, plum and leather that perfectly combine with the vanilla provided by the wood. The taste is powerful, soft and velvety. Sagrantino is a wine for long ageing, at least 10-15 years. It can also be used as a dessert wine, after drying the grapes.

History

The typical cultivation area includes the municipality of Montefalco, part of the territory of the municipalities of Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell'Umbria, all in the province of Perugia.

Its origins seem to date back to Roman times

discover

The typical cultivation area includes the municipality of Montefalco, part of the territory of the municipalities of Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell'Umbria, all in the province of Perugia.

From Origins to the Middle Ages

Ampelographic characteristics of the vine

Sprout apex fan-shaped, whitish green, with carminate edges. Adult leaf medium, trilobed sometimes quinquelobed; U-shaped petiolar sinus; upper page vesicular or bullous; lower page has downy-type tomentosity. Nerves bristly, medium to broadly toothed, narrow base, margins slightly convex. Cluster: medium-small, cylindrical-conical, winged, sometimes sparse due to run-off. Berry small with medium to very pruinose skin, black in colour, medium thick, firm.
read more

Phenology
Sprouting: medium
Flowering: early
Flooding: medium 
Ripening: medium-late

 

Agronomic skills
Vegetation habit: semi-erect
Physiological aspects: Slight dripping, sensitive to magnesium deficiency
Vigour : Low
Potential bud fertility: Average
Basal bud fertility: Average

Environmental and cultivation requirements
In its cultivation area it expresses itself well in all soils, even in deep and fresh ones, obviously producing wines with different characteristics but nevertheless of excellent quality. In clay-limestone soils it reaches optimum levels of physiological ripeness, optimising the content of polyphenolic substances. It fears magnesium deficiency or excesses of potassium. Prefers compact forms of cultivation with high or very high density (spurred cordon and guyot). On traditional forms of cultivation it produces excessively and delays ripening. Can give disaffinity phenomena if grafted onto certain 420A clones.

Sensitivity to disease and adversity
High resistance to winter and spring cold, medium tolerance to powdery mildew and rot (acid rot and botrytis), poor to downy mildew, particularly on leaves.

Oenological skills
Chemical characteristics of grapes
Sugar content ┬░Babo : 20-24 
pH : 3.2-3.4 
Total acidity g/L : 5.0-7.0 
Total anthocyanins mg/kg: 1000-1400 
Total polyphenols mg/kg: 4500-5000 
Total polyphenols perc.skins/grapes: 70/30

Oenological use and wine characteristics
In purity it produces Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, blended with other vines it gives rise to Montefalco Rosso DOC. The wine produced is a very intense ruby red colour with violet reflections; the aroma is very persistent on the nose with typical hints of blackberry, plum and leather that perfectly combine with the vanilla provided by the wood. The taste is powerful, soft and velvety. Sagrantino is a wine for long ageing, at least 10-15 years. It can also be used as a dessert wine, after drying the grapes.
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