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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightItaly

A Stylish Red

Apr 20, 2011
A Stylish Red
This Italian grape delivers serious power and complexity at a low price.

montefalco_rosso_no_yearSitting right in the center of Italy is the town of Montefalco, in Umbria. There's plenty of wine history here, but because this region doesn't carry the cachet of a Tuscany or a Piedmont or even a Sicily, you can count on two things: Good-tasting wine and prices that aren't inflated.

The main grape in this area is Sagrantino, which can make for a pretty tough, tannic red wine. But in capable hands or when mellowed out with varieties such as Sangiovese, Merlot or Montepulciano in the blend, a Montefalco Rosso can pack all the elements of a great Italian red: sour cherry aromas and flavors, leather and spice aromas, firm but smooth tannins and bright acidity for a long finish.

We recently tasted the Montefalco Rosso 2008 made by the Fongoli winery. You should be able to find the wine for under $20--and because of those big tannins, be sure to pour this one in a decanter or even uncork the bottle a day before you plan to drink it. Some of the best wines in the world require this sort of treatment (or several years of aging in the bottle). This one brings it for less than a Jackson.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the two other Fongoli wines we tasted: The Rosso Riserva 2006 ($30) and the 100% Sagrantino 2006 Vino Secco ($40), both as delicious as they are age-worthy. But experiment with any entry-level Montefalco Rosso, and you're likely to be plenty pleased.

What's your favorite Italian red wine? Share your pick below.

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