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Wine of the Week – Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso 2015-$25

Dwight Casimere | 5/8/2018, 1:25 p.m.
Bordering on Tuscany and right above Rome is the lesser-known and lesser-traveled region of Umbria. It’s Italy's best kept secret ...
Bordering on Tuscany and right above Rome is the lesser-known and lesser-traveled region of Umbria. Submitted photo

By Dwight Casimere –wine@thetimesweekly.com

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

and tradition.

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.