The Winning Wines of Castello di Montegiove

 

Castello di Montegiove Winery:

One of the major advantages for a wine journalist in attending international wine conference, such as ProWein in Dusseldorf or VinItaly in Verona, is the ability to conveniently sample a panoply of wines that you might not otherwise be able to access on a timely basis. The same holds true for the ability to talk one-on-one with a number of owners or winemakers in one convenient location. While it’s not quite the same as an onsite interview with a winemaker it has the advantage of efficiency and reduced travel expenses.

A good example is Castello di Montegiove, an estate and winery located in the western part of Italy’s Umbria region. I’ve followed them for over a year but couldn’t find time in my travel schedule to pay them an actual visit. So I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Montegiove’s manager and winemaker Lorenzo Misciattelli and his charming wife, Rikke, at VinItaly recently to talk about the winery and its operations as well as taste its wines.

By way of background, the Castello di Montegiove winery is located in a magnificent castle after which the winery is named. Founded in the 13th century the castle is perched on the crest of a hill a little east of the hamlet of Montegabbione with a commanding view of the Umbrian countryside. Despite its long and turbulent history the Castello and its surrounding walls are virtually intact, one of the best extant examples of medieval fortresses in central Italy. The Misciattelli family has owned the castle since the late 1700’s. As indicated, I haven’t yet visited the winery but photos of the estate look absolutely stunning.

The Castello di Montegiove winery is not a large-scale operation. Rather, it is a family-run enterprise, a “boutique” winery that produces a small number of red DOC and IGT wines from selected Umbrian and Tuscan varieties such as Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Canaiolo Nero and a few “international” varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. All the wines come from grapes grown on the estate’s vineyards. Large sections of Montegiove’s vineyards have been replanted in recent years with an emphasis on quality clones and the winery takes a progressive approach in its vineyard management practices.

I had the opportunity to sample the estate’s entire wine portfolio, five wines in all. The reviews below are listed in the order in which the wines were sampled.

Line-up of Castello dei Montegiove wines

 

The Wines:

“Ro.Sa.To.” Umbria Rosato IGT 2016

This unusual blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero and Sagrantino grapes results in a well-rounded, salmon-colored rosé with a tantalizing combination of fruit and acidity. Ro.Sa.To.’s crisp acidity combined with its strawberry and ripe raspberry flavor profile make for a very elegant and refreshing rosé perfect for summer sipping.

“Gatto Gatto” Orvietano Rosso DOC 2012

Gatto Gatto is produced from a blend of traditional Umbrian varieties, Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero, with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a smooth, polished medium-weight wine with enticing floral aromas, a lively freshness and a generous helping of appealing red fruit flavors. The wine will pair well with a variety of dishes ranging from pasta with ragu or a Pizza Margherita to most grilled pork, chicken or beef dishes.

“Mi.Mo.So.” Orvietano Rosso DOC 2010

The Mi.Mo.So.is an intriguing blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Montepulciano. Each variety is vinified separately and spends 12 months ageing in a combination of barrique and oak casks. The wines are blended, bottled and then aged an additional 12 months before release. The resulting wine has a deep garnet red color with a violet edge. It is round, clean and elegant. There are no rough edges here, just dark fruit and wild berry flavors supported by moderate acidity and soft tannins interlaced with a fine thread of sweetness due to the wood ageing. It has a long and persistent finish highlighted by some intriguing spice notes.

“Elicius” Umbria Rosso IGT 2010

This wine is a blend of 70 percent Montepulciano and 30 percent Sagrantino. The varieties are vinified and aged separately. After ageing in a combination of barriques and large casks for 18 months the wines are blended, then bottled and aged an additional 18 months prior to release. Montepulciano’s soft fruit flavors mingle well with the more assertive earthy and spicy flavors of Sagrantino. The wine’s black cherry and ripe blackberry flavors are interlaced with some appealing spicy, rustic notes and prominent but sweet tannins. It’s a winning match for those who love bold, generous wines.

“T.” Umbria Rosso, IGT 2009

“T.” is the estate’s flagship wine and is made exclusively of Sagrantino grapes from the estate’s best vineyards. The grapes are softly pressed, fermented and then aged in a combination of barriques and large casks for two years and spend another two years in the bottle prior to release. Sagrantino wines are all about intensity and energy and there’s no shortage of that here. “T.” is dark and dense with a prominent personality. It is big and rich with dark plum and dried berry flavors complemented by hearty but not overpowering tannins. It is a truly outstanding wine that has the stuffing to age gracefully for another decade or more, that is if you can resist the temptation.

 

©Richard Marcis
July 8, 2017

For other reviews of award-winning Italian wines and producers see Italian Wine Reviews.

 

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