Sagrantino is a red wine grape varietal with its origins in the Umbria region of central Italy. Found in the province of Perugia - around the commune of Montefalco, where some of that region's most distinctive and exciting red wines are made.
Planted predominantly around the village of Montefalco and surrounding areas, there are a dozen or so producers that work with this varietal, with approximately 300 ha planted - (950 ha in total across Italy). With such small production, the wine is not widely known outside of Italy, even though it was granted DOCG status in 1992. The origins of Sagrantino are still a little vague, but what is known - it was primarily used for dessert wines, with the grapes being dried in the 'passito' style, much like a 'Recioto di Valpolicella'.

 

At some point in time, the wines started to be crafted into a dry style, and this is how they are predominantly produced today.
The Sagrantino grape is one of the most tannic varietals in the world, and creates wines that are inky purple with an almost-black centre. Sagrantino has higher tannin levels than almost any other varietals, including Nebbiolo. Thus a well made Sagrantino has excellent aging potential; indeed, given its firm tannins, Sagrantino demands a good length of time in the bottle before it should be opened. The bouquet showcases dark, rich berries and fruits with hints of plum, spices, cinnamon, and earthy undertones.
The Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG requires 100% Sagrantino grapes to be used, with a required 37 months aging before release, of which at least 12 months are in oak barrels and 4 months in bottle. Sagrantino has as excellent ageing ability.
Several wineries do produce a more approachable style of 'Montefalco'  - these usually contain only about 10-15% Sagrantino and up to 70% Sangiovese with the remainder being Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, though some winemakers also use Colorino in the blend. A dynamic and exciting wine to look out for on your travels, best enjoyed with well flavoured red meat dishes and rich, hard cheeses - enjoy.