When considering the most soulful and singular wines in Italy Paolo Bea has to be one of the first names that comes to mind. The family's roots in Umbria's Montefalco region stretch back to the 16th century. The eco system on the 15 hectare estate is a balance between vines, livestock, olives, fruits and vegetables. Everything raised on this property is consumed by the family and as you can imagine the importance placed on natural farming methods is strict. Five of the fifteen hectares here are devoted to vines, and though the hearty and tannic benchmark Sagrantino variety is the focus throughout Montefalco, today we take a close look at the most approachable wine from the estate, the San Valentino.

San Valentino is a wildly unique blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Montepulciano from a clay-dominant single vineyard at 1,300 feet. Wines from Umbria often stand out for extremely forward fruit personality - the high elevation here adds a dimension of snap and buoyancy that makes this one of the world's most hedonistic, yet refreshing wines.

Harvest of these 50-year-old vines usually occurs at the conclusion of October where phenolic ripeness is perfectly achieved for all three varieties. The grapes are fermented in the traditional manner spending 30+ days macerating on the skins. The wine is then aged for three years in stainless steel, and then one year in bottle prior to release. 

The three varieties complement each other magically here. Sangiovese providing high toned red fruit notes with terrific acidity. The combination of Sagrantino and Montepulciano provide inky blue and black fruits with firm structure. In the end sweet cherries, fig, tobacco, dried flowers, and hints of charcoal meld together beautifully here in one of the most thrilling vintages to date. Throughout Italy 2010 has proven to give us wines with great ripeness and acidity, classically structured with  the most supreme clarity of place.

San Valentino is allocated in small quantities each year. We worked to get as much as we possibly could, as the 2010 vintage is the most exciting release in a very long time.

2010 Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso
$39 per bottle.

Quantities are very limited and orders will be confirmed based upon time of request.

Also available:

1998 Bea, Paolo Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco 
$199 per bottle.

2001 Bea, Paolo Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco
$179 per bottle.

2007 Bea, Paolo Sagrantino di Montefalco Cerrete
$124 per bottle.

2008 Bea, Paolo Sagrantino di Montefalco Pagliaro
$79 per bottle.

2009 Bea, Paolo Rosso de Véo (Sagrantino)
$48 per bottle