• Montefalco Mastery: Paolo Bea 2011 First Look!

    Montefalco Mastery: Paolo Bea 2011 First Look!

    When considering the most soulful and beautifully unique wines in Italy the name Paolo Bea always leads the discussion. The family roots in Umbria's Montefalco region stretch back to the 16th century on this property, now a diverse eco system of livestock, vegetables, and fruits, with only five of the fifteen hectares devoted to vines. The hearty Sagrantino variety is the focus throughout Montefalco and represents Bea's benchmark cuvées, but the Sangiovese-dominant San Valentino and Piparello, as well as the Lapideus Trebbiano should not be missed! 

    Lapideus Umbria Bianco is comprised of 80-yr-old Trebbiano vines and is being released by Paolo Bea for the first time here with the 2014 vintage. The amber hue comes from 35 days in which the Trebbiano juice spends on its skins. The cool microclimate here brings racy and crisp qualities that juxtapose brilliantly with the heady apricot, ginger, and clove notes coming from this white's skin contact maceration. 12% alcohol keeps this layered Trebbiano extremely fresh.

    San Valentino is an intriguing blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Montepulciano from a clay-dominant single vineyard at 1,300 feet. With Umbria's fruit forward personality, the high elevation here adds a dimension of lift that makes this one of the world's most hedonistic, yet refreshing wines. From 50-yr-old vines.

    Piparello is a single vineyard set at 1,300 feet comprised of clay and gravel. The blend here is 60% Sangiovese, 25% Montepulciano, and 15% Sagrantino. The maceration can last up to 50 days on the skins, and then the wines are sent to stainless steel for one year, and to large oak barrels for two years prior to release.

    Rosso de Veo is comprised solely of Sagrantino vines from the Cerrete vineyard which sits at the highest point in all of Montefalco at 1,500 feet. Clay and limestone comprise the soil here. 2005 was the first vintage of Rosso de Veo, and has since been adored for its more approachable and fruit forward nature, as compared to the Pagliaro. Fermentation and aging follows the same protocol as Piparello.

    Pagliaro is all planted to Sagrantin, also perched at 1,300 feet. The grapes see harvest toward the end of October and spend up to 50 days on their skins for maceration. The fermented wine is aged for one year in stainless steel, then two years in large Slavonian botti, and finally one more year in bottle. Many of the notes from the Rosso de Veo are found here, but there's a darker and more wild expression of fruit and earth. Sagrantino is notorious for its firm tannins, but Bea's examples always show softer and more approachable tones than is the Montefalco norm.

    2014 Paolo Bea Lapideus Umbria Bianco 
    $45 per bottle.

    2010 Paolo Bea San Valentino Rosso
    $54 per bottle.

    2011 Paolo Bea Rosso de Veo Umbria Rosso
    $66 per bottle.

    2011 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso Riserva Vigneto Piparello 
    $77 per bottle.

    2011 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Vigneto Pagliaro
    $97 per bottle.

    2011 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Vigneto Pagliaro 1.5L
    $238 per bottle.

    2011 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Vigneto Pagliaro 3L
    $454 per bottle.


    Also available:
    6x 2010 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Vigneto Pagliaro
    $109 per bottle.
    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Montefalco Mastery: Paolo Bea 2010 Pagliaro & San Valentino

    Montefalco Mastery: Paolo Bea 2010 Pagliaro & San Valentino

    When considering the most soulful and beautifully unique wines in Italy the name Paolo Bea always leads the discussion. The family roots in Umbria's Montefalco region stretch back to the 16th century on this property, now a diverse eco system of livestock, vegetables, and fruits, with only five of the fifteen hectares devoted to vines. The hearty Sagrantino variety is the focus throughout Montefalco and represents Bea's benchmark cuvées, but the Sangiovese-dominant San Valentino is in equal demand. Obviously, 2010 is a vintage I've anxiously awaited. The overt ripeness annually seen at this estate has that shimmering brightness of fruit and element of snappy tension that's so very rare.

    San Valentino is an intriguing blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Montepulciano from a clay-dominant single vineyard at 1,300 feet. With Umbria's fruit forward personality, the high elevation here adds a dimension of lift that makes this one of the world's most hedonistic, yet refreshing wines. In 2010 this fresh streak is taken to the max.

    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. Notes of sweet cherries, fig, tobacco, dried flowers, and hints of charcoal always stand out to me.

    Pagliaro is a Sagrantino-planted site also perched at 1,300 feet. The grapes see harvest toward the end of October and spend up to 50 days on their skins for maceration. The fermented wine is aged for one year in stainless steel, then two years in large Slavonian botti, and finally one more year in bottle. Many of the notes from the San Valentino are found here, but there's a darker and more feral expression of fruit and earth. Sagrantino is notorious for its firm tannins, but Bea's examples always show softer and more approachable tones than is the Montefalco norm.

    Cerrete is a newer cuvée from Bea, where the highest elevation site was isolated for this Sagrantino bottling. The vineyard is limestone and clay-dominant, littered with small pebbles from an ancient riverbed. 2007 was known for its even, warm growing season. The high altitude site brings much needed freshness, but make no mistake, this is a very powerful and full-throttle expression of Sagrantino in 2007.

    Quantities and allocations have become smaller and smaller each vintage for the Paolo Bea wines. Orders will be fulfilled based upon time of request, and balanced requests that include the San Valentino cuvée.

    2010 Paolo Bea San Valentino Rosso
    $54 per bottle.

    2010 Paolo Bea Pagliaro Sagrantino di Montefalco
    $95 per bottle.

    2007 Paolo Bea Cerrete Sagrantino di Montefalco 

    $129 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod