Italy's Sagrantino grape has long been one of my favorite varietals. It's a grape variety that is indigenous to Umbria, and winemaking in the region of Montelfalco, where Arnaldo-Caprai Collepiano Sagrantino di Montefalco 2005 ($60) is made, dates back to Roman times.
I'd been awaiting cooler weather and a hearty meal to uncork my bottle of Arnaldo-Caprai Collepiano Sagrantino 2005, and a recent drizzly evening with a big pot of bucatini with Italian sausage gravy was just the ticket. I decided to decant the wine in order to get the full effect of the rich and concentrated fruit aromas: ripe cherries, raspberries and strawberry. This is a wine that benefits greatly from air contact, so decanting is recommended.
Made from 100 percent Sagrantino grapes, this DOCG wine is big, rich, complex and beautifully balanced. It's a bit barnyardy at first (a good thing), with firm tannins -- definitely a wine to drink with food, preferably rustic Italian fare like roasts, grilled meats and such. There's some spice and vanilla on the palate, a function of aging in French oak.
All in all, for $60 this is a magnificent wine. But, if that's a bit rich for you, I suggest trying a bottle of Arnaldo-Caprai's entry-level red wine: Montefalco Rosso, a 70/30 Sangiovese/Sagrantino blend that sells here for $21.99.