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Antonelli San Marco

Montefalco, the affirmed Umbrian wine area, is famous in the world for its powerful Sagrantino. Antonelli San Marco winery, among the most ancient ones, is also one of the protagonists

 Umbria is a land of saints and heroes, but also of Sagrantino! This extraordinary autochthonous grape of the Green Heart of Italy, also thanks to the tenacity and will of producers, has been successful in reaching the top of Italian wine, representing Umbria and Italy in the world. A hard way walked in a little more than 30 years, which transformed Sagrantino from a traditional sweet wine, to one of the most interesting dry red wines of Umbria and Italy. It was in fact at the beginning of the 1790s which started the first “experiments” in the production of a dry wine by using that robust and rough grape, with which since centuries was produced in the area of Montefalco a sweet and robust wine which traditionally matched the equally robust roasted meats and hard cheeses. Dry Sagrantino has walked a long way, and today the production in Montefalco is mainly about the dry style instead of the sweet one, climbing to the top of the Olympus of Italian wines.


The entrance arc of Antonelli San
Marco winery
The entrance arc of Antonelli San Marco winery

 A great result, if we consider Sagrantino has considerably risked to disappear from Montefalco's vineyards in the period in which other and more famous grapes were catching the attention of local producers, while promising an easier and rich harvest. They began to replace Sagrantino vineyards with other grapes, therefore losing the interest for the historical wine of this place: Sagrantino wine was produced less and less and only thanks to the will of few and stubborn producers, who were affectionate, luckily, to their grape. The name Sagrantino comes from the Latin sacer, therefore sacred, as the wine was traditionally consumed in occasion of Christian holidays, in particular Easter. Pliny the Elder in his monumental Naturalis Historia wrote in this area was present the Itriola grape, however it is not clear whether it was what we call today Sagrantino. In fact, there are no reliable information about the origin of the famous grape of Montefalco.

 Besides believing Sagrantino is a local indigenous variety of Montefalco, among the hypothesis about its origin, it is also believed this grape was introduced by Saint Francis's followers coming back from Asia Minor, or it could also be introduced during the barbarian invasions of Saracens. Written documents dated back to 1088 AD report about the presence of vineyards in Coccorone - the ancient name of Montefalco - and from the half of the fifteenth century on, strict communal laws were promulgated for the regulation of vineyards' care. From 1540 the date of Sagrantino harvesting was set by a specific communal law. The first important goal for Sagrantino di Montefalco was reached in 1979, when it acquired the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata status (Denomination of Controlled Origin, DOC), followed in 1992 by the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, DOCG). Today the wine making reality of Montefalco is flourishing in a continuous development in search of quality, and among the most representative wineries of the area, there is Antonelli San Marco winery, among the most ancient ones in Montefalco.


Clusters of Sagrantino grape drying
Clusters of Sagrantino grape drying

 The place where Antonelli San Marco winery is located was in past times a Longobard court known as San Marco de Corticellis. The ancient court, from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, was property of the Bishop of Spoleto and the borders of Antonelli San Marco's estate are the same described in a document of the thirteenth century and kept in the episcopal archive of Spoleto. In 1881, Francesco Antonelli, a lawyer from Spoleto, acquired the property and transformed it drastically, including the planting of new specialized vineyards: in a report of 1902 it is read in vineyards were planted 5,000 vines per hectare. In 1979 the winery begins the bottling and commercialization of its wines, which were previously commercialized at wholesale. In 1992, after having restored the “Casale Satriano”, was started the wine tourism activity. The winery and the estate is now property of engineer Antonio Antonelli and lawyer Giacomo Antonelli, both living in Rome.

 The winery is run since 1986 by Filippo Antonelli, who lives between Montefalco and Rome where he also runs the Castello di Torre in Pietra winery. The estates of Antonelli San Marco covers an area of 170 hectares - of which 40 destined to vineyards - all being located in the commune of Montefalco, in the center of the Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG production area. The average altitude of vineyards is 350 meters, in hills of clay soils and rich in limestone. Vineyards are mainly exposed to South with a density of 5,700 vines per hectare. The production cellar is found at the center of the winery, under the main building. Recently has been built an underground fermentation room on two levels, in order to allow the vinification and the operation of decanting by gravity, that is without using pumps which would damage the integrity of skins. The harvesting of grapes is done by hand and after crushing, the must is transferred by gravity to the underground rooms where the processes of fermentation and maceration take place.


 

 Also the decanting is done by gravity by allowing the wine to go down to the lower room where it will start malolactic fermentation. The wine is then transferred in casks, which are found in the underground rooms, in order to ensure a constant temperature. Antonelli San Marco winery has a total capacity of about 5,500 hectoliters, with an annual production of about 2,000 hectoliters and 270,000 bottles. Antonelli San Marco winery follows its own productive philosophy characterized by the continuous research and improvement of its wines, according to the style of the winery and its typicality, to the balance and elegance, instead of power: a result obtained by delicate extractions and a moderate use of wood. For this reason the casks used for the aging of wines are made from French oak with a fine grain and moderate toasting. For the 25% of red wines which are aged in wood, new casks are being used, whereas the remaining 75% is aged in used casks. Wines produced in this way - in particular Sagrantino - are not “immediate”. In fact, the wines benefits from prolonged aging in bottle therefore giving with time interesting evolutions, confirming the “Antonelli San Marco” style which distinguishes since many years this prestigious winery of Montefalco.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2005, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2005
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Grechetto
Price: € 6.80 Score:
This Grechetto shows a pale straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas which start with hints of apple and plum followed by aromas of hawthorn, pear, lemon and hazelnut. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, pear and plum. This Grechetto ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Legumes and fish soups, Pasta with meat, Broiled fish



Montefalco Rosso 2003, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Rosso 2003
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (65%), Sagrantino (15%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Merlot (10%)
Price: € 10.80 Score:
This Montefalco Rosso shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas that start with hints of black cherry and plum followed by aromas of blackberry, violet, cyclamen and vanilla. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry and plum. This Montefalco Rosso ages for 9 months in cask, 3 months in cement tanks and for 6 months n bottle.
Food Match: Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat



Grechetto dei Colli Martani Vigna Tonda 2004, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto dei Colli Martani Vigna Tonda 2004
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Grechetto
Price: € 10.80 Score:
This wine shows a brilliant straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of apple, hazelnut and toasted followed by aromas of hawthorn, lemon, yeast, pineapple, pear, plum and vanilla. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, hazelnut and apple. Grechetto dei Colli Martani Vigna Tonda ages for 4 months in cask followed by 12 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with fish, Mushrooms soups, Sauteed white meat, Roasted fish



Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2003, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2003
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (70%), Sagrantino (15%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%)
Price: € 20.00 Score:
This Montefalco Rosso Riserva shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of black cherry, plum and blackberry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, black currant, licorice and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum. This wine ages for 15 months in cask, 3 months in cement tanks and for 12 months in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Sagrantino di Montefalco 2003, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino di Montefalco 2003
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sagrantino
Price: € 25.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category
This Sagrantino shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, cyclamen, vanilla, tobacco, pink pepper, licorice, cinnamon and mace. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry. A well made wine. This Sagrantino di Montefalco ages for 15 months in cask, 3 months in cement tanks and 12 months in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito 2003, Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito 2003
Antonelli (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sagrantino
Price: € 25.00 - 37.5cl Score:
This Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of blackberry, plum and black cherry followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, vanilla, tobacco, chocolate, menthol and mace. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a sweet and tannic attack, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum. This Sagrantino Passito ages for 15 months in cask, 3 months in cement tanks and 12 months in bottle.
Food Match: Fruit desserts, Confectionery, Hard cheese



Antonelli San Marco - Loc. San Marco, 59 - 06036 Montefalco, Perugia (Italy) Tel. +39 742 379158 Fax: +39 742 371063 - Winemaker: Massimiliano Caburazzi with the support of Manlio Erba - Established: 1881 - Production: 270.000 bottles - E-Mail: info@antonellisanmarco.it - WEB: www.antonellisanmarco.it


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  Wine Producers Issue 45, October 2006   
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Cellar Journal


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