Sportoletti Assisi Rosso 2019
The 2019 Rosso Assisi opens to a display of crushed stone, dusty black cherries and flowery undergrowth, then fills the palate with a round, soothing display of ripe red berries and spice, all lifted by brisk acidity. A coating of fine tannins lingers through the medium-length finale, along with a subtle whiff of heat that slightly mars the expression.
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Today the company owns 50 acres of vines all situated in the hills of Assisi and Spello, an area highly regarded for its climate and for its association with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata of Assisi.
Recently, Sportoletti went through a process of renewing the vines with new grape clones of Grechetto and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Nero which is showing very promising results in Italian Oenology.
The vines are followed very attentively up to their harvest, when the grapes are handpicked. The same care is taken in the cellar where the vinification takes place utilizing an air press for a soft pressing. Vinification is carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the best reds are refined in French oak. In the last few years the prominent enologist Riccardo Cotarella has consulted with the winery.
The Sportoletti brothers also own 3,000 olive trees on land that is 1,600 feet in altitude, on the slope of the Monte Subasio.
Centered upon the lush Apennine Range in the center if the Italian peninsula, Umbria is one of the few completely landlocked regions in Italy. It’s star red grape variety, Sagrantino, finds its mecca around the striking, hilltop village of Montefalco. The resulting wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco, is an age-worthy, brawny, brambly red, bursting with jammy, blackberry fruit and earthy, pine forest aromas. By law this classified wine has to be aged over three years before it can be released from the winery and Sagrantino often needs a good 5-10 more years in bottle before it reaches its peak. Incidentally these wines often fall under the radar in the scene of high-end, age-begging, Italian reds, giving them an almost cult-classic appeal. They are undoubtedly worth the wait!
Rosso di Montefalco, on the other had, is composed mainly of Sangiovese and is a more fruit-driven, quaffable wine to enjoy while waiting for the Sagrantinos to mellow out.
Among its green mountains, perched upon a high cliff in the province of Terni, sits the town of Orvieto. Orvieto, the wine, is a blend of at least 60% Trebbiano in combination with Grechetto, with the possible addition of other local white varieties. Orvieto is the center of Umbria’s white wine production—and anchor of the region’s entire wine scene—producing over two thirds of Umbria’s wine. A great Orvieto will have clean aromas and flavors of green apple, melon and citrus, and have a crisp, mineral-dominant finish.
Disenchanted with Italian winemaking laws in the 1970s, a few rebellious Tuscan winemakers decided to get creative. Instead of following tradition, to bottle Sangiovese by itself, they started blending it with international varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in differing proportions and with amazing success. However, some Tuscan Blends don’t even include Sangiovese. Somm Secret—The suffix –aia in Italian modifies a word in much the same way –y acts in English. For example, a place with many stones (sassi) becomes Sassicaia. While not all Super Tuscan producer names end in –aia, they all share a certain coy nomenclature.