Italy – Umbria
My first afternoon in Umbria, I was gifted the most wonderful tour of the hilltop villages surrounding Perugia by the Mayor of Montefalco. With each stop along the route, his pride in describing each town, each ancient fortified city, their history their legacy and lifestyle, was absolutely infectious. An afternoon with Valentino Valentini was more than a sales pitch. It was as heartfelt an affidavit of the Umbrian lifestyle as I could possibly imagine. By the time we came to his family home, 4 acres of impeccable hillside vineyards, the pulse of Valentino’s passion clearly extended beyond selling the wines of his family estate, but rather inviting the world to see the world as it has been seen here in Italy for centuries.
The Valentini’s have been a cornerstone in local wine production for over a hundred years. In fact, when the Bocale Winery was launched in 2002, the name was chosen because for generations the term Bocale was used as a slang for the unit of measurement of the jug wines made famous by his family.
Powered entirely by renewables, Bocale’s blend of wild fermention, organic farming and the focus of the most traditional grapes of the region, make way for 2000 cases annually of the most honest and expressive wines as you will find.
They make only 2 wines. Their Rosso blends Sangiovese with Merlot and Sagrantino. Its a highly expressive blend that bursts in aromatics, a focus of the house style. Sagrantino is king in Montefalco and is the next IT wine on your list. Marrying the roughhousing tannins of a Barolo with the velvety fruit profile of Left Bank Bordeaux, its the kind of wine that brings the best of 2 great worlds together, at a price point thats much more becoming than the sum of its “parts”. Bocale’s version is a testament to the traditional power of the grape. Bottle aged into its prime, it can tackle your red meat today, but give this one ten years and the layers will dazzle you in ways you may never have imagined possible.
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