With a name that translates literally as ‘cast out the devils’, the Scacciadiavoli winery owes its eerie title to an exorcist who lived in the village by the vineyard during the 19th century. It was founded in 1884 by Prince Ugo Boncompagni-Ludovisi, who left Rome to dedicate himself to wine production, but since 1954 it has been owned by the Pambuffeti family.
The estate is in the heart of Montefalco, an appellation located in the Perugia region of Umbria in central Italy. The 32 hectares of vines are now overseen by the fourth generation of the Pambuffeti family, and the area’s typical clay soils are mixed with sand and schist, which are perfect for the indigenous sagrantino grape. As well as this variety, the family also grows sangiovese and merlot.
The modern winery is arranged in four storeys, with the wine passing from the top to the bottom in the course of its production. After entering at the fourth level, wines are fermented in wooden or stainless-steel vats on the third storey, before being transferred down to the first and second levels for ageing. Montefalco Rosso ages for a year on the second level, whereas Montefalco Sagrantino and the sweet sagrantino spend two years in barriques on the first level, located underground.
Montefalco Sagrantino is well judged, without the aggressive tannins of some examples, but always benefits from half a dozen or more years in bottle. Montefalco Rosso, a blend of 60% sangiovese, 15% sagrantino and 15% merlot, is attractive to drink younger but retains the individuality of the sagrantino grape.