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Montefalco Rosso, Scacciadiavoli 2016

Red Wine from Italy - Central Italy -Tuscany, Umbria
Absolutely delicious full-flavoured Italian sangiovese with 15% of the slightly wild sagrantino grape, tamed by 25% merlot. The winery’s eerie name (Scacciadiavoli means ‘cast out the devils’ on account of an exorcist who lived by the vineyard in the 19th century!) is a talking point too.
is no longer available
Code: IT26501

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Sangiovese
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2023
  • Cork, diam

Central Italy

The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot...
The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot which are now permitted.

Other great wines from Tuscany are Brunello di Montalcino (‘brunello’ being a very localised clone of sangiovese, and the only permitted grape), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (from the town of Montepulciano and nothing to do with the montepulciano grape; Vino Nobile is again made from sangiovese) and the so-called Supertuscan blends of several grape varieties, some of which are not permitted under DOC rules in areas such as Brunello. The most famous of these Supertuscans are Sassicaia and Ornellaia, both of which are essentially Bordeaux -style blends from Bolgheri close to the Tuscan coast in the west. The region, partly with the impetus of these regulation bucking blends, has been a driving force in improving quality in the region and consequently across Italy.

Umbria to the south of Tuscany has developed an impressive reputation for its wines, such as the aromatic, tannic but delicious sagrantino from vineyards around Montefalco. Here too sangiovese is widely grown, making impressive Torgiano and blends together with varieties like merlot and cabernet. Higher ground in the north is cooler than the southern zone. Orvieto lies almost between the two in the west of Umbria. The wines of Orvieto are beginning to find their feet once more after decades of underperformance now that many growers are focussing on the grechetto grape that had once been ubiquitous but which had been pushed aside by the higher cropping but far less interesting procanico (aka trebbiano Toscano).

Lazio is the region around Rome which is struggling to creep out from the shadow of the dull wines that historically fed the thirst of a ready market in the Eternal City. Basically, there was too little incentive to change. Now there are a number of producers working hard to make Frascati of real character by improving their clones and their methods and by lowering yields.

Across the Apennines from Umbria is Le Marche with its mountainous national parks and sunny Adriatic coast. The best white wines are the two verdicchios, dei Castelli di Jesi and di Matelica, with the latter making the more characterful examples from its higher altitudes. Pecorino grapes from zones to the south produce fruity, interesting white wines with real potential to rival the best verdicchio. Reds are improving all the time, including Rosso Piceno (sangiovese with montepulciano) and Rosso Conero (montepulciano).

North of Le Marche is the region around foodie Bologna, Emilia-Romagna. Home to Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar, the region has not developed a similarly impressive canon of wines to rival its reputation for fine foods. Much is unimpressive but the best sangiovese di Romagna from south-east of Bologna can be excellent, and as with elsewhere in Italy there are a growing number of growers and winemakers intent on improvement. The wine best known to British consumers is Lambrusco. Sadly the association many will have is with sweetened characterless froth from the 1970s and 1980s but the Lambrusco drunk by the Bolognese is very different and we are starting to see its appetising acidity and bracing bite, designed to accompany the salty hams, tangy cheeses and rich meat sauces of its home region, reach the UK.

As with Le Marche the vineyards of Abruzzo are squeezed between the great mass of the Apennines and the Adriatic, and the mountains have influenced the character of the Abruzzese and their food. To match their hearty dishes they drink montepulciano d’Abruzzo, invariably gutsy and full of lively red fruits and a Society wine of many years standing. Rosés such as Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo are also becoming increasingly well known for their value and constantly improving quality when growers lower yields and winemakers take them seriously. Further south is the little known Molise region where montepulciano, aglianico and trebbiano grapes make characterful, rustic reds and whites. The Biferno DOC was created in the 1980s and there are producers here who are making some very promising examples.
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Scacciadiavoli

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...
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.
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Italy 2016 Vintage Central

2016 was a stunning year for reds in most of the vineyards of Barolo, Barbaresco, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, as well as across the Veneto. In short, the north of Italy enjoyed sunny, warm and dry conditions at harvest (September and Ocotber) after a cooler than average summer, and brought in an excellent crop of slowly evenly ripened grapes and made very good wines.

The south of Italy is a less obviously happy picture, or at least more of a patchwork, with some areas suffering rain at inappropriate times, often when the harvest needed to be brought in. There had already been difficulties in the spring in the Abruzzi and Campania (some areas had frost) and Umbria suffered hail. Then in September rains came and made it tricky for the later ripening red varieties in Campania and Basilicata. However, the summer had been more even in Puglia and despite some September rains here it had little effect and the wines are very good. Sicily too had a good vintage.

2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews

Country Life

Medium deep ruby redin colour, with a tarry earthy nose and considerable authority, acidity andbite. The contribution of the powerful local grape, sagrantino, is only 15% butmakes its presence felt.

- Harry Eyres

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