Wine of Montefalco
In the historical Archives of the Town Council of Montefalco there are preserved numerous documents which testify to the care with which, in periods where there was certainly no mention of cru, the winegrowers of Montefalco dedicated to the "fields planted with vines". The rest begins from the 1400's when the town council laws began to safeguard in some way the vines and wines. Here is a significant example: «Whoever is found with unripe or mature grapes and who do not have their own vines or those in rent or of working in them, will be punished with the same punishment as those who entered into the vineyards of someone and taken away the grapes, and whoever is found to have a forcinela or mordacchia or pertica or in the act of cutting the grapes or other similar acts, will be punished as if they have taken away the grapes». And so, already in action from 1540 the date of the beginning of the harvesting operations was established by a council ordinance.
Today the wines of Montefalco, in particular the Sagrantino (in a dry and sweet version) are decorated with the recognition of the Denominazione d'origine controllata e garantita (D.O.C.G.) (Denomination of origin, controlled and guaranteed), a type of "superdoc" which not many Italian oenological areas can boast about. The discipline of production foresees that there are only used the pure Sagrantine grapes; grapes which, in every possibility, are the same of which Pliny the Old speaks about, calling them, according to the custom of that period, Itriola. There is also, in all honesty, an hypothesis which speaks about the appearance of these grapes in Montefalco which seems to have been traced back to the arrival of a Franciscan monk who brought them from his (unknown) place of origin: the name seems referable to the Sacraments, seen that, for its sweetness, the grapes were cultivated by monks who used them in their religious rites. Above and beyond this hypothesis, it was certainly the ancient custom of the people of Montefalco to cultivate these grapes and drink the wine that came from it.
Today the hill area concerned in the producion of Montefalco Sagrantino D.O.C.G. includes, other the county territory which gives it its name, those of Bevagna, Castel Ritaldi, Giano dell'Umbria and Gualdo Cattaneo. The minimun aging process given by the law for both versions of Montefalco Sagrantino is that of thirty months, of which at least twelve of these are in wooden casks, before being put on the market. To provide a good drink it should be at a temperature of at least 13°C, for that regarding the dry version, and 14°C for that of the sweet. This second version derives from a traditional process of withering, congenial to this typology (the Sagrantino grapes, particularly leathery, can be left to wither for months without decaying): the withered grape, whereas liberates the component liquid, better condenscing that of the sugar content.