Montefalco Sagrantino Passito & Cheesecake
Montefalco Sagrantino Passito – An Umbrian Dessert Wine
The Sagrantino grape is native to the Umbria region in Italy, and it is only rarely seen anywhere else in the rest of the world. It is at once intensely acidic and tannic, so it poses challenges for the winegrower and for the the wine drinker!
Historically, the wines were so tannic that Umbrian winegrowers found the best application of Sagrantino as a sweet wine. Through the passito process of drying the grapes on racks for at least 30 days, the grape must and juice is concentrated and intensified to produce a wine full of rich fruit flavor, strong tannins, and very nice residual sugar.
Sweet or Dry
Sagrantino isn’t your everyday red wine, so you may have to do a little searching to find one. As for the dessert wine, make sure you find Montefalco Sagrantino Passito. Montefalco Sagrantino will be a fine wine for the dinner table, but you wouldn’t want it for dessert!
Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino Passito DOCG 2006 ($59 at France 44)
Eye: Deepest dark red with blue-purple color at the edge.
Nose: Ripe blueberries with a bit of leather and cedar box. Nice.
Mouth: So interesting; sweet but quite tannic. The sweetness completely changes the character of the wine as compared to a dry Sagrantino.
Desserts for Montefalco Sagrantino Passito
The best desserts seem to be those that are rich, but not overly sweet or sugary. I had heard Sagrantino Passito would be great with chocolate. I first tried this wine with a “killer brownie” from our local premium grocery store. Unfortunately, the brownie was so over-the-top sweet, it didn’t pair well at all with the wine. It also was horrible by itself. I guess I misunderstood what they meant when they said “killer”.
PERFECT: Blueberry New York cheesecake. Make sure the blueberries aren’t overly sweet, I reduced some frozen wild blueberries in a saucepan to concentrate the juice. As you would expect, the New York style cheesecake was intensely rich. That richness provided plenty for the tannins in the wine to counterbalance. The dark blue fruit in the wine matched the blueberries nicely.