Sagrantino to Warm a Minnesota Winter Night #ItalianFWT

Italian Food, Wine & Travel Group Tackles Sagrantino
February is my turn to host our group, and I was hoping my buddies would take on the challenge of trying a Montefalco Sagrantino. Sagrantino is a lesser known grape, but it is the king of the Montefalco area within the larger Umbria region of Italy. And tackle it, they did! Take a look farther down in this post for a dozen other experiences with Montefalco Sagrantino!

Azienda Fongoli Farm
The Fongoli farm encompasses a total of 35 hectares (about 77 acres) in total, including vineyards, woods, olive grove and a natural truffle area. All the cultivated land is certified organic, and the family uses biodynamic principles in their approach to viticulture and winemaking. There are no chemical additions or subtractions and minimal use of sulfur. The winemaking doesn’t use temperature control, there is no filtering and the wine is clarified by racking. Aging is in large traditional botté and the Montefalco Sagrantino requirements include at least 37 months of aging, at least 12 of which are in oak. At Fongoli, the wines typically spend much longer than the minimum time in oak. Traditional? I think so. If you make it to Montefalco, you can visit and taste, so put this winery on your “must visit” list for a future Umbria trip!

Fracanton is Fongoli’s most traditional and natural wine. The fermentation takes place in clay anfora, no sulfur is used at all in the winery. It sees long aging in old wooden botte.

Fongoli “Fracaton” Montefalco Sagrantino “anphora” DOCG 2012 ($41 at Sunfish Cellars or online here)
Eye: Hazy, deep ruby fading to garnet at the very edge. Lightly stained legs
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Subtle red fruit, fresh raspberries, spicy and peppery with clean earth, and a bit of graphite.
Mouth: Dry, full body, medium+ acidity, high tannins. Brawny. High Alcohol, although it doesn’t read as hot. Red fruits, raspberries, leather, earth. While it’s a big, brawny wine, it doesn’t come across as bold or plush. It has a certain refinement without losing its’ wild character. We didn’t finish the wine on day one, and it was even more enjoyable on day two. Good signs for aging!

While not strictly Italian, Sagrantino was a great partner for rare flank steak and creamy blue-cheese potato gratin. A warming dinner on a cold Minnesota evening

Pairing Fongoli “Fracanton” with Food
I’ve had Montefalco Sagrantino from a number of Umbrian producers, and my general impression is of a powerful, tannic, somewhat rustic wine. You know, a little rough around the edges but with a heart of gold.  The Fongoli Fracanton pairs beautifully with rich blue cheese scalloped potatoes. In fact, it was even better with the potatoes than the steak. (It was just fine with the steak, but loved cutting the rich, creamy potatoes.)

Italian Food, Wine & Travel Posts
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Flank Steak with Bleu Cheese Potato Gratin

We’ve run into a spell of cold weather in Minnesota, perfect for comfort food served with a big brooding wine like Montefalco Sagrantino. Even though the potato recipe is French, it pairs beautifully with the Fongoli Fracanton. I hope they don’t mind!  The recipe comes from one of my all time favorite cookbooks, David Lebovitz’ “My Paris Kitchen”. The full recipe is available here online, but go ahead and get yourself a copy of David’s book, it’s great!

For the steak, you probably have a favorite way of preparing flank steak. We get our flank steak from our friends at Sunshine Harvest Farm. The cattle are pasture raised and grass fed, so I prefer to enjoy the meat with as little adornment as possible; the flavor is that good. On my ceramic grill, I set up for a direct heat with a dome temperature around 450°F. Depending on the meat thickness, I’ll usually go no more than 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Tonight, our steak was not too thick, so I went 2 minutes per side, perfect for me!


13 Responses to “Sagrantino to Warm a Minnesota Winter Night #ItalianFWT”
  1. Thanks for suggesting this topic and taking the hosting reins this month. I learned a ton about Sagrantino and the producers focused on organic and biodynamic methods. And that potato gratin sounds like a winner paired with this wine!

  2. Katarina Andersson says:

    Cool that both you and Jill wrote about Fongoli Sagrantino, that way we got different angles on the wine producer. I will surely try their Sagrantino at the Anteprima in 2 weeks etc.

  3. Yum! Those potatoes really would pair well! We’re actually doing flank steak tonight — my spouse is marinading it now. Too bad the sagrantino is all gone — but I have tannat from Uruguay to try it with. PS Thanks for hosting! I’m so glad I got to know Sagrantino!

  4. Lynn says:

    Glad to learn about this producer. I read in data from the Strada del Sagrantino that upwards of 23% of producers are practicing sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic viticulture. And I see Fongoli is too. (Just sent them a message to see if they can ship to me!) As always, great photos and food Jeff!

  5. joyofwine says:

    That steak looks super yum! Sagrantino definitely needs a big piece of meat! A rack of lamb too perhaps?

  6. Vino Travels says:

    It was so good to revisit sagrantino this month. It had been far too long. Your dish is mouthwatering.

  7. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    This was a really fun topic. Loved the excuse to re-explore Sagrantino. This dinner looks delciious and interesting to note that the wine worked even better with the potatoes.

  8. Susannah says:

    So happy you choose this topic. I love that Passito that I wrote about and have really been enjoying reading other’s impressions. I like your descriptors of it being slightly rustic with a heart of gold. Your pairing looks exquisite and made me crave that meal. Thanks for sharing and hosting as you so often do. Susannah

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff from Food Wine Click! shares “Montefalco Sagrantino on a Cold Winter’s Night.” […]

  2. […] Jeff from Food Wine Click! shares “Montefalco Sagrantino to Warm a Minnesota Winter Night” […]

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  4. […] Our host Jeff from Food Wine Click! shares “Montefalco Sagrantino to Warm a Minnesota Winter Night” […]

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