Demons, Exorcists and Sagrantino Wine at Cantina Scacciadiavoli

The Scacciadiavoli winery was built in 1884. It’s a 4 story, gravity fed winery with features well ahead of its’ time

Disclosure: I attended Anteprima Sagrantino in February as a member of the press. All opinions are my own.

The Legend of Scacciadiavoli
The Scacciadiavoli winery was founded in 1884 by Prince Ugo Boncompagni Ludovisi, one of the earliest wineries in the Montefalco area. The winery was advanced for its’ time, employing such techniques as natural ventilation and cooling, and setting up the winery as a 100% gravity feed operation. The prince took the name for his winery from a local legend of an excorcist (scacciare) who successfully expelled the demons (diavoli) from a young girl by feeding her some of the local red wine. This is the wine we know as Montefalco Sagrantino Passito today.

In the video below, Liù Pambuffetti, one of the fourth generation family members now leading the winery operations, explains the legend. While the legend describes a red wine, the Scacciadiavoli Brut sparkling wine is made from 85% Sagrantino grapes, the grapes used to exorcise those devils!

The Historic Winery
Amilcare Pambuffetti worked as a teenager at the winery under the prince at the turn of the century, and much later, took the opportunity to purchase the whole operation in 1954. Today, the Pambuffetti family still owns and runs the winery, keeping the original name, thanks to the colorful legend.

Today, the Pambuffetti family farms 40 hectares (about 88 acres) of grapes on a 130 hectare property. I had the opportunity to tour the winery and enjoy a dinner with a vertical tasting of the Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino with Liu Pambuffetti. The video below shows a bit about the historic winery with so many innovative features for its’ time.

Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino
By most reports, Sagrantino is the most tannic vitis vinifera grape used to make wine, and I can vouch for the abundant tannins in young Sagrantino! During our press tour at Anteprima Sagrantino, we tasted the newly released vintage 2015. As the wine is so tannic, it has long aging required before release. You’ll benefit further if you can hold the wine a few more years before opening. Sagrantino is a big, bold wine with deep blue and black fruits, earth notes of balsamic and leather, and occasionally a bit of orange peel. Young, it will shine with grilled red meats especially.

Grilled red meat is a great partner to Sagrantino, young or old.

The older, traditional vinification of Sagrantino involves drying the grapes passito-style, and producing a sweet wine. The tannins are still there, but balanced by rich sweet notes.

A classic passito pairing is simply dipping your biscotti in your Sagrantino Passito.

Find Your Own Bottle of Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino
If you’d like to see for yourself whether Sagrantino can exorcise demons, you find can find the dry version online here, and the sweet version here. I’m afraid you’ll need to find your own possessed person!

Visiting Scacciadiavoli
Planning a visit to Umbria? You should schedule a visit to Scacciadiavoli. While the winery has a tasting room, you can get a much more complete visit and tour with a bit of advance preparation. Just click on this link for details!

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