I love Umbria's Paolo Bea. Devoted to making its wines naturally,
Bea's primary grape is Montefalco's Sagrantino. Though Bea grows other
grapes, it's the Sagrantino that gives the estate its cult status.
Sagrantino, among the most tannic grapes in the world, is a varietal of
great power, complexity and suppleness. It's a grape that makes a
sensuous, wily wine that while bursting with dark fruits also retains a
seductive funkiness. Bea's Sagrantino wines often make me think of one
of those incredibly beautiful art- school hippie girls who smells
faintly of roses and patchouli and whom you remember long after you've
left college behind. Like that memory, this is a wine that only gets
better as it grows older.
Today, I'm very pleased to bring back a beloved Bea wine, the
estate's 2008 Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro. This is a cru
Sagrantino, one that Paolo, and his sons Giampiero and Giuseppe, make
only in the very best years, and it is very special. On Valentine's Day,
I gave you all the 2009 vintage of this wine. It's explosive and grabs
you to pull you in. The 2008 is a little more reserved, but it's still a
wild ride. These two vintages together are more than a little
astounding, and I'm happy that I managed to score a new allocation of
the '08 Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro so you can see.
with this returning Paolo Bea wine, I'm very happy to offer two more
bottles that my clients have loved. The first is a $22 Valpolicella
Ripasso from family-owned Begali. Go-to wines are the unsung workhorses
of our cellars and our tables. It's easy to praise a big, expensive
bottle, and it's easy to fall in love with one. But these small
wines are the ones we rely upon, and this Begali Valpolicella is one of
the best. Finally, Castello dei Rampolla's wines were among the first I
picked for IWM when I opened its doors almost two decades ago. Vigna
d'Alceo is a consistent knockout and this 2011 is stunning. If you've
never had this biodynamic Super Tuscan, now is the time.