Central Italy has brought us great men and women and their great ideas. There's St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals whose views reflected his home region of Umbria; the great Renaissance master Raphael of Urbino (in Le Marche), whose mind and brush rendered the skillful portraits of Agnolo and Maddalena Doni; and Ferruccio Lamborghini, whose personal hobby planted the seed for an estate with sleek wines that turn heads just as his sexy sports cars did. Gioacchino Rossini, born in Le Marche's Pesaro, left us delightful operas like Il barbiere di Siviglia and Otello, while Gabriele d'Annunzio's home region of Abruzzo inspired his powerful words that touched the world. Often overlooked, l'Italia Centrale has much to discover, including its wine.
Umbria truly represents the center of Italy. Landlocked and torn end to end by the Apennine mountains, Umbria rests under the shadow of neighboring Toscana, and next to Toscana's Sangiovese, Umbria's lesser-known, robust Sagrantino waits to be discovered. Sagrantino is one of the world's most intense grapes, but in the hands of Paolo Bea, this grape becomes a gentle, if powerful, giant. Bea is the quintessential artisanal producer, steeped in a tradition that dates back to the early part of the twelfth century--if you appreciate traditional wines with minimal intervention, wines that explode with their terroir and vintage, and wines that tell a story, you will love the two Bea Sagrantino wines in today's eLetter. They're in stock, ready to ship, and long lived so that you can enjoy them again and again.
Along with these two big reds from Bea, I'm delighted to offer a case of summer white wines. I've picked six Italian whites from producers like COS, Fontodi and Fressiarossa (there's even a Verdicchio from Le Marche, keeping with the central Italy theme), and I've picked six French whites as their complements, including several bottles from the benchmark 2015 vintage. Life should be easy during the summer, and this mixed case of white wines gives you everything you need for simple, serious and satisfying sipping this summer--or next.
Finally, don't miss Château de la Maltroye's two Bourgognes--they pack a punch at their pricing!