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Paolo Bea

Paolo Bea is a quintessential artisanal producer steeped in the traditions of the Montefalco, which date back to the early part of the 12th century. He currently remains the guiding force behind the production of his estate, sharing his traditional, noninterventionist approach with his two sons—Giuseppe, who farms the vineyards, and Giampiero, who assists in the vinification. Each bottle provides an indication of the total produced that year, and many feature a slight presence of sediment, demonstrating the wholly natural methods of production.

While Sangiovese is the most prolific of the Umbrian varietals, Umbria’s identity is intimately connected to Sagrantino, a grape that has enjoyed premier positioning in Umbria for centuries, conducting an extensive and noted history as a passito wine. In fact, though an exceedingly rare native—limited to a mere 400 acres of vineyards—this distinct minority mediates between the two discrete flavor profiles that characterize this region’s offerings—earth-driven Sangiovese-based wines and modern-oriented blends crafted from the principal international varieties. The wines of Paolo Bea, however, are slightly “off center,” veering more towards the former profile—headlined by the wines of Lungarotti—than the latter. This stylistic predilection is enabled by Bea’s rejection of barrique, yet his wines do not take on a distinct profile; rather, distinctions are realized both between vintages and, at times, within the context of a single vintage.

Bea’s approach is firmly rooted not so much in the desire to translate provenance, but in the absolute necessity of articulating Montefalco’s terroir: “Nature should be observed, heard, [and] understood, not dominated.” Thus, his protocol is essentially noninterventionist—a means of realizing a genuine articulation of terroir uncompromised by practices that may insulate the wine from harm but ultimately produce a disingenuous wine. Paradoxically, this approach does not preclude the use of technical developments that lessen the burdens of labor-intensive vinification; rather, Bea is desirous of cultivating a balance between tradition and modernity.

The Bea estate—similar to its lead varietal—nurtures a penchant for obscurity. The acreage devoted to wine production totals less than one-third of the estate, despite the fact that additional acres could easily be planted to vine. The family desires to keep production numbers low in order to maintain a very modest profile. The current portfolio includes the estate’s signature wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco ‘Pagliaro’; Montefalco Rosso, a blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and Sagrantino; a Sagrantino Passito; and the white five-varietal Santa Chiara blend.

Santa Chiara Bianco
Montefalco Rosso
Montefalco Rosso Riserva
Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco ‘Pagliaro”
Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito ‘Pagliaro”
Region: Umbria

Sagrantino di Montefalco
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Paolo Bea Arboreus Umbria Bianco 2013 750ml Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito 2007 375ml
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Paolo Bea Arboreus Umbria Bianco 2013 750ml Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito 2007 375ml