In our hopefully eternal quest for new and interesting vineyards, we came upon Dionigi at the recent Montefalco wine expo. Their Sagrantino was good, their Montefalco Rosso even better, but the Sagrantino Passito blew me away. It was the perfect passito, sweet but not syrupy or cloying, full of nuance and suggestion, teasing you to take another sip.
We decided that it was worth a trip to the vineyard to see what was going on, and buy some of that passito as a gift for a passito loving friend. Now, you just can’t stroll up to a cantina and ask to buy the wine. There’s a little ‘dance’ involved where you give compliments, they preen and give you a tour of the facility. The length of the tour is strictly dependent on how interested both parties are, and as Roberto talked, we got very interested.
He’s young, he’s taking chances, he’s proud of his wine and he’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve. He feels that everyone is releasing their Sagrantino’s too young, while everyone else was releasing 2005 he was releasing 2004. His take is that with such a tannic grape, the extra year of aging adds to the accessibility in the glass. Sagrantino is not a sipping wine, per se, but it is the perfect companion for grilled meats and strong cheeses; it needs that bit of protein on the tongue to truly shine. We chatted, invited him to Montone’s Festa del Bosco, and then he said, “Do you want to taste something special?” Guess what we said… Roberto slipped around a barrel and with a sly grin, produced a small passito bottle of Greco Paso. Seems that Dionigi is making the world’s only Grechetto passito and it is superb. It reminded both of us of a 2000 Bonny Doon wine called Year of the Dragon, only not as sweet or overt. This is a fresh young seductress who knows she’s got the goods and is happy to entertain you.
See what good things await those who wander the trails less traveled?
Azienda Agricola Dionigi
Via Madonna della Pia, 44
Castelbuono 06031, Bevagna