Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Pagliaro 2011
“How is Paolo Bea one of the few iconic producers in Italy to remain under the radar? It’s a combination of low quantity, releasing late, lack of desire to market themselves, and an unwillingness to submit wines for review to the press. Luckily, I’ve been collecting them for many years and was happy to pull well-stored vintages from my cellar for review.
The history of the Bea family is closely tied to Montefalco, going back as far as the 16th century. There is no winemaking wizardry and no chemicals in the vineyard or winery. Instead, it’s complete respect for what each vintage brings to the table, and the Bea family’s desire to bottle that expression, capturing the essence of terroir, without taking anything away. The current generation, represented by Giampiero and Giuseppe, continues to work their five hectares of vineyards by hand, choosing to use only one-third of their 15-hectare property for the production of grapes, even though they could easily continue planting to expand. Their vineyards occupy the higher elevations of Montefalco terroir, reaching up to 1,500 feet above sea level, and taking advantage of a diverse mix of soils. It’s here that they have begun to vineyard-designate their lineup of Sagrantino. In the winery, gentle macerations and slow fermentations can last from three weeks to as many as seven before the wine is placed into steel tanks for a year to rest, and then large neutral wood for up to two years. At this point, the wines are bottled without filtration and extremely low, if any, added sulfur, and left to rest for another year. This process is a long, painstaking effort that is extremely costly to the producer, but the Bea family insists on releasing wines that they deem ready to drink.”
Eric Guido, Vinous (06/20)