It is difficult to believe that Montefalco Sagrantino can get any more profound than Bea’s beloved Pagliaro, but indeed it can. The family has owned a parcel in Cerrete, the highest-altitude vineyard in Montefalco, for some time, but it wasn’t until the 2007 vintage that Giampiero deemed the vines old enough to do justice to the cru’s potential. With its poor, mineral-rich soils and its acidity-preserving altitude, Cerrete yields a wine not more powerful than Pagliaro—in fact, it comes across as lighter on its feet—but with greater nuance, as if the settings on a microscope were dialed up to render even more detail.
References in the archives of Montefalco, the beautiful hill town in Umbria, document the presence of the Bea family in this locality as early as 1500. This tiny estate is the classic Italian fattoria, producing wine, raising farm animals for trade and home consumption and working the land to produce olives, fruits and vegetables. To this day, the Bea family raises and produces much of what they consume on a daily basis. Paolo Bea, the senior member of the family, is the guiding force behind the production of this series of intense and idiosyncratic wines. He is assisted by his two sons, Giuseppe, who farms the vineyards, and Giampiero, who assists in the vinification and is responsible for all commercial aspects of the winery.
The entire property encompasses 15 hectares: 5 of which are dedicated to the vineyards, 2 to olives, and the remainder to the fruits, vegetables and grains that are grown. Sagrantino is the predominant grape, covering 60% of the vineyard surface. The remaining 40% is planted to Sangiovese and Montepulciano, with a small parcel planted to several white varieties. The vineyards are cultivated organically, all grapes are harvested manually and all wines are bottled without fining or filtration.