The DiFilippo Winery
Nestled in the low hills of Umbria, just to the south of the city of Perugia and within sight of Assisi, are the vineyards and winery of the DiFilippo family. Comprised of 30 hectares of organic vineyards, the second-generation owners and winemakers produce approximately 250.000 bottles of red, white and rose wine. Winemakers Roberto DiFilippo, Andrea Pesaresi and Nazzareno Pieroni combine to produce what I believe is some of the best wines in Umbria.
Before we move to the tasting of these wines, a few words about the growing methods are in order. Today, there are a large number of organic vineyards throughout Italy. The DiFilippo family has a somewhat unique vision of organic and biodynamic cultivation. Constantly looking to improve the methods of growing, they have introduced geese to the vineyards to clean and keep cut the green areas between the vines and horses instead of tractors for work in the vineyard. The horses are employed because they compact the soil less than tractors and the geese also add natural nutrients to the soil.
As always, the proof is in the products. We began our tasting with a 2013 IGT Villa Conversino Bianco Umbria, a 12.5% alcohol blend of 70% Trebbiano and 30% Grechetto. Aged in stainless steel tanks, this very pale yellow wine had a light fruit nose and finished fruit forward and smooth. I rated this wine an 86 and recommend this as an aperitif best served at 8-10°C.
Next we tried a 2013 DOC Grechetto Colli Martani, a 100% Grechetto that was also aged in stainless steel tanks. This 13.5% alcohol wine was pale yellow with a light fruit nose and a smooth and longer finish. This was a very nice Grechetto and I rated it an 89. It will go very well with all seafood and white meat dishes and is best served at 10°C.
Our final white wine was a 2013 IGT Farandola Trebbiano Spoletino Umbria, a 14% Alcohol 100% Trebbiano Spoletino grape offering aged again in stainless steel tanks. This wine was a very pale yellow color and had a complex nose. It finished fruity and smooth and I rated it an 89. This wine will go well as an aperitif or with seafood or white meat dishes and is best served at 10°C.
An IGT Villa Conversino Rosso dell’Umbria followed. This wine is a 13% Alcohol blend of approximately 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with some Sagrantino added. Aged in stainless steel, this wine was garnet in color, had a light fruit nose and a medium finish. I rated this wine an 85. Known as a local table wine the Conversino Rosso is an excellent accompaniment to any pasta dish and is best served at 15-16°C.
The next wine was a 2013 DOC Sangiovese Colli Martani, a 14% Alcohol 100% Sangiovese that was aged in stainless steel. This wine was garnet in color and had a leather nose. It finished smooth and medium long and I rated it an 86. Best served at 15-16°C, this wine is a good accompaniment for any meat antipasto or red meat dish.
We moved into wines featuring the signature red grape of Umbria, Sagrantino. First we tried a 2012 DOC Montefalco Rosso, a 15% Alcohol blend of 60% Sangiovese, 30% Barbera and 10% Sagrantino. Aged in stainless steel tanks, this wine was a deep garnet in color and had a fruity nose. It finished long and smooth and I rated it an 89. Best served at 15-16°C, this nice example of Montefalco Rosso will go well with any meat dish.
A second, premium 2012 DOC Sallustio Montefalco Rosso followed. This 14.5% Alcohol blend of 60% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera and 15% Sagrantino was aged for one year in French and Hungarian oak casks. It was a deep garnet color and had a complex nose. It finished very long and smooth. I really liked this wine and gave it a 92 rating. The combination of more Sagrantino and oak aging made this a superb Montefalco Rosso. Perfect for red meat dishes, the Sallustio should be served at 18-20°C.
Next we tried a 2011 IGT Terre di San Nicola Rosso dell’Umbria, a 15.5% Alcohol blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 20% Sagrantino. Aged for one year half in oak tonneaux and half in oak casks, this wine was deep garnet in color, had a complex nose and finished long and very smooth. This was another excellent blend featuring even more Sagrantino. I rated this wine a 92 and it will go well with any red meat dish. It should be served at 18-20°C.
Taking a short break from the Sagrantino blends, we tried a 2011 DOC Riserva Properzio, a 100% Sangiovese that had a second fermentation with Passito grapes and was then aged in large oak casks for one year. Suffering perhaps from following the prior three offerings, the Properzio had a deep garnet color, very complex nose and finished medium. I rated this wine an 89, but I may have done it a disservice.
Moving back to the Sagrantinos, we tried a 2010 DOCG Etnico Montefalco Sagrantino, a 15% Alcohol 100% Sagrantino that the DiFilippo family has been making for only five years. Aged in oak for one year, the Etnico was a medium garnet color, had a light fruit nose and finished elegantly smooth. I rated this excellent wine a 93. Best served at 18-20°C, this big red wine will be perfect for game or red meat dishes.
Our final wine was the DiFilippo signature offering, a 2010 DOCG Montefalco Sagrantino, a 16% (yes, 16%) Alcohol 100% Sagrantino wine that is aged in oak casks for eighteen months. This wine was deep garnet in color, had a light fruit nose and finished very long and very smooth with a hint of tannins. The Montefalco Sagrantino was a show stopper and I rated this superb wine a 94. Served at 18-20°C, it will impress at any meal featuring game, grilled meats especially beef and heavy cheeses. This is a truly excellent example of classic Sagrantino wine.
If the pleasure of tasting all of these excellent wines was not enough, Signor Roberto DiFilippo, our host for the tasting, took us to the nearby town of Bevagna where we ate lunch at La Trattoria di Oscar, the Saveur magazine noted restaurant of chef Filippo Artioli. All I can remember is that the food was unbelievably good and the company better. We left Umbria after the meal and I can recommend this part of Umbria as a fabulous place for a vacation if you love good food and wine.
I thank Roberto Difilippo and his sister Emma for the wonderful hospitality they showed us during our visit. Their wines are all worth drinking wherever you find them. DiFilippo wines are represented in the USA by Specialty Wines in Ohio, Acid Inc. Selections in New York, Ruby Wines in Massachusetts, and soon in Texas by Flat Creek Enterprise LLC.