SOLD OUT! Ever heard of Paolo Bea, the “mythical master” of Umbrian wine? If you have, you know that few Umbrian producers are making wines with the same dedication and respect to their vineyards, terroir, and traditional winemaking. Let me introduce you to Fongoli, the new superstar of Umbria. The estate’s 2017 Montefalco Rosso is a marvelous wine that reminds me distinctly of Bea’s San Valentino Rosso. But it sells for a fraction of the price!
This traditional blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot, and Montepulciano oozes with soul and traditional character. From organic and biodynamic vineyards just south and a bit east of Tuscany, this drinks like a hypothetical “Brunello meets Chianti Classico.” Seriously folks, this is a wine that smells and tastes of Italy. A bottle of this, a big plate of pasta with Bolognese sauce, and you’re in for a great night.
2017 Fongoli Montefalco Rosso
“Brunello di Montalcino meets Chianti Classico in this bold and complex Italian red.”
Kevin McKenna of importer Louis Dressner had this to say about Fongoli: “We’ve known Giampiero Bea from Paolo Bea in Montefalco since the early nineties and have been fans of his wines even before that. Throughout the nineties into the aughts, we would ask Giampiero, is there no one in Umbria working the way you do and making real wines? The response was always a half-hearted pause in the guise of rumination and then a definitive ‘No.’ We imagine his response remains the same today.” But those “in the know” know that Fongoli is the hot new kid on the block.
Angelo Fongoli is the fourth generation to make wines at his family’s estate. He is also the one responsible for transforming this estate from a more commercial, quantity oriented one to an artisanal, quality oriented one. Angelo converted the vineyards to organics and biodynamics in the early 2010’s. He also made the move towards more diverse farming, and today the estate is composed of nearly 40 hectares of vines, olive trees, forest, and natural truffle production. This move towards healthier soils and polycultural agriculture has led to great results, and these days the family make their wines without the addition of sulfur or any other enological products. Ever heard of natural wine? It’s all the rage these days. This is a great example.
This blend of 60% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 15% Merlot, and 10% Montepulciano comes from certified organic vineyards. Fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts, the wine is aged for 18 months in older oak barrels before being bottled with minimal fining, filtration, or sulfur additions. The resulting wine takes about 5 to 10 minutes to “wake up,” but when it does, it’s a glorious glass of red wine. Abounding in aromas and flavors of baked plum, dark cherry, fig, warm spice, and dried marjoram, this medium to full bodied red is complex, hearty, and quite pleasing to the senses.
With cooler fall weather upon us, this is the kind of gutsy, warming red we’re all looking for. And I know if you’ve checked on pricing and availability for Paolo Bea’s wines recently…they’re great, but they’re hard to find and they aren’t cheap. Try this with any sort of Italian stew or braised meat. You’ll be glad you did!
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville