100% Sagrantino from vineyards in Bevagna. The vines are 12-15 years old and grow at 853-1,050 feet above sea level. The grapes are not crushed, but simply de-stemmed so as to make vinification as gentle as possible, then transferred to the stainless steel vats, where they begin fermentation with only naturally occurring yeast. Skin maceration lasts about two weeks. After a few weeks’ rest and some decanting, the wine is transferred to the ageing cellars and placed in large Slavonian oak barrels of no less than 30 hectoliters. The resulting wine is aged in oak a minimum of 3 years. The wine is subsequently bottled, unfiltered, and undergoes another 10 months’ bottle age previous to release. Bright ruby red color with notes of blackberries and wild berries alternate with spicy and mineral sensations, which gradually become more and more sophisticated and complex. The mouth has a great texture and energy.
The region of Umbria is 3,269 square miles and is one of Italy’s tiniest, the approximate equivalent to twice the state of Rhode Island. Umbria is called the heart of Italy and it is easy to see why. It is nestled right at the geographic core of the peninsula in verdant isolation; its rolling, restful scenery has inspired some of the country’s finest art and spirituality.
Peter Heilbron, a Milanese-born executive from the food & beverage sector, fell in love with Umbria’s calm setting while he was working for Nestle. After a few years as CEO of Martini & Rossi, then Heineken Italy, Peter decided to act on his passion for the unique terroir of Montefalco and Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, a powerful new star in Italian wine.
Peter Heilbron purchased 74 acres (30 hectares) close to Bevagna, in one of the region’s most untouched, pristine landscapes. Of the 74 acres he purchased 17 acres were dedicated to growing Sagrantino which is easily recognizable in autumn thanks to the fiery color of the leaves. The vines grow at an altitude of 853-1,050 feet above sea level, and are planted on tough, sunny and stony soil that alternates the area’s typical clay with marly and arenaceous formations. The remaining 57 acres include woodland, a small orchard, and 2,500 olive trees of the classic local varieties: moraiolo, frantoio and leccino, yielding superb extra virgin olive oil.
The entire property aims at blending into the landscape, with an underground winery and cellars and minimal impact on the environment. The estate is energy independent and uses solar panels and a biomass boiler: no damage, no waste; even the residues of pruning are employed to produce energy. The winery itself rests on a stainless steel and stone structure in direct contact with the rocky soil, and enjoys ideal ventilation thanks to underground conduits that circulate outside air and ensure naturally cool temperatures. Hot air exits the winery through two large chimneys.
This same, eco-friendly logic applies to the Heilbrons’ viticultural practices. Fertilization is entirely natural, by means of manure. Chemical herbicides are avoided and the trickiest work is performed manually: pruning, canopy management, green harvest and proper harvest, when fruit is hand-picked and placed in small boxes.
In Peter’s words “We wish to create a great wine, which respects both nature and tradition, by interpreting the natural exuberance of Sagrantino grapes in an elegant and refined way.”