The hills undulating down from Montefalco are laced with vineyards of the Sagrantino, a prized grape indigenous a to very limited area of Umbria.
….and mamma mia, how these wines – and not only! – are feted in Montefalco during their late September weekend festival, Enologica Montefalco (“Wine-making Montefalco”). This year, the fortieth edition animated Montefalco.
The Saturday morning parade of grape-festooned floats pulled by tractors – arriving from the various villages and rural areas around Montefalco – serpentined downhill outside of Montefalco’s medieval walls.
Ebullient groups of friends and families on the floats celebrated il buon vino, acting out fondly remembered scenes of rural life: older gentlemen playing cards in the evenings, accordion players at the rural dances to celebrate a completed vendemmia (grape harvest) and other harvest-celebration moments.
Many floats were preceded or followed by young people in rural dress, some carrying sweets and breads, others bearing barnyard animals.
In the centro storico of Montefalco, wine appassionati visitors gathered in the cloister flanking the medieval church dedicated to St. Augustine to purchase a wine glass for tastings. The wine glasses nestled in sagrantino-colored cotton bags were draped around the neck…..
…..and then into the vaulted 15th-century monastery halls for guided wine-tastings by vinters producing the prized Sagrantino wines. And not only….
Some visitors wishing to have a snack along with their sips of vino, opted for a prosciutto sandwich. Others chose goats’ milk cheese tidbits.
And while leaving this gem of a medieval hilltown, how not to notice the grape and vino motif everywhere? In the restaurant facades and along restaurant railings, in the textile displays in shop windows…..
And before we left, we stopped at Montefalco’s gelateria.
I wanted to see if Sagrantino was starring in the gelati for this “wine-making” weekend.
Si, logicamente – and in two flavors: Sagrantino grapes paired with peaches…
……and those Sagrantino grapes enhancing white chocolate.
Mamma mia, all of you Montefalchesi certainly know how to center- stage your prized Sagrantino!
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