These tastings feature classic Umbrian wines produced by top wineries with typical regional foods. A recent gathering, for example, included: Grechetto DOC Colli Martani, a crisp pale yellow wine, with a nose of peaches and apricots and a subtle chalky hint. This is an ancient local grape originally introduced from Greece by Franciscan monks!
The lovely mineral finish of this sipping wine works well with the soft-textured white cacciotta cheese. Trebbiano (from Spoleto), a bright golden yellow wine, dry, crisp and with a cirus-flavored finish, historically cultivated in the hills of Spoleto toward Todi. An indigenous grape recently reintroduced on several local farms, this wine pairs well with pecorino cheese made from the milk of high-pastured sheep.
Montefalco Red Doc, derived from Sangiovese and Sagrantino grapes, is a big, ruby red wine with strong tannins a big structure, and a long flavor, a powerhouse among Italian reds. This wine goes well with most foods, and especially with pork, such as capoccollo (a cold pork dish), dried sausage, and Norcia ham. Sagrantino (red) wines, the calling card of Umbrian wine, made from Sagrantino grapes grown exclusively in five communes (among which Montefalco is the best known).
Sagrantino Secco is a big dry red, and requires extensive aging in wooden casks and in the bottle. It goes well with strong meats (At Bibenda we offer salami made from wild boar, deer salami, or black pork.) and well-aged cheeses, such as Canestrato from Assisi. (That cheese, one of our featured cheeses for tastings at Bibenda, recently won the title of “Best Pecorino Cheese” at a major European competition!). Sagrantino Passito, made from grapes that have been dried for at least two months before processing. The Passitio requires the same extensive aging as the Secco, but produces a sweet wine with a hint of tannic taste. Originally this wine was used to celebrate the Eucharist, but nowadays Sagrantino Passito is the most favored accompaniment for an Italian Easter breakfast of eggs, salami, and savory cheese cake. For tastings we pair this holiday wine with aged cheeses, sweet pastries, and cookies. Doesn’t that all sound yummy? It is always great fun for us at Bibenda Assisi to organize these special tastings of the very best in regional wine and artisanal food.