Paolo Bea “Cerrete” Montefalco Sagrantino Secco 2012

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The family has owned a parcel in Cerrete, the highest-altitude vineyard in Montefalco, for some time, but it wasn’t until the 2007 vintage that Giampiero deemed the vines old enough to do justice to the cru’s potential. With its poor, mineral-rich soils and its acidity-preserving altitude (450 to 500 meters), Cerrete yields a wine not more powerful than Bea’s other pure-Sagrantino titan “Pagliaro,” but with greater nuance and a finer expression of detail. In acknowledgment of its stature, Giampiero gives it an additional year in large Slavonian oak, making for an astonishing five-year stint in barrel before the requisite long resting period in bottle. In line with Bea’s other 2012s, this Cerrete evokes autumn in its warmly spicy nose, its notes of fresh tobacco and moist soil, and its mellow, caressing fruit character. The greatness of the site expresses itself in a level of finesse that Bea’s other wines, magnificent though they are, cannot quite attain.