Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso 2012

Very dark purple color; deep, dark purple-red grapes on the nose; intense black cherry, red currant, red fruits, burly, some tar on the palate.

Major oak, drying tannins, 15% alcohol, this is one big boy wine. Primarily sangiovese (Italy’s signature wine, produced in Tuscany, Campania, and Umbria—where this wine comes from), blended with some barbera and sagrantino. The juice soaked on skins for more than a month to create the puckering tannins, there also is sangiovese acidity here. Then it aged for six months in French oak barriques (smaller barrels that impart more oak influence), then 12 months in larger French oak barrels (less oak influence, but still total of 18 months in oak). This wine will take a heavily marbled, rich red meat steak and quickly slap it into whimpering submission. It also will stampede over the faint of palate, so know what you are getting into when you pull cork on this baby (although “baby” is in no way the appropriate noun for this effort).

Four generations of the Tabarrini family nestled in the corner of Umbria outside of Montefalco passionately tending their vineyards, yielding exceptional fruit for producing distinctive wines. Then, in the late 1990s, Giampaolo Tabarrini put years of experience to use and decided to bottle his own wine. Giampaolo now makes some of the most highly respected wines from Central Italy. Tabarrini claims to produce the top three wines in the region and the winery is called “The Rising Star of Umbria.” Major wine experts tend to agree.

Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso 2012 clearly is a player in the massive red wine category. Some sippers will genuflect in fawning admiration, others will recoil in palate-puckered horror. Such is the wonder of wine. $23-24

Tabarrini website

Other photos: Umbria and Tabarrini vineyards, Umbria and mountains, Sangiovese grapes

Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso 2012
Umbria and Tabarrini vineyards
Umbria and mountains
Sangiovese grapes