Tenute Lunelli Ziggurat Montefalco Rosso 201

Deep, inky purple-ruby color; dark red fruits on the nose; blackberry, strawberry, black cherry, plum, bare hint of vanilla on the palate.

Drinks a bit like a chianti but with plenty of added attitude; 70% sangiovese, 15% sagrantino, 10% merlot, 5% cabernet sauvignon blend. A dry, big, fresh, power wine that clearly, clearly benefits from exposure to air/decanting. The fact the wine is only recently released after five years in bottle tells you something.

This comes from Montefalco region in Umbria, half-way between Rome and Florence, a region south of Tuscany noteworthy for full-bodied whites and powerful reds. Sissy grapes don’t grow there. The sagrantino grape delivers very big tannins and structure; it often is described as brooding and is the only grape allowed in Sagrantino di Montefalco wine. This bottling softens the effort with its dominant sangiovese, but—with the exception of 10% merlot—all the grapes in this wine are big boys with tattoos and headbands riding Harleys.

Softening sagrantino with sangiovese and cab is like lightly tapping the brakes after you exceed 140 mph. If you are intimidated by big tannin, big structure, pucker-your-palate pours, this wine is not for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy off-road racing in your wine travels, pop the cork on this and enjoy the pucker, the head-slamming flavor, and the inky tongue. You are forewarned and informed. $16

Tenute Lunelli website

Second, third photos: Dramatic Tenute Lunelli winery in Umbria and vineyards.
Tenute Lunelli Ziggurat Montefalco Rosso 2010
Dramatic Tenute Lunelli winery
Tenute Lunelli vineyards