“Huge does not just mean BIG,” Giampaolo Tabarrini exclaims about the wines of Montefalco, “everyone thinks it means big and bossy – no! Huge means…” he pauses, resets, and plainly states, “Huge means: I want to say a lot of things.” The wines, and winemaker, of Tabarrini are certainly huge by this definition, providing the sort of long and persistent quality on the palate that evades any sense of boredom. The wines demand attention, and while many of the Sagrantinos of Montefalco are often described in aggressive or overbearing terms, Tabarrini’s wine stand apart for their layered complexity and nuance.
The wines are uniquely crafted, utilizing regionally specific varietals and bottling by site where warranted. The white produced here, Adarmando, utilizes vines over 100 years old, with specialized harvesting and winemaking catering to the unique quality of these grapes. Boccatone, their only blend, is formed from a base of Sangiovese that demonstrates how well the varietal grows around the hills of Umbria, along with Barbera and the indigenous Sagrantino. The hillside Sagrantino vineyards, Grimaldeso, Colle alle Macchie and Campo alle Cerqua, are given their own bottlings, with differing vinification processes to support the style each site expresses.
Care and attention to detail are keys of the estate’s prolonged success, with a large facility to create, hold and store the wines at their disposal. Such a space is needed, as winemaker Giampaolo Tabarrini takes a micro-level approach to the wines, requiring a multitude of equipment to give the winemaker everything he needs. While vintage variation undoubtedly plays into the character of the wines, there is an estate style that is aimed for, meaning details of maceration and elevage will evolve year-to-year. The results are consistently powerful, with graceful complexity in the Adarmando and Boccatone and definable differences between the single vineyard Sagrantinos.
Huge is a word often used negatively in the wine world, to describe wines that are off-balance or saturated or manipulated. Giampaolo Tabarrini understands the weight of this word, then takes a special pleasure in flipping it on its head. Tabarrini’s wines are huge by Gimapaolo’s definition, with their ability to demand a response and hold the taster’s attention – huge, in that they have a lot to say.
Montefalco Sagrantino Passito
Montefalco Sagrantino Passito DOCG
Made in the traditional way, Tabarrini’s Montefalco Sagrantino Passito is a decadent dessert wine built from the region’s famed varietal. The Sagrantino grapes are left to dry on straw mats for three months before fermentation, concentrating the flavors and sugars to produce a bold and fragrant style of sweet wine.
Tabarrini Colle Alle Macchie
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Colle alle Macchie sits at the top of a separate hill from where the rest of the wines are located and sourced. Thus, here is a differing profile of the Tabarrini single site wines, with clay rich soils and unrestricted southern exposure providing extra opulence in the glass.
Campo Alla Cerqua
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
The poor soils and eastern exposure of Campo alla Cerqua produce a wine of grace and mineral driven complexity. Within the lineup, the wine stands out for its finer, silkier texture and its decadently perfumed aromatics.
Montefalco Rosso DOC
Boccatone is a joyful expression of Montefalco and a wonderful counterpart to the single vineyard Sagrantinos of Tabarrini. Made from a majority of Sangiovese and finished with Barbera and Sagrantino, the blend expresses the serious and age worthy side of the estate with an accessibly joyful palate.
Bianco Umbria IGT
Tabarrini’s premier white wine demonstrates the through line of power and elegance that Montefalco imbues in its wines. Adarmando utilizes 100+ year old Trebbiano Spoletino vines that show the level to which old vines concentrate and layer flavor in the glass. This site is the last of Tabarrini’s to be harvested, a decision that requires the difficult task of vinifying the reds, cleaning equipment, and then making the white. Only free run juice is used, with the wine spending a year on the lees with occasional battonage.
Tabarrini Colle Alle Macchie 2016 (94 VM)
Vinous - "Rich plum and cherry sauce mixes with hints of ginger, sweet spice and dusty rose as the 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino Colle alle Macchie blossoms in the glass. There’s an energy here that captures the attention; this is silky in feel yet also surprisingly juicy and spry, with tart cherries giving way to complementary notes of clove and cinnamon. Of course, this is a young Sagrantino, and as such, its grippy tannins take control through the finale, but there’s plenty of residual acids and zesty citrus to keep the expression quite interesting. " - E.G 7/2021
Giampaolo Tabarrini is the fourth generation to make wine at the Turrita estate, having manned the helm since the 90s. Under his watchful eye, the various sites of the estate are given individualized attention and consideration. The wines show someone incredibly serious about his product and place, willing to evolve and change as the estate around him demands.