THE REGION OF UMBRIA lies in the center of Italy, sheltered on all sides by other Italian regions, including Tuscany on the northwest. As well as medieval hilltop villages and historic towns such as Assisi and Spoletto, Umbria is known for its white truffles in the fall and for its wines, particularly those made of Sagrantino. It is, in fact, the only wine region in Italy that grows the red Sagrantino grape.
Sagrantino’s arrival in Umbria is a mystery, with some sources claiming Franciscan monks brought it back from the East centuries ago and other sources claiming it is an Umbrian original. However Sagrantino came to Umbria, it does particularly well in that region’s clay, limestone and sandy soils, especially in the area around Montefalco, southeast of the region’s capital, Perugia.
These mystery vines produce deeply colored grapes that in turn make an especially dark, intense wine, with many wine professionals claiming it the most tannic of Italian reds.
One of Sagrantino’s true believers is Peter Heilbron. An Italian who spent most of his professional life as an executive in food and beverage companies, he decided some years ago to follow his true passion. He began Tenuta Bellafonte, his Umbrian winery, in Montefalco, where he dedicated 17 acres to Sagrantino vineyards. Like most Umbrian winemakers, he uses Sagrantino both in blends and as the primary grape in his wines.
Tasting his wines was to experience the full qualities of Sagrantino. Tenuta Bellafonte Montefalco Rosso Pomontino 2016 ($28–30), a blend of 80 percent Sangiovese and 20 percent Sagrantino, is a deep-colored, warm, inviting, extremely flavorful wine which owes its prominent body to the addition of Sagrantino.
We also tasted his Tenuta Bellafonte Montefalco Sagrantino Collenottolo 2013 ($50), deep-flavored, dark-shaded, intense, spicy and muscular with a smooth, forward taste. Collenottolo is the name of the vineyard where the Sagrantino grapes grow. This superb, full-bodied wine quite unlike other Italian wines offers an excellent introduction to the wines of Sagrantino.
Considering Sagrantino’s bold characteristics, it proves a perfect accompaniment to the highly flavorful winter dishes we tend to eat in the chills of January.
Once an abandoned 1923 constructed warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina, it took a creative group of designers, artists, musicians, chefs and business folks to transform a neglected, 100-year-old structure into one of Asheville’s most interesting and daring hotel projects.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Early on, pickleball had something to do with pickles. Pickles the dog, that is. In one story, the game was named for a family dog that ran off with the ball between sets.
One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.
JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City Polanco recently completed renovations of its entrances, lobby, culinary concepts and meeting space. This marks the final stage of the renovation, which began in 2021 with the revitalization of its 269 guestrooms and 45 suites.
Incentive travel has long been a way for organizations to drive sales and reward employees with opulent trips to exotic destinations. Today it encompasses even more.
You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.