It has been some time since I have reviewed a wine from Paolo Bea. This does not align with the frequency with which I drink them. I have been drinking these wines since 2010, first at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. For me, Bea is one of the best winemakers in Italy. His avowed dedication to the ‘natural wine’ movement is, for me, secondary to his skill in implementing an extremely challenging wine-making philosophy with incredible consistency (for more on his philosophy see my previous posts on Bea). His wines are varietally true, distinctive, texturally lithe, and massively aromatic. His Sagrantino based wines are the most drinkable expressions of that variety and better than most wines from both Umbria and Tuscany. On top of it, the wines are cleanly made. This is a remarkable achievement with a no additive and low to no sulphur approach for wines sold in an overseas market.
The World’s Best Sagrantino?
The Pagliaro is Bea’s top Sagrantino bottling. It is not in the same family as the Umbrian Sagrantino you have likely had. The wine has compelling aromatics that are more expressive than most central Italian wines. It is texturally medium bodied, with tame tannins and bright acidity. It is a juicy wine while also being extremely serious and age-worthy. It is accessible on the younger side but can age for a couple decades.
~$100 + tax at Kits Wine