Antonelli of Montefalco: One of Italy’s Top Wine Estates

Filippo Antonelli

This historic estate dating back to the 13th century was purchased in the late 19th century by Francesco Antonelli.  His descendant Filippo Antonelli, a graduate of Perugia University with a degree in agriculture, assumed management of the vineyard and winery in 1986 and transformed the estate into one of Montefalco’s premier producers.  An inveterate researcher, he has spent years exploring the role of terroir and wine in Montefalco, demonstrated most strikingly in his two very different single vineyard Sagrantinos, Chiusa di Pannone and Molina dell’Attone, reviewed below. In 2009 he began the process of converting the estates 50 hectares of vineyards to organic viticulture. He also built a new three level, gravity flow winery allowing for gentle pressing and delicate extractions.  The Sagrantinos are given extended aging  (in total, 5+ years) in large, old Austrian Stockinger botti, concrete vats, and bottle and are released later than most producers, softening the grape’s notorious tannins.  Filippo Antonelli was president of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco for over a decade and today is veneered along with Arnaldo Caprai as the region’s quality pioneers. The resident winemaker is Massimilliano Caburazzi, and the consulting enologist is Paolo Salvi. These wines were tasted at the Antonelli winery located outside the town of Montefalco during the 2022 Anteprima.

The estate is mentioned in several medieval documents. From the 13th to the 19th century, the property belonged to the bishop of Spoleto. In fact, the current boundaries are practically the same as those described in a 13th century document currently preserved in the Bishop’s Archive. In 1881, it was bought by Francesco Antonelli, a lawyer from Spoleto. A report from 1899 mentions that the vineyards were already planted with 5,000 vines per hectare and that the red wines were showing excellent characteristics.

Several US importers including Chambers & Chambers, OmniWines, and Piedmont Wine Imports.

The Wines

Antonelli 2021 Trebium Trebbiano Spoletino Spoleto DOC 91  Light yellow straw color. Shows a mineral-citrus nose with floral nuances. Somewhat shy on the palate, perhaps due to recently bottling. Pear, white stone fruit and green citrus show on a round, full palate with firm acidity. Nicely focused with a clean finish. Sourced from a vineyard planted with a massale selection of the best old Trebbiano Spoletino vines grown on a hill at 350m altitude with western exposure. Macerated with skin contact, then softly pressed and fermented in large, used Austrian oak barrels. Aged on the lees for 6 months. Since this wine had been recently bottled, we also tried the 2018 vintage at the winery. It was considerably more complex and expressive with gorgeous tangy, integrated acidity. The 2021 vintage has the potential to develop like the 2018.

Antonelli 2019 Anteprima Tonda Trebbiano Spoletino Spoleto DOC 93  Sourced from the same vineyard as the Trebium, the Anteprima sees much different winemaking: 6 months of skin contact and fermentation with ambient yeast in different kinds of amphorae. It reveals a bright and tangy nose of earthy, dried fruit. Full in the mouth with impressive depth of layered rich flavors, it’s very long and rich on the finish with light gripping tannins, finishing dry.   A winner for those of us who like “orange” wines.

Antonelli 2018 Rosso Riserva Montefalco DOC 92 Red fruit and herbal, toasty notes show on the nose of this excellent Rosso from the outstanding 2018 vintage.  Refined mouth feel with beautiful cherry and berry aromas and flavors with touches of earth. A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Sagrantino sourced from vines aged 15+ years planted at 300-400m with a south-southwest exposure. Matured in large oak barrels for 18 months. 14.5% alc.

Antonelli 2016 Sagrantino Montefalco DOC 93 Medium dark red in color with a fresh, red fruited nose with loamy earth accents. Mouthfilling fruit sweetness on the attack belies the powerful underlying tannin structure on the finish. Made with 25-40 days maceration and matured in large oak barrels for 18+ months. 15% alc. We also tasted the 2008 vintage of the same wine, which had a velvet smooth mouthfeel and lovely, integrated earth and dark red fruit flavors and accessible tannins. The 2016 wine should evolve in a similar way.

 Antonelli 2016 Chiusa di Pannone Sagrantino Montefalco DOC 95 An especially fragrant Sagrantino showing earthy dark red fruit and floral nuances. It’s elegantly textured with excellent concentration and fine, firm tannins.   Sourced from a 400m high, south facing parcel planted in 1995 in an historical part of the estate with soils of calcareous clay and alluvial stone.  Matured in 5 hl barrels for 6 months followed by 25 months in 25 hl casks, 6 months in glass-lined concrete vats and 2 years in bottle.

Antonelli 2016 Molina dell’Attone Sagrantino Montefalco DOC 93 An especially polished Sagrantino, the Molina dell’Attone offers a perfumed bouquet of cherries and earthy spices. On the palate, it’s light and elegant with good depth and fine, integrated tannins.  Sourced from a single, east facing vineyard planted in 1990. Aged in 500L oak barrels for about 40 months.

Antonelli 2016 Passito Sagrantino Montefalco DOC 93 An amazing Passito with a powerful, Port-like nose of rich, dark red berries and cherries with herbal and oak nuances. Very rich on a creamy palate with perfect acid-sugar balance.  The grapes are dried for two months prior to fermentation and then matured in 25 hl oak barrels for 12+ months followed by extended bottle aging. RS 110 g/L; 14.5% alc.

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Antonelli of Montefalco: One of Italy’s Top Wine Estates  
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