A journey to the Colleallodole Farm in Umbria, where Francesco Antano produces wines with a strong personality. His wines have an honorary place among Montefalco producers
Milziade Antano Fattoria Colleallodole
Via Colleallodole, 3 Bevagna (Pg) – 0742.361897; 335.8342207
Average price: Reds €€€ – Whites €€ (from € to €€€€)
by Emanuela De Pinto
Rough and concrete, but also elegant and with a strong personality. We’re not sure if this is a description of the wine or of its producer, since they reflect one another: his hands create wine, the glass gives back its flavors. Milziade Antano Fattoria Colleallodole, Umbria, between Bevagna and Montefalco, is one of the first companies that started specializing in viticulture in 1978. Today their Sagrantino is famous worldwide, but achieving this recognition hasn’t been easy.
Francesco Antano, the owner, learned the business at a young age from his father Milziade. The 75 acres of the vineyards represent his roots. He tells us his story from the beginning. In 1978 they owned 1,2 acres, and they sold unpackaged wine. In 1980 they produced 50 bottles, today they produce 100,000. They have seven labels: Grechetto Igt, Bianco di Milziade Igt, Cerasolo Igt, Montefalco Rosso Doc, Montefalco Rosso Riserva Doc, Montefalco Sagrantino Docg, Montefalco Sagrantino Colleallodole Docg and Montefalco Sagrantino Passito Docg.
In 2001 Francesco lost his father and he remained alone at the head of the winery, working a lot. One day, the American wine critic Robert Parker, wrote a great review of his Sagrantino, the first of a long series. The jewels of the company are Grechetto Igt dei Colli Martani and Bianco di Milziade Igt. The white Grechetto Igt dei Colli Martani, with hints of medlar, lemon and pineapple has a good equilibrium between acidity and alcohol content. The white Bianco di Milziade Igt, is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano Spoletino, savoury and delicate, with hints of pear, peach and citron.
The reds are simply amazing: the grapes are left in maceration for a long time, fermentation happens in steel and ageing in oak barrels. The Montefalco Rosso Doc (70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino and 15% Merlot) is a delicate ruby red wine. More delicate than Sagrantino, it is aged 24 months, of which 12 in wood and 4-6 in bottles.
The Montefalco Rosso Riserva Doc is one of our favourites (65% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) because of its refined tannins. It’s aged 36 months, 12-15 in wood e 4-6 in bottles.
Francesco Antano produces two Sagrantinos. The Montefalco Sagrantino Docg is a traditional Sagrantino, with purple reflexes, hints of cherry, prune, leather and tobacco. You can take a sip and still taste it 15 minutes after. The top is Montefalco Sagrantino Colleallodole Docg. We couldn’t visit the vineyard, unfortunately, because it’s located in a secret place, called Cru in France: that piece of vineyard that produces superior quality, thanks to soil properties and sun exposition.
“We made a discovery in 1997. My father and I were in the middle of the harvest season. We were producing 30 hectoliters of Sagrantino in 20 and 10 hectoliters tanks. The small tank was a pleasant surprise. As the wine was ageing, we realized that grape from that part of the vineyard had intense aromas and perfumes. As a tribute to the skylarks that were migrating in that period above the vineyard, we called the wine Sagrantino Colleallodole (Skylarks Hill).” If you’ve never tasted it, you should soon. It’s a rough and outspoken wine. Violently aristocratic. Good for meditation. When aged, it reveals its spirituality.
To fully understand the philosophy of this company we must add a couple of things: the genuineness of its wines begins in the vineyard, worked with natural methods without chemicals treatments. This is the real Made in Italy, also in regard to the wooden barrels: oak from Slavonia is cut with axes and not saws, leaving the pores open and making the tannins softer. The barrels are toasted in Italy. The corks are personalized with the impression of Francesco’s profile.
The wines can be tasted for free in the winery, even if their price is medium-high. This generosity is in perfect equilibrium with their pride in the vineyard. Francesco says: “In the recent past, Italians lost the pleasure of drinking a good wine. Today we’ve rediscovered conviviality, ceremonies, the harmony that a good bottle in company can bring. We can truly fall in love with wine, and with the territories that wine describes”.