Holy cow! I had the opportunity to attend a wine showcase for the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco, a wine producing area in the Umbria region of central Italy. I say “holy cow” because the event was held at the Manzo Restaurant (‘manzo’ means beef in Italian) which is located in the Eataly mega Italian gastronomy store. “Holy cow” is also appropriate because the event highlighted Sagrantino, the ‘newest’ noble wine variety of Italy, whose name can be traced to the ‘Sacrament’(because the grape was cultivated by monks to produce a raisin wine used for religious rites).

April is Sagrantino Month in New York City. The Consorzio will showcase its wines at a series of New York promotional and educational events. Please visit www.colangelopr.com/montefalco for event details.

Upon arrival at the Manzo Restaurant, I was greeted by a group of warm and welcoming Italian people who asked me to choose a seat at a series of beautifully appointed round tables. The restaurant is dominated by a long white marble top bar accented with many red hanging lamps. I attacked the bread basket and doused my bread pieces with olive oil as I listened to speeches presented by Consorzio president Guido Guardigli and Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti. The mayor of Montefalco followed. I was delighted that the mayor is a woman!  I enjoyed listening to her female toned Italian cadence while I watched a promotional film which explained that the Sagrantino grape is emblematic of central Italy and most especially the beautiful Umbria region.

The three course lunch was a special treat. I am praying that the Roman god of Italian spelling accuracy will be with me as I endeavor to replicate the menu list:

Course One: Zuppa Di Lenticchie Di Castelluccio Di Norcia

This delicious lentil soup was accompanied by the following wines:

  • Adanti, Montefalco Russo 2007
  • Castelbuono, Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2006
  • Perticaia, Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2006

Course Two: Gallina Ubriaca Di Sagrantino Di Montefalco

The tasty medallions of chicken suffused in aromatic wine flavor were accompanied by the following wines:

  • Caprai, Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2005
  • Colpetrone, Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2007
  • Scacciadiavoli, Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2005

Course Three: Pizza Dolce Di Pasqua

The liquor flavored ice cream paired with soft dough was accompanied by:

  • Antonelli, Sagrantino Di Montefalco Passito 2006

It was great to “mangiare” at Manzo. By all means participate in New York Sagrantino Month! As I bid “ciao” to this memorable event, I will not even think about praying that the effort to spell Italian words correctly burns many calories.

– Marleen Barr