Tabarrini is an estate winery in the Montefalco region of Umbria. It produces white wines under the Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino DOC. Red wines appear under the Montefalco Rosso DOC and Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG.
Owner: Giampaolo Tabarrini. Fifth generation. He took over here in 1996 aged 22, when the Montefalco region was less renowned that it is now. His father and grandfather used to sell the wines in bulk, but over time Giampaolo switched the business towards estate bottling. He asked himself ‘why would people want to buy my wine?’ He decided to hold back three vintages and release them later than usual, so making them easier for consumers (and the press) to get to grips with, gaining the top rating of 3 glasses (‘tre bicchieri’) from Italy’s influential Gambero Rosso. His grandfather made the wines in a room in his house (with cows in the garden outside). In the early 2000s Giampaolo moved the winemaking vats to another nearby building, and in 2003 Giampaolo built his own cellar, even if, as he says ‘it was not the building of my dreams’. He later enlarged the cellar to make working easier. From 2003 he could ferment grapes from his three single vineyards apart.
Vineyards: On the southern slopes of the town of Montefalco.
Other crops: 7ha of cereal crops. The grain is milled as used a food for pigs.
Kitchen garden: Family garden. The food is both for the family and for guests of the winery (journalists, wine lover clients, visitors coming for paid tasting): pigs, lambs, ducks, guinea fowl, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, pigeons, eggs (eg. for fresh pasta made daily), vegetables, salads etc.
Winemaking: No pumps are used during winemaking.
Adarmando: The first Umbrian white wine to get 3 glasses (‘tre bicchieri’) from the Gambero Rosso (see above) in 2007. Armando was Giampaolo Tabarrini’s maternal grandfather. He was a butcher. The wine comes from very old Trebbiano Spoletino vines trained up trees dating from the 1920. South-east facing. 350 metres. Sandy clay. Made only from free run juice. Giampaolo Tabarrini and Paolo Bea were the modern pioneers of Spoletino. | 2009 13.5%. Golden colour (visit 16 Feb 2019). | 2011 Umbria IGT. 100% Trebbiano Spoletino. Fermented in stainless steel. 13.5%. | 2013 14%. Hot. Downy mildew pressure. Low yield. Low acid. Creamy, saline yellow fruit (visit 16 Feb 2019). | 2017 L01/19. 13.5% alc. Clear yellow fruit aromas, textured palate with savoury-salty fruit and plenty of depth (05 Aug 2020), bottle brought by Roger Bissell who had visited Tabarrini earlier that day.
Boca di Rosa: From a Sagrantino vineyard deemed best for pink rather than red wines. South-east facing. 360 metres. Planted 1995. Guyot. Sandy, muddy, with some clay and river pebbles. The name comes from the opening line of a popular Italian song by Fabrizio De Andrè. Bocca di Rosa is the subject of the song. She is a “lady of the night” and she dispenses “love” all around. | 2012 Umbria IGT. Sagrantino. 15%.
Il Padrone delle Vigne: ‘The Godfather of the Vines’. This is dedicated to Giampaolo’s paternal grandfather Giovanni, in recognition of the indispensable wealth of advice and experience he passed on to his grandson (Giovanni was a winemaker). A wine for everyday drinking. Mainly Sangiovese, plus a little Barbera and Sagrantino. Vines planted 1996. 5,500 vines/ha. 420 metres. South-east facing.
Il Piantagrero: Made with an indigenous variety called Grero which Giampaolo Tabarrini discovered in 2007 having been asked to prune the vines in a local vineyard owned by a lady from Rome. He propagated cuttings and ended up planting a hectare of Grero in 2006. Grero is late ripening, producing a wine with only moderate alcohol however, a deep purple colour (even deeper than Sagrantino, and holds its colour) and high acidity. The clusters are small and weight around 60-80 grammes. | 2013 The debut vintage. | 2015 13% alc. 316 bottles. | 2016 Not made.
Montefalco Rosso DOC, Boccaton : 2010 Sangiovese, Barbera and Sagrantino. 18m in ‘botti’ and barrels. 15.5% alc.
Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Campo alla Cerqua: The field of the oak tree, ‘cerqua’ deriving from ‘quercus’, the evergeen oak in this case. The soil of the Cerqua vineyard is stony, looser and lighter than Grimaldesco or Macchie and it enjoys easterly exposure. The wine is aged in large barrels. | 2006 Debut. 15% alc. | 2008 15%.
Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Colle alle Macchie: The highest point on the southern side of Montefalco. ‘Macchie’ means ‘oak forest’ in local parlance. From deep clay soils. South-facing, so very ripe, muscular and powerful.
Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Colle Grimaldesco: This translates as the ‘Hill of Grimaldesco’. Grimwald is a Longobard name. The Longobards (‘long beards’) arrived in this area in the 6th-century AD and were fairly destructive. This was Giampaolo’s first Sagrantino, which brought him early critical acclaim. The 100% Sagrantino grapes are guyot pruned, and planted at 5,500 vines per hectare. From silt-rich (river clay) and clay soil. 420 metres, well exposed to the southeast. | 2006 Menthol notes, nice zip to the tannins (visit 16 Feb 2019). | 2008 15.5% alc.
Tabolio: An Extra Virgin Olive oil (Olio extra vergine di oliva) from Moraiolo, Leccino and Frantoiano olives.
Azienda Agricola Tabarrini Giampaolo
Frazione Turrita, I-06036 Montefalco (PG = Perigia), Italy
Tel+39 0742 379351 | www.tabarrini.com