UMBRIA – TOSCANA (8) … SCACCIADIAVOLI
The last two visits of this short Umbrian discovery press-trip were also quite impressive. The first one, Azienda Agraria SCACCIADIAVOLI di Pambuffetti was like an ecomuseum of the farmer’s life in the past century. A very singular experience in a surrounding that just could have been used as a set for Bertolucci’s fabulous film (Mil)NOVECENTO. The place has a kind of historical magic; the mighty wine cellars are really awesome. Indeed a weird, fascinating experience.
Old and new, under one roof…
The people there, the Pambufetti family owners, the staff, the workers, all of them seem to be part of a great show, a narration of the Italian agriculture of the past. No need any more to call the exorcist, chasing the devil out of our mind in this historical twilight zone. The name ‘scacciadiavoli’ refers to the ‘devil chaser’ who used to live in the surroundings, long ago, exorcizing young people by inebriating them with the strong local red wine! We didn’t meet any devil around during our visit, just gorgeous ladies and friendly workers… Have a look at the nice video on their website – a little bit historical as well – to have a better idea of what was/is this agriculture complex.
The extremely charming Liù Pambuffetti was our hostess during this fascinating visit and of course during the tasting.
Our hostess, Liù Pambuffetti on the right
Scacciadiavoli produces 5 types of wine, soon even more. Our ‘mise en bouche’ was quite unique: a Spumante brut metodo classico made from sagrantino (red grapes vinified as a white wine) with an additional 15% of chardonnay. This experimental wine started with an aging on lees of 12 months, but stays nowadays at least 24 months on the lees. The meanings about this wine were not really unanimous. Some did enjoy it very much, some, like me, appreciated the technically well-made wine, but did not really see the need of making such a wine in a region that is not really appropriate for producing sparkling wines. May be the future will quash my opinion, I certainly do hope so for this very sympathetic company, but at this very moment, I am quite skeptical for one more sparkling wine that doesn’t go much further than ‘fresh, pleasant, vivid, well-balanced and quite aromatic’… It seems to me much more an economical interesting way of getting rid of grapes from too young vineyards, but this can be done everywhere. The very characteristic organoleptic properties of the sagrantino grape are not enough rendered in this wine. May be in the future…
Scacciadiavoli grechetto dell’Umbria IGT 2009: A fresh, fruity, mineral and juicy wine, very nice and pleasant, but for me a little bit too much ‘international’ in its style. (Could it be because of the use of selected ‘aromatic’ yeasts instead of ‘neutral’?). Good value for money, € 5-6 at the winery.
Scacciadiavoli Montefalco rosso DOC 2007: Made of sangiovese, sagrantino and merlot. That’s much better! Fresh, genuine aromatic, lovely fruity, pure and elegant; fresh, fruity, soft, juicy and very digestible, with a round and velvety finish. Good wine. Good value for money, € 8-9 at the winery.
Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino secco DOCG 2005: Very nice bouquet, ripe fruity and spicy, with a hint of warm saddle leather, vanillin and cinnamon. Good acidity, good and ripe tannins, quite elegant compared to some other wines we tasted elsewhere and very digestible. Not so bitter as many others, earlier accessible and enjoyable. Well-made, very well balanced, with a long and lush fruity and spicy finish. Good wine. Good value for money, € 20 at the winery.
Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino passito DOCG 2005: Great, deep and appealing color, ruby red with typical garnet accents; Great acidity, good and ripe tannins, plenty of juice, lovely fruit and sensual spices, slightly mineral finale, which gives a well-balanced and not so sweetish aftertaste. Very good!