How We Met the Valentini Family
At a dinner party in Garden City, New York, Anthony’s father met a friendly, Italian winemaker named Valentino who owns the Azienda Agricola of the Valentini Bocale family in Montefalco, Italy. Anthony’s dad passed on Valentino’s number to us in case we ever were in the area. Since we we were driving from Perugia to Rome and literally passing Valentino’s town, we decided to give him a call. It was grape harvesting season in Italy and what better place to be at than a vineyard, plus we were both really interested in winemaking! We arrived at the beautiful vineyard and upon meeting Valentino, his mom Luciana, brother Antonello, his father Enio, we immediately offered a helping hand. In exchange, they offered us a place to stay and meals, but they first encouraged us to take a day off to explore the local towns of Spello and Assisi.
About the Vineyard
Bocale has been in Valentino’s family for generations and Valentino and Antonello decided it was their duty to preserve their vineyard and it’s legacy! The name “Bocale” in dialect represents a two liter jug that usually contains wine and is passed around to enjoy during a family meal. Family meals are an important part of the Valentini family as each and everyday they gather after a hard day’s work around dinner made by their mom and incredible cook Luciana! We were lucky enough to learn two of Luciana’s favorite recipes: salsicce e lenticchie and spaghetti con tartufo nero.
Valentino brings new school knowledge to old school wine making. The family picks each and every grape to be used for the annual winemaking. Bocale wine is a representation of their philosophy and traditions and is based upon respecting each other and the environment, while making hand crafted wine that represents the natural, product of the area. They host visits and winetastings on their breathtaking vineyard where you can meet the Valentini Family.
How We Helped
Unfortunately the Valentini's had picked the grapes a few days prior to our arrival so we did not have the opportunity to pick grapes or witness the critical decision of when to harvest! Do the grapes have the right level or sugar, acid, and pH? Should we follow grandpa’s tradition and wait until a full moon? But not so unfortunate, because with picked grapes comes winemaking! It was time to help with the primary fermentation of red grapes. After harvesting the grapes sit in a huge vat to ferment. Fermentation is the process where the naturally occurring yeast feeds on the natural sugars in the grape must and produce carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. It was time to pump the free run wine into the secondary fermentation/aging tank, press the grape skins to extract the most liquid possible, and add this liquid to the fermentation tanks...a full days affair! Anthony jumped right into things as he learned how to used the pump and tubes, raked out the grape skins, climbed the ladder to check on the liquid level, and sanitized the room after the process was complete, while Leila helped with a winetasting event. Just before we closed the wine vat to ensure that it did not oxigenize, sulfites were added to prevent unwanted fermentation. We cleaned up, washed our red hands off, gave each other high fives and made our way to the incredible family dinner which Leila and Luciana had prepared. Check out Luciana's Spaghetti con Tartufo Nero Recipe and Salsicce con Lenticchie Recipe on our recipes page!
What type of wines does Valentino Valentini produce?
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Made only from Sagrantino grapes, this product is DOCG which is controlled designation of origin guaranteed meaning Sagrantino DOCG must be produced only in a certain region with certain parameters of the grapes used. Another requirement is that Sagrantino DOCG must be aged for at least 30 months in which 12 months must be in wooden barrels.For a wine to be DOCG they have a special seal that is only given after government licensed officials have inspected the wine. This wine is rich in flavor and great to enjoy everyday!
Montefalco Rosso DOC
Controlled designation of origin wine these rules are a little less strict that the DOCG status because although the region where the wine can be produced is controlled, there is a variance of grapes used in the production, specifically sangiovese (60-70%), sagrantino (10 –15%) and other grapes (Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon, etc.). Each producer creates their own unique flavor based upon the percentage they choose!
Montefalco Sagrantino Passito
Similar to Sagrantino DOCG because it is exclusively made from the native Sagrantino grapes, the Sagrantino Passito is another incredible wine that is made by Bocale. The difference between Sagrantino DOCG and Passito are that the grapes for Passito are specifically selected and are dried out for 2 months before producing the wine. Also to note while Passito must be fermented for 30 months This is a signature wine of Bocale and they produce it in limited quantities.
Grappa di Sagrantino
This alcohol is 40% by volume and is made from the Pomace of the Sagrantino grapes. Pomace is the skins, seeds, stems, and stalks that remain after pressing. The pomace is then fermented and then distilled to form Grappa. It is a colorless and crystalline alcohol that is commonly drank as a digestive.
The Bocale Farm Valentini Family
Via Fratta Alzatura 06036 Montefalco, Umbria, Italy
tel +39 0742 399233 fax +39 0742 510015
VISITING THE WINERY
You can book a tour every day:
call or e-mail: +39 0742 399233