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The Feiring Line: Filippo Antonelli. The Sagrantino Voice of Reason
The Antonelli estate dates back at least to the Middle Ages, with mentions in documents of its suitability to growing grapes and olives. Francesco Antonelli bought the estate in 1881 and it has been in the family since. They’ve been planting and farming from the beginning, but started bottling and marketing its wines in 1979.
Antonelli wines are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes, which are all organically grown (started in 2009; certified in 2012) and vinified with an eye toward preserving quality and integrity. There are 40 hectares under vine, on hilly slopes with an average altitude of 350 m. Soil is clay with limestone deposits, with some parts rich in fossils, contributing intense and varied tones to the grapes. Sagrantino and Sangiovese are the main red varietals, but Montepulciano, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are also grown. Their whites are Grechetto and Trebbiano. Vines range from 15 to 30 years.
Their vinification and racking process employs gravity instead of pumps, to avoid damaging grapes, especially Sagrantino. The wines are aged in an underground cellar. Their exacting standards and gentle winemaking point to their ethos of authenticity and harmony, ultimately achieving elegance and drinkability.
"Along with Marco Caprai, there isn't anyone who has done more to promote the merits of Sagrantino and its wines than Filippo Antonelli, owner of the Antonelli-San Marco estate. Antonelli's greatest claim to fame is its remarkably well-balanced Sagrantino wines, some of the purest, most genteel and least brutally tannic wines of the whole denominazione. Owned by the Antonelli family since 1881, it previously belonged for centuries to the bishop of Spoleto. The estate is located on a site, San Marco de Corticellis, that was already famous for its wines and oil in medieval times. Readers who, not unreasonably, have found Sagrantino wines too much to handle due to their unforgiving mouth-coating tannins should give Antonelli's fine examples a try."