Monte Valentino is a tiny boutique dessert wine producer nestled up in the rugged mountains of Umbria. I found this little gem on a winter wine scouting trip with Arnaldo Rossi, my Sommelier buddy in Cortona. "This dessert wine is molto particolare (very unusual), and something you have never tasted before." Say no more, Arnaldo — I'm in.
Sollucchero (which translates as "I become enraptured") is a red sweet wine that is infused with the fruit of the Visciolo wild cherry tree. One taste of this wine and you will indeed become enraptured.
Sollucchero has a lovely ruby red color with highlights of purple, both clear and bright. The nose is delightful with jammy black fruits, wild strawberry, dried rose flowers and a pronounced pie-cherry scent from the Visciola cherries (Visciole is the plural form).
On the palate the sweetness is lighter than many typical dessert wines. The fruits found on the nose come through intensely on the palate; blackberry and black cherry, dried flowers and toasted almond with a nice acidity that balances with the sweetness. The flavors persist with a long, pleasant finish. While Sollucchero has 15% alcohol, it is not overpowering or ‘hot’ in the mouth. The nose and flavors close down when it’s served cold, so Sollucchero s best served at room temperature.
Food pairing: Sollucchero is heavenly by itself as a dessert wine shared with friends at the end of a long meal, but its sweet spiciness goes particularly well with blue-veined cheeses like gorgonzola, stilton or the wonderful Crater Lake Blue from The Rogue Creamery. Sollucchero is also out-of-this-world with dark chocolate and wonderful drizzled on vanilla gelato.
Visiting Monte Valentino: Nicola and Fabrizia, the proprietors of Monte Valentino, greet visitors most times of the year. They also have a lovely agriturismo with drop-dead gorgeous rooms and stunning views. You can taste Sollucchero and buy bottles to-go at their cantina — just contact them in advance by email or phone. They both speak English very well and it's easy to book a time to visit. Send them an E-mail, or call Fabrizia at +39.075.946.2092
Cantina Address: Loc. Montevalentino, 06026 Pietralunga, Italy. Monte Valentino is just outside Pietralunga and due north of Perugia in the heart of green Umbria. You'll find them on Google maps, or use Fabrizia's clear directions from their website.
Learn More: Read my Wine Journal article on this extraordinary producer of Sollucchero