Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso 2014
A rustic, earthy red from Umbria. The 2014 version of Bea’s beloved “San Valentino” is a bit of an outlier. Given the difficulties of the 2014 growing season—the second in a row in which downy mildew exerted enormous pressure—Giampiero was only able to produce a single red wine, constituting the scant viable bunches from his entire range of vineyard holdings. Composed of 40% Sagrantino, 40% Sangiovese, and 20% Montepulciano, the 2014 “San Valentino” offers a classic Bea nose of subtle balsamic notes, brooding spices, and boisterous black fruits, yet it possesses a less massive structure than usual. Calling a Bea red “elegant” is a stretch, and in fact does a slight disservice to the exuberant wildness that is one of Giampero’s wines’ calling cards, but this version of “San Valentino” is indeed fairly light on its feet without exactly being polite. Like its tough-vintage counterpart “Arboreus” above, this 2014 is both somewhat atypical for its category yet unmistakably Bea at its core, and longtime fans of the estate will revel in its idiosyncratic nature as well as its pure deliciousness.