The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the Yuletide stress of completing holiday menus and their wine pairings. As you debate the pros and cons of using the same wines of last year, we would like to offer up a unique alternative to your standard Italian selections. While Tuscan Chianti is very familiar, the region of Umbria also has a long history and tradition of making great wines. Among the producers there, Arnaldo Caprai is one of the leaders. Their wines pair very nicely with hearty Italian fare such as meat lasagna and chicken parmesan.

Grape(s): Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot

Winery: Arnaldo Caprai

Year: 2007

Special Designation: Montefalco Rosso

Price: 20-25


Aromas of cherries and plums merge with notes of vanilla and sweet tobacco on the nose. A sip reveals bright red fruit flavors accented by heavy notes of earth. A very dry wine with a firm structure, it would benefit from more time in the bottle. Drink now if you’re a fan of robust, bone-dry reds.

Rating: 88


Grape(s): Sagrantino

Winery: Arnaldo Caprai

Year: 2004

Special Designation: Collepiano Sarantino di Montefalco

Price: 55-60


Inviting notes of cherry and plum are complicated by hints of leather and vanilla on the nose. Flavors of black cherry, plum, and currants unfold into suggestions of earth and anise. A dry, dark wine with firm tannins and a supple mouthfeel, it will continue to evolve over the next five years.

Rating: 90