Founded in 1884, Cantina Scacciadiavoli, “cast out the devils,” takes its name from a 19th century exorcist who lived in the small village bordering the vineyard. He was known to use the wines while performing his exorcist ritual of ridding poor souls of demons. Scacciadiavoli is the fruit of a dream by prince Ugo Boncompagni-Ludovisi, of Rome. Founded in 1884, it was conceived as a wine “factory:” an imposing oenological complex, highly advanced for its age. It has been the property of the Pambuffetti family since 1954 and is now operated by the fourth generation of Pambuffetti winemakers. Today, it spans 130 hectares, 35 of which are vineyards. The vines cover a hill in the heart of the Montefalco appellation, divided between the three provinces of Gualdo Cattaneo, Giano dell’Umbria, and Montefalco. The production is typical of the area: Montefalco Sagrantino, Montefalco Rosso, Umbria Grechetto, Montefalco Bianco, Spumante Brut, and Spumante Rosato from Sagrantino grapes. The winery consists of four vertical levels built into the hill, allowing for the use of gravity throughout production. The grapes arrive from the vineyards directly at the highest level then move down to the second level by gravity, to be fermented and vinified in wood or stainless-steel vats. The ground and underground floors are used to age the wines.
I was a student in Florence in 2002, and around my 21st birthday in October, my mom and dad took a vacation to visit me. My dad had read about a winery in Montefalco and wanted to drive 2.5 hours from Florence to check it out after we visited the church of Saint Francis of Assisi (about 20 minutes from the winery). We actually stayed at a cousin to Scacciadiavoli's bed and breakfast, and there he recommended we try their Sagrantino at dinner that night. My dad liked it so much he bought a 3 liter bottle to take home... tough move for the rest of the trip trying to haul this thing around Italy and then take back to the US, but he did it. In 2014 he brought it out of the basement for us to drink at Christmas when the whole family was in town. At that time I was 7 years into Volio and was floored at how good the wine was. I called Liu the next week, and ironically she had just met Enrico Rivetto at a tasting in Germany earlier in the year and heard of Volio.
1884, 4 generations