The history of wine growing in Umbria
Umbria is situated in central Italy, surrounded by the important wine regions of Tuscany, Marche and Lazio. This small region in the heart of Italy once stood in the shadow of the great wine region of Tuscany. But this has changed in the last decades, the world has long since discovered it. Italy's fourth smallest wine-growing region produces about a third as much wine as in neighbouring Tuscany, but the wine is of the highest quality.
Already about 3000 years ago Etruscans and Umbrians planted vines in this area. The first vineyards in the region were planted much later by Benedictine monks. The most famous wine is the white Orvieto. But the climate is not only ideal for white wines, so it is not surprising that Umbria today produces more red than white wines.
What is the Umbria wine region?
Umbria is situated in central Italy, surrounded by the wine regions of Tuscany, Lazio and Marche. Umbria produces fresh white wines like the famous Orvieto and excellent red wines. Autochthonous grape varieties are the Sagrantino and the white Grechetto. The most cultivated variety is Sangiovese.
The most important grape varieties of Umbria
Orvieto, produced in the town of the same name, is the most famous white wine in Umbria. It is a peach-coloured, light and crisp white wine, which accounts for almost 80% of the DOC wines produced in the region. Orvieto is made from the Procanico grape, a local variety of Trebbiano, and Malvasia. In addition to Procanico and Malvasia, the white grape varieties Verdello, Grechetto and Drupeggio are grown.
On the hills (the Colli) that surround the capital Perugia, some of the best red wines of Umbria grow, such as the powerful Sagrantino di Montefalco wines made from the black grape variety Sagrantino. Sangiovese is the most cultivated red grape variety in Umbria. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and relatively young varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are also grown.
Umbria grape varieties at a glance:
- Procanico (Local variety of Trebbiano in Umbria)
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
Interesting facts about Umbria
What is the climate in Umbria like?
Basically the climate of the region is similar to that of Tuscany. Summers are warm and sunny, winters are cool and sometimes rainy. The areas around Lake Trasimeno in the east and the Tiber Valley have a milder, Mediterranean microclimate, which creates ideal conditions for growing grapes, especially the red varieties.
The temperature differences between day and night are somewhat greater in the higher areas, and the white wines grown here are characterised by an elegant and mineral character.
On which soils is wine grown in Umbria?
There are different types of soil in the region, often calcareous clay and sandy soils. The different soil characteristics have led to the diversity of the wines cultivated in Umbria.
Which are the top wineries in Umbria?
One of the leading wine producers in Umbria is Lungarotti. Cantine Lungarotti was founded in the 1969s near Torgiano. On a vineyard area of 300 hectares the vines grow for fresh white wines, full-bodied red wines, spumante and Vin Santo.
Castello della Sala Antinori is one of the most famous and beautiful wineries in the region. The vineyards of the medieval castle Castello della Sala were originally cultivated mainly with traditional Umbrian grape varieties such as the Procanico and the Grechetto. Today, the 160 hectares are also used to produce Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Nero and Chardonnay. The Cervaro della Sala has been awarded the "Three Glasses" of the Gambero Rosso several times.
The Santa Cristina winery, founded in 1946 by the Antinori family, is located in the historic valley of Val die Chiana. The winery, which has since been modernised, produces high quality red and white wines, combining advanced technology and tradition.
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