- Top wine travel guide in Italy
Known as the 'green heart' of Italy, Umbria has a rich and ancient wine culture that has long been overlooked, but a journey of discovery reveals an entrenched wine scene that is thriving, diverse and contemporary, as well as a place full of character, welcoming and excellent Food topped off with some of Italy's finest olive oils.
The main wine-growing regions of Umbria are far from the more mountainous East, where the famous Assisi of San Francisco and Norcia, famous for its cured meats, are located. An emerging location is the picturesque Lake Trasimeno in the north-west of the region, where the intriguing Trasimeno Gamay thrives, producing smooth, velvety red wines with enticing aromas of fruit and spice, and a blue hue reminiscent of the gentle mists over the lake and the woods . Hill. Has nothing to do with Beaujolaisklein, the grape is realGrenache, believed to have arrived from Spain in the 16th century, or with shepherds from Sardinia, where it is known as Cannonau.
WhileDuke of CorgnaThe cooperative has to thank the dynamic young producer Nicola Chiucchiurlotto demadrevitasspearheaded the recent return of Trasimeno Gamay and his Riserva, C'osa, is a try. Like many Umbrian wineries, olive oil is also produced here, and the winery's production also includes legumes, most notably Fagiolina del Trasimeno beans from the Slow Food stronghold. Every summer weekend, the winery, overlooking Lake Trasimeno and Lake Chiusi, hosts a popular sunset event: “Picnicco”.
Another winery in Trasimeno that offers guided tours, events and a wide range of products - including sausage specialties - isCarini Agrarunternehmen. Here Trasimeno Gamay is mixed with 30%Sangiovesefor the excellent Òscano. Gamay jams and juices are also available.
The Trasimeno area is well organized for visitors and wine events include Corciano'swine castleevery October and a spring rosé festival in Castiglione del Lago, where an impressive castle overlooks the lake. from CastiglioneEU Cantinonhosts bi-weekly meet-and-greet events for producers with local wineries.
The Lungarotti summer in Montefalco. Credit: Lungarotti
Perugia, the capital of the region, is about 20 km from the lake and is a fascinating mix of light stone arches and alleys, slopes and steps. OUmbria Jazz Festival(50th Anniversary, July 7-16, 2023) is a big draw, but you can always enjoy jazz vibes here with local wines, great food, and a chilled vibewine shop.
South of Perugia, at the confluence of the Tiber and Chiascio rivers, Torgiano is a must for wine lovers in Umbria. Established in the early 1960sLungarottiSince then, the winery has been a reference in the wine world of the region. Chiara Lungarotti follows in her father Giorgio's footsteps and is an enthusiastic ambassador of the region she loves. At the same time, she introduces sustainable practices and produces unforgettable wines like the Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio DOCG, a multi-award-winning Sangiovese Cru with delicious complexity and balsamic elegance. The family wine and olive oil museums, wine tasting at the enoteca and numerous cultural initiatives, such as watercolor courses in the vineyard, stand out. Despite the considerable size of the property (230 ha), there is an authentic and typically Umbrian atmosphere throughout.
About 25 km further south, Lungarotti has another small property in Montefalco, where an attractive amphitheater landscape is reminiscent of the former lake. Montefalco itself, known as the Balcony of Umbria, has a pretty yellow stone historic center and frequent wine-themed events. The famous tannin grape Sagrantino is the protagonist here, used alone for Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and in small proportions with Sangiovese for the food-friendly Montefalco Rosso DOC.
The tasting room is always open atArnaldo Caprai, the winery that highlighted Sagrantino's profile. Here,holistic winemakingWinemaking methods (barrel rotation) are used to soften Sagrantino's tannins, resulting in welcoming wines that go well with traditional lamb and truffle-based dishes.
Peter Heilbron is also looking for refreshing elegance in SagrantinoBellafonte estatenear the charming village of Bevagna. Heilbron, who founded the winery from scratch in 2008, is a purist who only grows local grape varieties, initially only Sagrantino and Sangiovese until he discovered Trebbiano Spoletino, a complex and versatile white wine that is growing in popularity; His version is the perfect poolside drink in the property's self-contained villa.
Next,exorcistsFounded in 1884, the company produces an intriguing Trebbiano Spoletino using amphorae and wood, just like the traditional Sagrantino Spumante method.
Orvieto, home of the most famous and oldest white wine in Umbria, is located on a tuff rock in the south-west of Umbria. With its magnificent cathedral, it is a landmark that can be seen from afar. Guided tours of the labyrinthine chambers carved into the rock below the city are fascinating. The Etruscans made wine here with the help of gravity on three floors. Many wineries in Orvieto use ancient caves like this one as their cellars. A good time to visit Orvieto is during Benvenuto Orvieto diVino (9-11 June 2023), while many wineries across Umbria take part in the Cantine Aperte Open Cellar Days (27-28 May 2023).
Today's Orvieto DOC consists mainly of Procanico (Trebbiano Toscano) and Grechetto (Grechetto di Orvieto or the fruitier Grechetto di Todi), with the blend traditionally complemented with Drupello, Verdello or Malvasia - although some winemakers are introducing international varieties.
Traditionalist, Enrico Neri deblack cavesis located in a beautiful Templar house northwest of Orvieto. It offers blending experiences and vertical tastings of Orvieto Classico Superiore combined with cured meats made on site.
Next,TonHe uses the region's clay soil and even makes amphorae out of it. The resulting Primo d'Anfora is a fresh and elegant blend of old Grechetto/Drupeggio/Malvasia vines.
Respecting traditions, Enzo Barbi daDecugnano dei Barbilikes to experiment with different grape varieties and his mineral-enriched Orvieto Classico Superiore contains Vermentino andChardonnay. In the early 1980s, Claudio Barbi pioneered winemaking with botrytized grapes; The mists of nearby Lake Corbara alternating with dry winds provide perfect conditions for Botrytis cinerea, and this style is now a staple of Orvieto. The beautiful farm dates back to the 13th century when it was owned by the church and used for wine production. He now owns a magnificent five bedroom self catering villa.
My perfect day in Umbria
Start your day in West Umbria atPousada Palazzone, wake up near Orvieto in one of the elegant rooms in a medieval tufa building that originally housed pilgrims. While many Umbrian wineries offer self-catering accommodation, bed and breakfast options are also available.
After a morning stroll through the vineyards and a quick swim, it's time to breakfast with the view, then stock up on your favorite wines, including Campo del Guardiano Orvieto Classico Cru, before continuing the 10-minute drive thereblack caves.
Like most in the Orvieto area, the wine tour also includes Etruscan caves where wines including the traditional Grechetto and Procanico methods are aged. The owner, former show jumper Enrico Neri, loves the aging potential of the native whites; Opt for a vertical tasting of Orvieto Classico paired with cured meats from the estate's free-range Mangalica "sheep pigs." From here, head north and stopseven coffeesfor a plate of delicious truffle pasta.
furtherSchloss MontegioveNearby you can visit the magnificent 13th-century chateau winery, owned by the Misciattelli family since 1780 and now run by Danish agronomist Lorenzo Misciattelli, who specializes in producing delicious red wines such as Elicius Inky (70% Montepulciano , 30% Sagrantino). The estate boasts extensive woodlands, including a 10-hectare natural truffle patch (truffle hunting is possible), while the castle's former oil press houses three attractive guest apartments.
Continuing north, the next stop is just before Lake TrasimenomadrevitasVisit the winery to learn more about the local Trasimeno Gamay wines. Be sure to try the winery's Trebbiano Spoletino, including a refreshing Pet Nat version.
Enjoy a sunset stroll around the castle in enchanting Castiglione del Lago, followed by dinner at thethe aquarium, a Slow Food recommended restaurant serving local specialties including fish from the lake. End the day relaxing on the terrace of a beautiful apartment inMontemelino SummerEnjoy the peaceful evening air and plan to explore more of this beautiful region and its enticing wines over the next few days.
Your Umbrian address book
where should we eat
Enjoy truffle cuisine at Re Tartù in Montefalco. Photo credit: Re Tartu
Re Tartu, Montefalco
The best seasonal truffles are used in abundance to create culinary masterpieces that delight the senses. This welcoming restaurant with a warm atmosphere is located in an independent villa in the center of Montefalco. There are also two bedrooms available.
Civil 25, Perugia
A cozy trattoria popular with locals for its friendly service and lively atmosphere, as well as an extensive wine list and delicious dishes such as Sagrantino-style roast beef, stuffed pigeon or strangozzi pasta with radicchio, pancetta and parmigiano.
seven coffees, Monteleone d'Orvieto
Halfway between Lake Trasimeno and Orvieto, this modern-style restaurant run by chef Michele and his sommelier brother Andrea is open all day, but come at meals to wild boar pasta or something with truffles that the chef recommends picked it himself: maybe gnocchi or even gelato.
Where to sleep
Stay in the 13th-century building of the Locanda Palazzone in Orvieto. Photo credit: Locanda Palazzone
Poggio alle VigneTorgiano
This charming stone farmhouse on the Lungarotti estate has been transformed into 10 charming apartments surrounded by a garden and a breakfast terrace overlooking olive trees and vineyards. Sometimes there are barbecue evenings and pizza evenings. There is also a swimming pool and bicycles are available for touring the vineyards.
Pousada Palazzone, Orvieto
Interiors of this 13th-century pilgrim hostel in thepalaceWineries successfully combine historical elements and contemporary design. There are seven elegant bedrooms, a restaurant, an outdoor pool and a light-filled lounge with stone arches and a fireplace that is lit in winter.
Montemelino, Trasimenischer See
The small group of charming farmhouse apartments in this oil and wine estate overlooking Lake Trasimeno are simple but full of character. Each has a kitchen and an outdoor area including a swimming pool among olive trees. A donkey family also lives on the property.
What to do
Enjoy a glass of wine at the Altarocca Wine Resort in Orvieto. Credit: Altarocca
An amazing museum with an extensive collection of beautifully preserved practical and artistic objects related to wine culture from Etruscan times, including artworks by Mantegna and Picasso. The Osteria del Museo serves traditional dishes. Equally fascinating is the nearby Olive Oil Museum.
Walk through the vineyards
Hiking trails abound around the wineries, and some — like Palazzone — provide maps. They also offer truffle hunting trips, as well as the Castello di Montegiove and the Seven Café. The Scacciadiavoli and Azienda Agraria Carini wineries are located on the Big Bench viewpointTrasimeno experiencehas routes for hikers and cyclists.
Book a relaxing experience for all the senses and unwind with a glass in hand on a wine barrel or in a Jacuzzi in the adults-only luxury areaAltarocca Wine Resortin Orvieto, where accommodation includes private spa suites, or inThe three shipsFerienort in Torgiano.
how to get there
Although Umbria's Perugia Airport has some international flights, Rome's main airports are only a two-hour drive away. Florence is about 150 km away and Ancona 130 km.