The best way to discover the Umbrian culture is tasting wine.
The Umbrian land, with its gentle hills, is proud of its wine historic tradition: the first documents about its production date back to the Middle Ages, but the story is much older. In fact wine was produced during Etruscan and Roman times, when its prestige was very high.
The notoriety of Umbrian wines was well-known in the last centuries, insomuch as some important artists like Pinturicchio and Perugino requested that part of the remuneration for their masterpieces would be in good local wine!
Nowadays, this territory is characterized by select vines – both white and red berried grapes – arranged in hundreds of rows, and even if the wine production is limited, its quality is absolutely outstanding and the region is considered one of the 10 best wine travel destinations in 2014.
Moving across Umbria, among slops, hills and medieval beautiful towns, 4 striking Strade dei Vini (wine roads) lead you to the discovery of no less than 13 DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and 2 DOCG wines (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).
The 2 DOCG wines of Umbria are both red: The Sagrantino di Montefalco and the Torgiano Rosso Riserva.
Sagrantino di Montefalco is produced with at least 95% of Sagrantino grapes, grown around the town of Montefalco (province of Perugia) and it can be secco (dry) or passito (sweet), which is made with dried grapes, and it is one of the best dessert wines in Italy’s central region.
The other DOCG wine, Torgiano Rosso Riserva, is based on Sangiovese grape but it can also contain up to 30% Canaiolo, and it’s aged for 3 years – that’s what distinguishes it from simple Torgiano DOC reds and whites.
Umbria is best known for its white wines, in particular for the Orvieto DOC, produced with Trebbiano grape in the city of the same name, Orvieto, a marvellous medieval town situated on the top of an eroded volcanic pedestal that houses one of the most finest and beautiful cathedral of Italy.
This wine covers 70% of the DOC production of the province of Terni, and it’s divided into 2 different types:
- “Orvieto Classico”,
according to the specific area where it is produced. Another distinction is among dry, semi-sweet and sweet wine. Orvieto wine can be red as well.
Most of Umbria’s vineyards are located on terraces cut on the gentle lush hills of the region, and this is the reason why numerous DOC wines are named ‘Colli’ (it is the translation for ‘hills’): Colli del Trasimeno, Colli Martani, Colli Altotiberini…
The most important opportunity for wine lovers is Cantine Aperte (Open Wineries), organized by the Wine Tourism Movement on the last Sunday of May, all over Italy: this year the appointment is on 24th and 25th may.
Wine producers open their wineries to visitors, who can discover the wine world and its culture directly onsite, by taking part in guided tours in cellars and vineyards and in a final wine tasting.
Cantine Aperte is an unmissable event because you can experience Umbria by enjoying its calm and beautiful countryside and tasting the flavors of its typical wine and food specialties.