Italians often see Umbria as a region which is a bit out of the ordinary: it has no coastline and it shares no borders with other states. Umbria is located in Italy, surrounded only by Italy, il Centro dell’Italia. Does that sound hard? Umbrians do not seem to suffer, even though sometimes they may throw a little envious glance at their neighbors in the northwest, Tuscany, where everything is much more expensive. Then again, it’s still rather nice to be in the significantly cheaper Umbria, which is also (almost) equally beautiful.

But there is no doubt that it is the Tuscan wines that have both the Italian and international attention. And who knows, maybe it is exactly due to the lack of external contacts, that has kept the Umbrian wines in the shadow for a long period. The white Orvieto has been known and appreciated in ancient times, but for many years it is the Romans who have been drinking the most part of the Orvieto wine, also because, as a DOC, it is shared between Umbria and Lazio. The first step out of the shadows for Umbria came with the producer Lungarotti, who for a period of 30 years in the late 1900’s, was the only Umbrian producer that was talked about. And perhaps there was so much focus on Lungarotti – the brand was so strong – that many wine lovers even ignored the fact that the Lungarotti wines came from Umbria, and that their DOC was called Torgiano, and mostly made with a large part of Sangiovese. Cantina Lungarotti is still rightly known and respected, but it is no longer the vineyards around Torgiano that give the name to the most renowned wines in Umbria.

Now it is Montefalco, located southeast of Torgiano (and of the regional capital Perugia). Here they focus on one of the very local grapes, Sagrantino. Some suppose that the name of this grape variety is due to the fact that the grapes were dried (appassimento like in Amarone and Recioto from Veneto), and the wine with this sweet touch was mainly used for communion wine. The wine has now found other channels of distribution under the DOCG Montefalco Sagrantino. The sweet Passito version still exists, but within the last 30-40 years a dry Montefalco Sagrantino has been developed (which is not to be confused with DOC Montefalco, which is a Sangiovese-dominated wine).

Here you find the tannins of this grape at their best, and you realize that the Sagrantino grape variety can be placed in the same group as the northern Italian Nebbiolo and Aglianico from southern Italy, but with Sagrantino we are in- il Centro dell’Italia.

Regional capital: Perugia
Population: 906.486
Area (km2): 8.456,04
Wine production: 875.000 hl
Important DOCs/DOCGs:
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG; Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG; Colli Martani DOC; Montefalco DOC; Orvieto DOC; Torgiano DOC.
Most important grape varieties:
Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Grechetto, Malvasia del Chianti, Trebbiano Toscana