Umbria is located in central Italy, where the striking hills predominate. The region is surrounded by Tuscany, Marche and Lazio, famous for producing white wines. Orvieto has been the leading DOC of Umbria for many years, based on the white grape variety Trebbiano. The other predominant denomination for white wines is Grechetto. But despite this, the two main DOCG designations are for red wines. This is because Umbria has managed to develop quality wines with the red grape Sagrantino.
The Umbria wine region is located in central Italy. It borders the regions of Tuscany, Lazio and Marche.
The climate of Umbria is markedly Mediterranean, with cold, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The only exception is Perugia, whose winters are milder thanks to the moderating influence of Lake Trasimeno. In addition, there is generally a large temperature difference between day and night, which favors the white wines, the specialty of the region, because it gives them a much more elegant aroma and flavor.
Regarding the soil, it is a region where hills predominate. For this reason, winemakers use terraces to give the vineyards a better orientation.
Today, Umbria is seeking to regain the recognition that its wines once enjoyed decades ago. To achieve this goal, they have begun to take into account more and more sustainability in wine production. And undoubtedly one of the points on which they have focused the most is to reduce the carbon footprint of the winemaking activity in the region. To this end, they designed a Sustainability Plan during 2015, called Umbria Wine 2020, which aimed to achieve several objectives by 2020. Among them were:
The first results, obtained from 4 wineries in Umbria, were quite positive. Three of the four wineries recorded extremely low PIC values (between 1.00 - 2.00 kg CO2eq), while the fourth winery recorded higher values (8.00 kg CO2eq). The value of the last winery was mainly due to extraordinary activities that it had to carry out, such as transporting its wines by airplane.
But undoubtedly one of the most interesting results in this program had to do with the acceptance of the practices carried out: the good practices that imply limitations and prescriptions, such as the Nitrate directives, were negatively valued by the producers, while the practices focused on the sustainability of the product, such as the Organic Certification on the wine labels or the reduction of the use of phytosanitary products, were more accepted.
Most Planted Red Grapes Varieties: Sangiovese
Most Planted White Grapes Varieties: Trebbiano, Grechetto
The three most common wines are made with the Sangiovese grape, on the red wines side, and with the Trebbiano and Grechetto grape varieties on the white wines side.
Sangiovese: This grape variety is used in 10 DOCs, including Amelia, Colli del Trasimeno and Lago di Corbara. This variety produces wines with high acidity and tannins, with a fruit profile oriented towards cherries and stone fruits such as plums.
Trebbiano: This grape variety is used in 10 DOCs, including Assisi, Colli Altotiberini and Montefalco. This variety is widely used to produce dry wines, with moderate body and high acidity. In its flavor profile, we can highlight lemon, green apple and white peach, so we are talking about wines with a citric and refreshing profile.
Grechetto: This grape variety is used in 10 DOCs, including Colli Altotiberini , Colli del Trasimeno and Orvieto . This variety allows to produce bone-dry wines, with medium to high acidity and medium body. The flavor profile of the wines includes notes of white peach, strawberry or honeydew, while the nose can present floral notes.
Although Umbria is not currently a region with a great wine production reputation, it has an interesting history. The first records of winemaking in the region date back to the period between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC, with the arrival of the Etruscans in Umbria.
The region developed further between 509 B.C. and 264 A.D., thanks to the arrival of the Romans. Already in the Middle Ages, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the cultivation techniques could be recorded and transmitted thanks to the members of the Ordes del Ciester and the followers of St. Benedict of Norcia. Another historical event that marked the region occurred during the 16th century, when Sante Lancerio, the bottler of Pope Paul III Farnese, discovered the wine of what is now DOC Orvieto and brought large quantities of it to Rome.
After Orvieto wine became popular, this region was for many years the main reference point for Umbrian wine, but in the 19th century, Umbria was affected, like much of Italy, by the phylloxera plague.
Finally, after overcoming the effects of phylloxera, the region continued to develop, although with less relevance than other regions of Italy. In 1968, the Torgiano region was the first to obtain DOC status, while in 2011, Spoleto was the last region to obtain this status, with 13 DOCs to date.