In the very core of Italy one finds Umbria. And Umbria wineries.
With its rolling hills, earthy food and slow pace of life this region is very much reminiscent of a much more famous area: Tuscany.
As its famous cousin, Umbria has a super developed wine industry, autochthonous grape varieties, high -quality wines and some excellent wineries!
Umbria is a small region, and in one trip, you can explore a few of its best wineries.
I’m here to tell you which ones!
Where to stay in Umbria
Umbria offers a lot in terms of hospitality and the price to quality ratio is really excellent.
Depending on your desires you can opt to stay in one of the charming, mediaeval town scattered around the region. Or perhaps you may decide to stay at an Agriturismo (farm stay). These are very popular options in central Italy and can offer a very nice alternative to a town stay.
One of my favourite places to stay in Umbria is Agriturismo Val di Boccio. This amazing farm stay is found in the east side of the region in a very quiet valley.
Yet Val di Boccio is conveniently located to visit some of the most interesting sites and towns in the area. Within half an hour drive one can easily reach Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Spello and the nearby lake, Lago Transimeno.
The final winning point for Val di Boccio is its dinners! The food here is stunning, really amazing and abundant home-made dishes are served every evening to the farm guests.
Wines of Umbria
Since Umbria is one of the least trotted and known areas of Italy, I assume you hardly heard of it or of its wines.
But fear not, you landed on the right page. You are about to discover it all about Umbria’s wine and Umbria wineries!
In Umbria the most common wines are Grechetto as a white and Montefalco and Montefalco Sagrantino as reds.
Grechetto is an indigenous grape variety. Montefalco and Montefalco Sagrantino, on the other hand, are a DOC and DOCG respectively. No explanation needed for Italian wine aficionados ;). For everyone else, DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) are designations of origin / quality of the wine.
So a bottle of Montefalco DOC is a blend of grapes including Sangiovese and Sagrantino mainly made in the Montefalco area. A bottle of Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG finally, is a wine made purely with Sagrantino grapes grown in the Montefalco area. In the same way, Grechetto is just a grape variety. It is very common in Umbria but a bottle of Grechetto can be produced anywhere in Italy or the world.
How do they taste like?
So, what should one expect when opening a bottle of local white or red?
Very much depends on the quality of the bottle you are opening, of course! For the sake of argument, let’s assume we are talking about a medium to high quality bottle.
Grechetto is reminiscent of Chardonnay, I would adventure to say. It can embody different “styles” of wine, and depending on the terroir and vinification choices it can develop in different ways. Some of the nicest Grechetto I tried, tend to have a mineral and fruity note and sometimes show some floral hints.
As for Montefalco DOC they can be very surprising and delicate. Floral and fruity with hints of spices. The best Montefalcos I tried were quite reminiscent of Pinot Noirs.
Finally, the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG have a more intense profile. These wines are warm and tannic, full body and spicy. On the nose and mouth these wine show fruity notes and spices, often notes of vanilla given they must age in barrel!
Umbria’s wineries to visit
Umbria is such a small region! Even just in one stay it will be easy to travel and visit wineries anywhere in the area.
Arguably the most famous among Umbria wineries, Caprai has the merit of showcasing Umbria’s wines in Italy and all over the world. Thanks to this winery the Montefalco DOC and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG got to be discovered in Europe and in other continents too.
Set in the south of Umbria, in the Montefalco area, it offers a very wide range of wines. Caprai not only produces Montefalco bottles (you can pick among 8 different types!) and Grechettos (4 types!). Here they also bottles wines made with more international grapes like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay!
Moreover, at the winery the choice of tours and tasting packages is pretty wide. It ranges from simple tastings or food & wine pairing experiences to premium wine tasting and picnic experiences and more!
You can book your winery visit directly on Caprai website or message them on WhatsApp (at +39 348 2860775) for a more immediate answer.
If you only had to pick one winery in Umbria to visit, this is surely the most iconic wine producer in the region!
Di Filippo is found in the centre of Umbria, between Perugia and Montefalco, overlooking Assisi. At Di Filippo they work with great etic and produce organic wine (olive oil and fruit juices) also following biodynamic principles of farming. Their bottle production can be quite small, with certain wines reaching as little as 1300 bottles per year. What they don’t compromise on, though, is quality and even their entry wines are correct and very pleasant.
Also, at Di Filippo they offer a wide range of tours and tasting experiences. One can sample wine in any form. You can opt for a simple tasting or a wine and food experience. You can choose to have a pic-nic at the vineyard or taste wine while touring the estate on a horse cart. Up for something more extravagant? Book a falcon training class (with wine tasting), a cooking class or a hot balloon tour of the region!
Again, booking your wine tasting is pretty easy and can be done directly from Di Filippo website!
Cantina Cienci is a rather small estate. It is found not far from Perugia in an old monk settlement. At Cienci, they work with both indigenous grape varieties like Grechetto, Sangiovese and Trebbiano and with international ones. Here, they have been producing wine for four generation and nowadays, the Cantina focuses on organic wine production only. They focus heavily on quality and not quantity, thus their production is rather small. It reaches as little as 1300 bottles a year for some labels.
To sample Cienci wines and visit their cantina you can book a tour directly with them emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoyed this short guide to the best Umbria wineries and to the region’s wines.
Are you travelling to central Italy soon? Or perhaps you are scouting Umbria countryside already? Are you just thinking to plan a little tour of the region? Reach out on Twitter or Instagram to tell me more about you and your love for wine.
It will be great to hear from you!