Umbria is located east of Tuscany. Yet it has towards the general public a less-known reputation than the world-famous neighbor to the west. Umbria is a green inland region without coastlines, consisting of hill terrain from north to south, in other words an excellent landscape for viticulture. Besides wine, the agriculture is dominated by the cultivation of olives.
Historically, Umbria has grown wine since the time of the Etruscans 3,000 years ago, and wine from Umbria has been praised in literature ever since Pliny the Elder and Martial 2,000 years ago. However, at that time, the viticulture was, just like in many other regions, mainly a question of volume. It was only in the 60’s, when Umbria obtained its first appellation DOC Torgiano in 1968 that things started to change. In 1990 Umbria obtained its first DOCG wine which was the Torgiano Rosso Riserva. Today, equal parts of red and white grapes are grown in Umbria.
Among the white grape varieties, there is mainly the Grechetto which grows throughout the region and is used both in varietal wines and mixed, mainly with Chardonnay. Among the red varieties, there is the Sagrantino which is the most important variety. Sagrantino is grown mainly around Montefalco, by the way the grape’s region of origin. Other white grape varieties grown are Malvasia Bianca, Trebbiano Toscano, Verdello, Canaiolo Bianco and Procanico, while among the red varieties grown are mainly Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo Nero, Montepulciano, Barbera and especially Gamay which was introduced around the Lake Trasimeno about 100 years ago. International grape varieties are used as well, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco and Riesling for the whites and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nero and Cabernet Franc for the reds.