June will be the month to discover more about wine in Umbria and Lazio in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group. Central Italy has for long been in the shadows of other more hyped-up regions when it comes to viticulture and winemaking. However, in recent years a lot has been happening to change the winemaking and, in fact, the whole wine narrative in Umbria and Lazio. They are indeed both regions with a rich viticultural and winemaking history that dates to ancient times.
June will be the month to explore more in the #ItalianFWT group.
How to Participate in the Italian FWT of June
There will be a Twitter chat on June 3 at 11 AM ET/ 17.00 CET.
The Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group will thus be focusing on Umbria and Lazio in June. If you have a last-minute desire to participate with an article, there is still time until tomorrow – Thursday, 1 June – evening, to send me your article title.
Wine in Umbria
Umbria is the region called the “center of Italy” and the “green heart of Italy” and it is indeed a sort of oasis in the central part of Italy. It might not have any sea shore but it makes up for it in full with its soft rolling hills, dense forests, beautiful landscape, tranquillity, medieval hill towns and history, local cuisine, the areas of highly-priced white and black truffles, wine, and much more.
Umbria is also a region with a rich viticultural heritage and the home to wines made with grapes such as Grechetto, Trebbiano Spoletino, Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache), Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo (di Narni) and, of course, Sagrantino. The region can boast of two important DOCG appellations, namely Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG and Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG (created by Lungarotti winery, now only 2-3 producers produce Torgiano wine).
In 2021, the association “I Consorzi del Vino per l’Umbria” which is made up of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco, the Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini di Torgiano, the Consorzio Tutela Vini di Orvieto, and the Consorzio Tutela Vini Doc Trasimeno started its activity to promote Umbria as a joint effort.
Wine in Lazio
Just as most regions in Italy, Lazio has a viticultural and wine history dating to the Roman era, the Estruscans, and beyond. As in many cases, it had a period where quantity prevailed over quality and international grapes were more favored. In the last years, this has started to change with the various wine areas in Lazio starting to ferment and focusing on the heritage of native grapes.
The classical grape and its areas are Cesanese del Piglio DOCG and the Cesanese Olevano Romano DOC, Cannellino di Frascati DOCG, and Frascati Superiore DOCG. The up-and-coming areas are Frosinone with the Ciocaria vintners where the native grapes Capolongo, Olivella nera, Lecinaro, and Maturano, among others, have been rediscovered. In Cori, in the province of Latina, the grapes Bellone and Nero Buono are in focus. as well as the forgotten Abbuoto which was used to make Vinum Caecubum, the wine of the old Romans.
In the province of Viterbo, or Tuscia, we find the historical appellation Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone DOC, according to the legend, got its name when a German bishop in the 12th century was traveling to Rome to see the pope. He sent a priest ahead of him to scout the villages along the road for good wine. The priest was supposed to write “Est!” (there is) on the inn wall if the wine was good and “Est! Est!” if the wine was very good. When he arrived at Montefiascone he wrote “Est! Est! Est!” because he found the wine to be excellent.
The area is getting more and more known for producers that are into organic. biodynamic, and low-intervention viticulture and winemaking. Sergio Mottura winery, known for its dedication to organic farming and sustainability, is located in this area. The DOC Aleatico Gradoli is another appellation in this corner of Lazio where, as the name reveals, the grape Aleatico is used. Andrea Occhipinti is a low-intervention winemaker that has become popular for his Aleatico wines. Other grapes in this area are Grechetto, Roscetto, Procanico (Trebbiano Toscano) Verdello, and Rupeccio, the latter ones used in Orvieto DOC.
My short overview is in no way exhaustive, but rather a short glimpse into the wine regions Umbria and Lazio.
Here are the contributions coming for June:
Andrea from The Quirky Cork shares “Arnaldo Caprai Grecante with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad”
Camilla from Culinary Cam focuses on “From Lazio with Love – Bellone and Bruschette – an Ancient Grape & a Simple Appetizer”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Enjoying the Food and Wine of Umbria”
Susannah from Avvinare features “Cesanese del Piglio- A Bright Future”
Jennifer from Vino Travels shares “Trebbiano Spoletino: Not all Trebbiano are the same”
Katarina from Grapevine Adventures features “Sustainability at the Heart of Winemaking: Exploring Madrevite Winery’s Commitment to Environmental and Economic Well-being in Umbria”