Umbria is one of Italy’s 20 administrative regions, central Italy’s smallest, and landlocked between Tuscany to the west, Le Marche to the East and Lazio to the south. It has an area of 8.454 km2 (about 3268,10 sq. mi) and 884,608 inhabitants (Eurostat, 2019). It is the only Italian region having neither coastline or common border with other countries. Umbria is also the home of St Francis di Assisi, the nation’s patron saint.
Background: Winegrowing in Umbria dates to the Etruscans, if not before. According to a document written by Sante Lancerio in 1549 Pope Paul III’s favourite wines included Sucano, a red wine from near Orvieto. Torgiano DOC, Umbria’s first DOC wine dates from 1968. The region’s best known wine today is Orvieto DOC, a white (Rosso Orvietano is its red DOC counterpart).
Vineyard area: 2018 11,900ha (Istat) of which 7,200ha were in Perugia province and 4,700 in Terni province (ISTAT). Umbria has a high ratio of surface area planted to the total hectares available.
Native grape varieties: Canaiolo Bianco (w). | Canaiolo Nero (r). | Ciliegiolo (r). | Grechetto family (w). | Grechetto di Orvieto (w). |Grechetto di Todi (w). | Malvasia Bianca Lunga (w). | Montepulciano (r). | Sagrantino (r). | Trebbiano Toscano or ‘Procanico‘ (w). | Verdicchio (w).
Denominations–DOC: Amelia DOC. | Assisi DOC. | Colli Altotiberini DOC. | Colli del Trasimeno o Trasimeno DOC. | Colli Martani DOC. | Colli Perugini DOC. | Lago di Corbara DOC. | Montefalco DOC. | Orvieto DOC (shared with Lazio). | Rosso Orvietano or Orvietano Rosso DOC. | Spoleto DOC. | Todi DOC. | Torgiano DOC.
Burton Anderson, The Wine Atlas of Italy (Mitchell Beazley, London, 1990). David Gleave, The Wines of Italy (Salamander Books, London, 1989).
Dr Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014), p42-3 (abridged).
Dr Ian d’Agata, Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).
Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.532.
Nicolas Belfrage MW, Life Beyond Lambrusco (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985).
Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Barolo to Valpolicella—The Wines of Northern Italy (Faber & Faber, 1999).
Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Brunello to Zibibbo–The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (2nd edition, London, 2003).