Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Orvieto and wines from the Umbria region of Italy

vineyards in orvieto umbria italy
Vineyards in Orvieto
Orvieto is a town in the region of Umbria, which is centrally located in Italy. It's almost halfway between Rome and Florence. The most popular wine of the Umbrian region is Orvieto, which is named after the beautiful hillside medieval town. Like Tuscany with its Chianti and Chianti Classico, Orvieto also has Orvieto and Orvieto Classico, which comes from a smaller territory within this region.


Orvieto is known for being a dry, lighter style, crisp white wine. The grapes that make up Orvieto are mostly trebbiano with also some verdello, grechetto, canaiolo bianco and a little malvasia. One of the more popular producers of Orvieto is a name you may be familiar with, Antinori, whom comes from the Tuscany region, but also produces Orvieto wines.
orvieto vineyards and wines
Beautiful setting in Orvieto
There are red wines produced in Umbria as well, but they are lesser known to us. One is Torgiano Rosso Riserva, which comes from the town of Torgiano. It is produced with mostly sangiovese and canaiolo and trebbiano. One of the key players of this area is the producer Lungarotti. The other red is Sagrantino di Montefalco produced from the Sagrantino grape in the town of Montefalco. The best known producer here is Adanti. Sagrantinos are more powerful and robust where the Torgiano are more medium body. Both of these wines have earned the DOCG status and they are both are more central in the Umbrian region where Orvieto lies more in the southwest.


Orvieto consists of 13 DOC regions, but the history here doesn't date far back as in some other regions. Some of these regions were created only within the last 30 years. This wine was an originally a sweet wine enjoyed by popes and there are still some well raved about sweeter style dessert wines from both Montefalco and Torgiano.


Out of the 20 regions in Italy, Umbria is the fourth smallest so wine has never been a main focus of this region due to olive oil production and grains. It has the capability to be much more as it has similar topography to Tuscany. If you haven't yet tried Orvieto wines or any wines from the Umbria region, expand your horizons and grab a bottle for your next meal. It will be a lot easier for you to find the white Orvietos than some of the others. If you sample some let me know what you tried. I love to hear experiences.
pozzo della cava orvieto wine caves
Etruscan wine cellars
Just an added tidbit, but these were old Etruscan caves found underground in Orvieto that were ideal places for storing wine.