Umbria, located in central Italy, is a wine region that is primarily known for its crispy, dry white wines made from Grechetto and the deep-colored, antioxidant-rich red wines made from Sagrantino. It is the only Italian wine region without a coastline or an international border.
In addition to Sagrantino, other popular red grape varietals in Umbria include Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Sagrantino, especially from the hillside village of Montefalco, is particularly noteworthy: wine researchers have determined that this wine has the highest amount of antioxidants of any red wine. Moreover, Sagrantino has remarkable aging properties, capable of age 30 or more years.
In recent years, there have also been efforts to blend Grechetto with Chardonnay before barrel aging to create a new distinctive wine that has become popular in Umbria. Overall, white wines account for 60% of all wine production in Umbria.
Umbria, despite being located relatively close to Rome, has always been overshadowed by its neighbor to the west, Tuscany. In terms of overall wine production, Umbria produces just one-third the amount of wine as Tuscany and is the fourth-smallest Italian wine region by production volume.
That being said, Umbria is also one of the most undervalued and underappreciated Italian wine regions. Umbria is essentially an extension of Tuscany, but its wines are far more affordable. The region boasts green rolling hills, beautiful hilltop villages and historically significant towns such as Orvieto and Assisi.
The largest DOC within Umbria is Orvieto, which produces a popular white wine based on Trebbiano. Orvieto now accounts for 80% of the region’s total wine production.