Despite being one of Italy's smallest wine regions, the central Italian region of Umbria is a vitally important one, and home to many of the country's finest and most historic wines and wineries. The reputation of Umbrian wines may have suffered in the 1970s, along with the produce of much of the rest of the country, but the 1980s and 1990s saw significant efforts made by vintners when it came to improving their produce and overall image. By consulting international oenologists, the wineries of Umbria were able to update their traditional techniques, and produce considerably finer wines from their Sangiovese grapes, as well as from imported varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Indeed, the barrel fermented white wines of Umbria, now made with a blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto varietal grapes, has gone on to be something of a flagship product for the region, and is regarded as one of the best and most characterful white wines in Italy.
Umbria is a region of Central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, the Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. This region is mostly hilly or mountainous. Its topography is dominated by the Apennines to the east.
Though the wine production in Umbria is limited the quality is outstanding and includes the Orvieto DOC, one of the best known and appreciated Italian whites produced around the city with the same name. It is a blend of four to five grapes, primarily Procanico, known also as Trebbiano Toscano (40% to 60%), Verdello (15% to 25%), Grechetto, Canaiolo Bianco, known also as Drupello, and/or Malvasia Toscana for the remainder. It is mostly found in the dry variety but, if you travel to the town of Orvieto, be sure to taste the Abboccato or "semi-sweet" variety.
Another little known wine produced and consumed locally that is a must tasting when traveling through the area is the Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG. This wine is made with of at least 95% of Sagrantino grapes. It is delicious with local meat, rich pastas and strong-flavored cheese recipes. It often reaches 14% alcohol by volume, just below the alcohol gradation of dessert wines such as Marsala, Sherry and Port.
Other regional wines include the Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG and the Assisi, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Amerini, Trasimeno, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Lago di Corbara, Montefalco, Rosso Orvietano and Torgiano DOC.