The best red wines of Umbria 

Evidence of wine-making in Umbria dates back to the ancient times of Virgil and Pliny, who wrote about the characteristics of the “apian grapes”. Today, this region is known for its high-quality white and red wines. But what are the best red wines of Umbria? Today, many are produced in this region, the most important of which include Sagrantino di Montefalco, Montefalco and Torgiano Riserva. In addition to these icons of the region, there are various DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) designation red wines including Lago di Corbara in the province of Terni from international grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) is without doubt the most famous red wine of the entire region of Umbria. Vinified from the native variety of the same name, according to the production protocol, Sagrantino can be produced in both dry and raisin versions: for the former, it must be aged for at least 30 months, including 12 months in barrels, while for the latter, barrel ageing is not required. 

Major designations 

Montefalco DOC is produced from Sangiovese (60-70%) and Sagrantino (10-15%) plus the addition of other red grape varieties (maximum of 30%). It is produced in the province of Perugia in the municipalities of Montefalco, Bevagna, Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi and Giano dell’Umbria. The production protocol provides that it is aged for at least 18 months, while for the Riserva version, the time rises to 30 months. This red is another full-bodied wine with a ruby red colour, floral and red berry fruit hints, slightly spicy, fresh on the palate and with good length. Torgiano Riserva DOCG is from the territory of the same name in the province of Perugia, and is produced with Sangiovese (50-70%), Canaiolo (15-30%), Trebbiano (up to 10%) and other grapes (up to 15%) including Montepulciano (the same as that of Abruzzo and Marche), as well as Ciliegiolo. It is a complex red, with a beautiful bright ruby colour, aromas of fruit and red flowers, fine and persistent on the palate, with good structure. There is also a Torgiano DOC version, which has a lower ABV. 

Pairings to try 

Umbria is a region known for its wine-producing history, which dates back to the times of the ancient Etruscans. Today, its wine production is made up of excellent designations, which go perfectly with the exquisiteness of the local delicacies. Most wines from this region are well structured, and go perfectly with the typical country cuisine, emphasising the flavours of the meat, grains and legumes. The lentil soup of Castelluccio goes perfectly with a Colli Altotiberini DOC, while a Montefalco Rosso DOC lends itself very well to mature and semi-mature cheeses, as well as grilled meat or casseroles. For structure and colossal complexity, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG is a champion pairing with slow-cooked meats, such as braised wild boar or venison, but it can also be enjoyed as a wine for sipping leisurely. Another pairing to try is with stuffed pigeon and oven-roasted lamb. 

More harmonious flavours and aromas 

Sagrantino Passito is great with pastries, jam tarts, dark chocolate and a local dessert known as Rocciata di Assisi, consisting of a strudel filled with fresh and dried fruit, cocoa and spices. Torgiano Riserva DOCG unleashes the flavours of pork, lamb, venison, premium poultry, game and mature cheeses. An excellent wine to accompany an entire meal, or Norcia black truffle, is Torgiano DOC. Try it also with mixed fried fish, porchetta from Perugia, rabbit cacciatore and flavoursome cheeses. Cabernet Sauvignon is paired with roasted meats, risottos with meat ragù and mature cheeses, while Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) is ideal paired with grilled white meats, roasted pigeon and stewed rabbit. Pasta and rice dishes with meat-based sauces, grilled meats and medium-aged cheeses can be paired with a Colli Amerini DOC, with a fine pleasant aroma, or a Colli del Trasimeno DOC, with a velvety body and persistent taste.