When tourists consider visiting Italy for a culinary vacation, one of their first thoughts is: Tuscany. After all, it’s a region of rolling hills, historical cities, traditional Italian cuisine, as well as amazing vineyards and olive groves.
What many tourists haven’t discovered yet is that western and central Umbria features much of the same landscape…but there aren’t the crowds or prices!
Part of that landscape is the lovely comune of Montefalco, an area that offers breathtaking views quite similar to those in Tuscany. The town of Montefalco too is home to a variety of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance churches full of beautiful art and artifacts. Outside of town, the vineyards go on for miles, and this is where the increasingly-popular Sagrantino grapes are grown and later turned into wine.
Our Umbrian cooking vacations usually include winery visits and wine tastings to one of these wineries, where they’ve perfected the grape aging process – often in oak barrels – by working with the university in Milan. They’ve discovered that, due to the high amount of tannins in these grapes, it often takes more grapes to produce a lower amount of high-quality wine. And what a high-quality it is!
When you sample the wine of Montefalco during your Italy cooking tour, expect an aroma of black cherry, and a finish that is both a tad fruity and tart, with a hint of a chocolate flavor (of course this varies from wine to wine). Due to the high amount of tannins, these amazing Sagrantino wines are also wonderful to store so you can serve them to family and friends when you return home!
By Liz Hall
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Originally published October 30, 2012.