Italy’s Umbria region: Historical and flavorful
Italy’s Umbria region is reknowned for fantastic vinos, but there are just so many to explore, that picking one out is never an easy task. But with a bit of historical insight, the choices may become a little easier.
Although other saints hailed from the Umbria region, St. Valentine (patron saint of sweethearts) is said to have served as a Bishop in the town of Terni and no doubt was familiar with the local wines of the time.
Just letting your imagination roam 35 miles to the north along the road from Terni to Montefalco, with the beautiful Umbrian hills off to the east, it’s not hard to visualize a wine trip that people throughout Italy’s vivid history may have taken to enjoy some vino. And to this day, the celebration of this colorful past continues.
This legacy also reflects in the mellowness and character of the wines of Montefalco. These are among the softest that you can get from a Sangiovese blend, while still exhibiting a controlled power in their character.
An example of this is Antonelli’s “Montefalco Rosso”. With a bouquet of muted currants, blackberry, vanilla, and traces of tobacco, this is a very friendly wine. But in the mouth, it delivers an entry of dark cherry followed by a nice balance between fruit and acidity.
The soft tannic finish laced with a little white pepper exhibits a wonderful fade to the finish. Not many Sangiovese blends allow for enjoyment without food like this.
Serve along-side your favorite Risotto or a nice plate of cheese and crackers. This is a wine to raise in a toast with good friends and then visualize the peaceful, charming region of its origin in the heart of Italy.
Available online for $20-$30, this is an excellent value to check out the character of a wine from this region. There may be a shop in the Phoenix area that carries this, but bottles from Montefalco region are not offered at this price range at the bigger stores (although they do have more options for other Umbrian wines).
Also, if there ever was a red wine “antithesis” to the Antonelli, it would be a Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel featuring a big, jammy, dark berry character with a lot of fruit. You and your dinner guests may find the contrast between these wines an adventure in soft red wine extremes!