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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Umbria, fourth smallest of italy’s 20 regions in terms of both physical size and population (see map under italy), and one of the country’s very few landlocked regions. It shares many geological and climatic similarities with Tuscany to the north, which produces five times as much wine. Umbria’s docs seem repetitive at best, obstructive of the distinction of different terroirs at worst. Most of its 15 DOCs are similar in terms of grape varieties, yields, and minimum alcoholic strength, with a strong bias towards international varieties. Sangiovese, with a total of 2,460 ha/6,080 acres planted in 2010, is Umbria’s most important red wine grape, followed by Merlot with 1,297 ha, the indigenous sagrantino with 905 ha, and Cabernet Sauvignon with 567 ha. Of white wine grapes, the lacklustre Tuscan import trebbiano Toscano (also called Procanico in Umbria) comes first with 1,452 ha followed by the superior grechetto (1,357 ha), and Chardonnay (344 ha). All of these varieties are an obligatory component in every DOC’s production regulations, regardless of their suitability for the different local conditions.