Umbria is one of the two provinces of Italy without a coast. This small province, the home of Saint Francs Assissi, boasts a sound agricultural base (olive oil, wine, cereal, and truffles) and active tourism traffic. Cantine Lungarotti located in Torgiano is the largest and best-known winery of the province. It is more than a company, more of a social institution that started a well-organized museum; it also operates a small but first class hotel (Le Tre Veselle) with an outstanding restaurant, and a holiday house in the middle of manicured vineyards for the pleasure of long-stay tourists.
Recently, an olive oil museum was added according to the wishes of the founder Giorgio Lungarotti shortly before his untimely death in 1999. I have had the good fortune to stay in le Tre veselle some time ago, and can say unequivocally it is the best in town.
When it comes to viticulture, late Mr. Lungarotti was instrumental getting the DOC (Denominazione die origine controllata) designation for both Torgiano red and white, and D O C G (Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita), the highest quality designation in Italian wine law, single vineyard Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio and Sagrantino di Montefalco.
Giorgio Lungarotti founded the winery in 1962 with ownership of 280 hectares of vineyards, and management of 40 hectares.
Pesident Chiara Lungarotti is ably assisted by her sister Teresa and two consulting oenologists (D. Dubourdieu and L.Landi).
Presently the winery produces 2.7 million bottles and exports to 41 countries including Canada.
For some time in the 1990’s Lungarotti’s red wines were listless and unduly long aged, but this is no longer the case.
Modern Lungarotti wines are vibrant, fruity, balanced, and reflect their terroir perfectly.
For white wines, trebbiano, grechetto, chardonnay, pinot grigio and small quantities of local grapes are sued, whereas for reds sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, canaiolo, montepulciano, cabernet franc, and merlot are preferred.
Rubesco Riserva Vignetto Monticchio and Sagrantino di Montefalco contain only sangiovese and sagrantino di Montefalco.
Vineyards are now being planted with 1500 vines per hectare, whereas previously the count went much higher up to 6000.
Recently, Chiara was in Toronto to conduct a wine tasting of her portfolio. Torre di Giano, Aurente, Pinot Grigio and Vin Santo were the whites, ad Giubilante Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticcihio 1997, Rubesco, and Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio 1995 wines.
The whites were all delicately balanced, vibrant, with a fine acid-backbone, and long, clean aftertaste. Interestingly enough all are readily available on L C B O’s general list and represent good value.
The reds struck me as very skilfully made and blended with vibrant colours, good mouth feel, depth, fruit, balance and long pleasant aftertaste.
The 1997 Rubesco Riserva Vignetto Monticchio stood out with its outstanding depth, and layered flavour and vibrant fruit.
Lungarotti in Torgiano, Umbria whould be on the itinerary of every tourist and/or wine enthusiast visiting northern Italy, especially Tuscany, next door to this province.
It will be an experience you will not soon forget.