The Landlocked Region
According to historic sources, the territory occupied by the Umbri people was much wider than today’s Umbria, reaching inland along the eastern bank of the Tiber and up north all the way to the Po Valley.
Human presence in Umbria has been documented through graffiti dating back to the Earlier Paleolithic period. In fact, Pliny the Elder said the Umbri were the most ancient race in Italy, crediting their Greek name Ombrikoi, or “rainy”, to their survival from before the primeval flood.
Umbria then became the 6th regio or “region” of the Roman Empire.
Though the wine production in Umbria is limited, the quality is outstanding and includes the Orvieto DOC, one of the best known and appreciated Italian whites produced around the city with the same name. It is a blend of four to five grapes, primarily Procanico, known also as Trebbiano Toscano (40% to 60%), Verdello (15% to 25%), Grechetto, Canaiolo Bianco, known also as Drupello, and/or Malvasia Toscana for the remainder. It is mostly found in the dry variety but, if you travel to the town of Orvieto, be sure to taste the Abboccato or “semi-sweet” variety.
Another little known wine produced and consumed locally that is a must tasting when traveling through the area is the Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG. This wine is made with of at least 95% of Sagrantino grapes. It is delicious with local meat, rich pastas and strong-flavored cheese recipes. It often reaches 14% alcohol by volume, just below the alcohol gradation of dessert wines such as Marsala, Sherry and Port.
Other regional wines include the Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG and the Assisi, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Amerini, Trasimeno, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Lago di Corbara, Montefalco, Rosso Orvietano and Torgiano DOC.
Nestled among Umbria’s rolling hills between Todi and Orvieto, the Salviano estate occupies 4,940 acres surrounding Lake Corbara and the banks of the Tiber River in the heart of the Orvieto D.O.C. production zone.
The Salviano vineyards are planted with Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano Toscano (Procanico clone) and Grechetto, and extend over 173 acres, rising from 150m to 500m above sea level. These newly planted vineyards of indigenous and international varieties produce excellent quality red and white wines that range from the classic Orvieto Classico Superiore to progressive luxury red blends.
Cantina Martinelli was born from the matured experience of an ancient family passion with deep and strong connections with the Montefalco territory.
The enthusiasm of its young owners, brothers Leonardo and Claudio Martinelli, with the collaboration and consultation of their father has created a modern cellar where the Sagrantino grapes are worked with great care, using simple and traditional methods together with the newest technologies.
Manual cropping and picking in very small quantities and small cases gives them just the perfect maturity the grapes need for this wine. The wine is of great structure, with unique features and with extraordinary longevity.