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Make Your Own Wine The Familiar Wine Areas of France Part I





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Make Your Own Wine Featuring The Wines Of Umbria At Your Next Wine Tasting Event

Sun, 02 Aug 2009 03:38:00 +0000

If you're planning a wine tasting event in the future, consider serving the wines of Umbria, Italy. The colorful ancient history of this region provides the perfect backdrop for giving your guests a little more than a glass of wine. By sharing this knowledge of Umbria, you can bring a wine alive in more ways than taste. This article looks at the Umbria winemaking region of Italy, focusing in on one of its red wine club favorites, Arnaldo Caprai.UmbriaUmbria is a combination of pastoral countryside and mountain wilderness. Nurtured by the Tiber and its tributaries and Italy's fourth largest lake, Lago Trasimeno, this region known as "the green heart of Italy" produces fine olive oil, truffles, grains, tobacco, and livestock along with its vines. Umbria also has a cluster of ancient cities that offer a glimpse into the past. The Umbri, Etruscans, and Romans all left their mark here. Magnificent Orvieto is perched on a plateau that looks down on the vineyards below. Its grand Duomo is among the greatest of Italy's Romanesque/Gothic cathedrals. Perugia's ancient center embraces a 15th Century Duomo and the city's most extravagantly decorated church. Founded in the 10th Century and rebuilt in the 15h, the Duomo stands beyond the old walls. Medieval Assisi with its beautiful views and piazzas is the home of St. Francis, who is buried in a basilica frescoed by Giotto among others. The nearby hill towns of Todi, Spello, Gubbio, and Montefalco blend medieval monuments with Roman remains. Spoleto, surrounded by woods, is the loveliest of the hill towns and hosts one of Europe's leading art festivals in June and July each year. Noted mainly for its white wines, such as Orvieto, Procanico, Malvasia, Grechetto, and Trebbiano, the region also produces two noble red wines a favorite of red wine club members with special DOCG status, Torgiano Rosso, which is called Rubesco, and Sagrantino, both unmistakably grand wines capable of aging for decades. The sweet white Vin Santo is a local favorite and is made from semidried Grechetto or Malvasia grapes. Among the many outside varieties planted in Umbria, Merlot and Barbera have been prominent for more than a century. More recently, Pinot Nero and red Cabernet Sauvignon have produced some fine wines appearing on many red wine club lists. Arnaldo Caprai Arnaldo Caprai is located in Umbria, Toscana's eastern landlocked neighbor. The Umbrian hills, valleys, and soils are extensions of Toscana's prestigious Siena-Montalcino-Montepulciano triangle. Until Marco Caprai produced his award winning Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni in 1987, the area showed no promise of measuring up to its illustrious neighbors in Toscana. When Marco's father Arnaldo, a textile manufacturer, bought the property in Val di Maggio in 1971, Sagrantino had almost disappeared. Five hectares remained when Arnaldo decided to plant five more. Today, Sagrantino has become the signature wine of Umbria because of Marco Caprai's success with the variety. The estate has expanded to 370 acres, 220 of which are planted to vines on three different estates, the principal one in Montefalco, another in Bevagna, a village in the hills of Montefalco, and Gualdo Cattaneo, a village near Spoleto. In addition to native Sagrantino and Sangiovese, Marco has planted a whole series of foreign varieties, including Tannat, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. He has enjoyed so much notoriety from his accomplishments, especially with Sagrantino, that others have arrived in the Montefalco zone to mimic his success. In 2001, Marco was named "Best Italian Producer of the Year" by the Italian Sommelier Association for his success in respecting the long tradition of Italian winemaking while incorporating innovative research and technology practices. In 2005, Caprai was named the "Winery of the Year" by Gambero Rosso, the most important and most consulted wine guide in Italy. The history of Umbria and the winemaking expertise of Arnaldo Caprai make a perfect partnership that can enhance your next wine tasting event. Sharing the ancient [...]