In 1963, an Italian Presidential Decree introduced a law that would establish specific guidelines regarding the designation of a wine’s origin and location as well as strict quality classifications.
The current system divides wines into the following: Vini da Tavola (table wines), IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica, or Typical Geographic Indication), DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or Denomination of Controlled Origin) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin).
The Consortiums hold wines to a very high standard. To receive a DOCG recognition is a high honor. There are currently two DOCG areas in Umbria: Torgiano Rosso Riserva and Sagrantino di Montelfaco (or Montefalco Sagrantino); both reds and considered among the most important wines of the region.
Among Umbria’s DOC denomination wines are Amelia, Assisi, Colli Altotiberini, Colli del Trasimeno, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Lago di Corbara, Montefalco, Orvieto, Rosso Orvietano or Orvieto Rosso, Torgiano, Todi and Spoleto.
The region’s IGT denomination wines are Allerona, Bettona, Cannara, Narni, Spello and Umbria.
The hills around Montefalco, to the south of Perugia in the heart of Umbria, represent the richest and most varied grape-growing and winemaking district in the region. The popularity of Sagrantino di Montefalco (now a D.O.C.G. wine) has overshadowed the other wines produced in this part of Umbria. These wines were so highly regarded in the past centuries that a body of laws had been specifically created in the 1400s to regulate their production. Moreover, a law was passed in 1540 that established, on a yearly basis, the date of the harvest. This wine is typically served with roast red meats and game dishes.
Wine has been a central part of the culture of Orvieto since ancient times. The first inhabitants here, the Etruscans, seemed to understand that the soil in this district was especially favorable to the production of wine. Second only to the endeavor of winemaking was the excavation of cellars where the prized product could be preserved at length. Umbria’s 11 DOCs are led in popularity by the white of Orvieto, historically sweet but which today is produced dry. The region is also noted for its Italian Sauternes, called “Muffe Nobili”.
Torgiano was the first Umbrian wine to receive its Denominazione di Origine Controllata. It was in 1968, a historic moment for the region’s viticulturists. The composition of the soil, the favorable climate and the perfect exposure to the sun’s rays make the terrain around Torgiano highly suited to the cultivation of grapevines. One of the most interesting wine and olive museums in all of Italy can be visited here. Torgiano is a contraction of “Torre di Giano”. The tower (torre), a remnant from a medieval castle, still stands and dominates the skyline of this charming town. Torgiano is also listed as one of Borghi più belli d’Italia (Italia’s most beautiful villages).
DOC Todi is known for its excellent wine production as a result of the hard work throughout the years by the producers of this area. In fact, the Ministry requires that each product used in the process be purchased from a reputable subzone in order to be recognized as a DOC within an already existing DOC. In the Todi area, there are around 140 hectares of vineyards cultivated with Grechetto grapes. These vineyards boast a potential production of 1,200,000 bottles of wine. Although DOC Todi is most famous for its Grechetto di Todi it also produces Sangiovese, Merlot, and other fine reds and whites. Todi is a veritable trove of historical treasures, from the Tempio di Santa Maria della Consolazione to the Duomo to the Parco della Rocca.