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Umbria is the only Italian region that borders neither the sea, nor another country, the _ombra_ (shadow) of its celebrated neighbor, Tuscany. Characterized by its medieval villages, undulating hills and valleys, and spectacular local cuisine, Umbria harkens back to the mysticism and mysteries of the dark ages. Many visitors this summer travelling from Florence to Rome will pass through the Tiber Valley and stop in Umbria to visit such landmarks as the Basilica of San Francesco of Assisi, where the venerated Saint of the Catholic Church is buried, the Duomo Orvieto or take in the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto.
However, if you diverge from the scenic route and drive into the small town of Montefalco (known as “the balcony of Umbria” because of it’s lofty position in the Colli Martani) you will find yourself in one of Umbria’s DOCG designated wine making regions, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, home to Francesco Antano, a “garage” wine maker whose family vineyard, Fattoria Antano, is planted with the region’s revered Sagrantino and Sangiovese grapes. Eschewing barrique, chemicals, and high-tech equipment in favor of green harvesting and low yields, the Fattoria Antano wines see aging for up to 36 months in large slavonian oak bottles and then 12 months of bottle aging. Cavinona has just released three of Fattoria Antano’s wines: Montefalco Rosso DOC, Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC, and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG. These wines are big and powerful, of epic density and structure, and yet more approachable in their youth thanks to Francesco’s vigorous vineyard work. If you won’t be visiting Montefalco this summer, we invite you to bring Montefalco into your home by way of one of our Fattoria Antano releases. For an authentic Umbrian experience, we suggest pairing any of these wines with a classic Bistecca alla Fiorentina (recipe below).
By Dora Emerson