This Underrated Region Of Italy Is A Great Addition To Your Wine Vacation Bucket List

Nestled below the more famous region of Tuscany is the lesser-known Umbria, a beautiful state littered with fabulous wineries. The Wine Academy describes Umbria as an underrated wine region and its wines as "designed with feasting in mind." Luckily, they have incredible food to help with that too! Serious wine connoisseurs will be familiar with Umbria's most famous red, Montefalco Sagrantino, which has the most tannic grape in Italy. Forbes called it "Italy's most underrated red wine," and suggested the location was why it didn't receive the attention it deserves.

Italy is the world's most prolific wine producer and all 20 of the regions spanning this boot-shaped country produce wine. Grape enthusiasts can benefit from Umbria being quieter and cheaper than its neighbors, as there are fewer crowds to share tastings and vineyard tours. Although this could be changing, as more tourists are beginning to realize what this gastronomically blessed region has to offer.

Where to taste wine in Umbria

The number one rated winery in Umbria (according to Tripadvisor) is the Tili Vini Societa Agricola, which overlooks the town of Assisi, but there are many 5-star establishments to choose from. Montioni Frantoio e Cantina, Vineria del Carmine, Decugnano dei Barbi and Azienda Agraria Saio are four other Umbrian wineries with hundreds of reviews and rated a 5 out of 5 on the website. Visitors can try the famous Montefalco Sagrantino at the multi-award-winning Montioni Frantoio e Cantina. According to Decanter, the most age-worthy and iconic white grape varieties are Trebbiano (known in Umbria as Procanico) and Grechetto. 

For those who cannot make it to all of the wineries, many of the varieties can be tried in Umbria's bars and restaurants. The servers at these venues will be happy to make a recommendation. If you like food with your wine, then you're in luck, as Umbria produces many tasty delicacies that you can try while you're there. There are even bicycle or e-bike tours, so you can work your muscles as you travel between vineyards and producers.

Gastronomic experiences to enjoy in Umbria

Food tours are one of the best ways to experience Italy – and since balsamic vinegar and olive oil are produced here, it's possible to tour the factories and taste them afterward. The Umbrian woods are full of truffles. With the help of specialized hunting dogs, you can forage for some 'black diamonds' yourself and eat them for lunch afterward. Norcia is the 'pork capital of Italy,' and this small mountain village is full of butchers producing pork products and charcuterie at their shops, in the ancient tradition known as norcineria.

Tourists can also see Umbrian bread being baked and cheese being made. When enjoyed with local cured meats, balsamic vinegar, truffles and olive oil, this could be the most expensive (yet most delicious sandwich) of your entire life! There are also cooking classes available for those who want to learn even more about the regional flavors and produce. When this all comes with a perfectly paired wine against a picture-perfect Italian view, it may be difficult to ever leave the foodie paradise of Umbria.