Umbrian Wine Tasting With Gusto Wine Tours

September 26th, 2011 Uncategorized

We have now lived in Umbria for three years, and although we do spend half of every year in North America, we have really learned to embrace all that Umbria has to offer, including the amazing wines produced here. Everyone across the world is probably quite familiar with some of the more popular wines from other Italian regions such as those from Tuscany and Piemonte, but Umbrian wines are slowly beginning to get the recognition they deserve by wine experts and can now be bought in limited quantities outside of Italy. When we travel outside of Umbria and visit other regions in Italy we try to sample as many of the local speciality dishes that we can along with the locally produced wines of that region. We therefor always encourage the guests who stay at our rental farmhouse to do the same here in Umbria to get a true taste of the typical Umbrian experience. There are a few different wine regions in Umbria, but the largest and most popular can be found around the small town of Montefalco the only region in Italy where sagrantino wine can be produced.

Although it is quite possible to visit many of the larger wineries on your own such as Arnoldo Caprai or Antonelli (some do require reservations first), one of the best ways to really experience Umbrian wine culture is to take a specialty wine tour. We met Mark and Giselle Stafford of Gusto Wine Tours last year when we arranged for the CNBC television show Wine Portfolio to film Umbrian Dreaming at a couple of Umbrian wineries with Mark’s help. We have had a number of our guests partake of a wine tour with Mark and Giselle, and all have reported that they have thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience. Recently, Mark invited my husband and myself along on one of his tours so we could experience what our guests do on one of his tours. Mark prefers to keep the groups small, as he chooses to visit mainly small, family run Umbrian wineries that produce under 100,000 bottles of wine a year. These wineries are particularly fun to visit because often their wine production is so small that it often never gets distributed outside of Italy. Mark and Giselle are both from the UK but are now living permanently in Umbria and obviously love to share their appreciation for Umbrian wines with the guests they take on their tours..

We were picked up by Mark in a large van with our guests as Mark wants folks on the tour to thoroughly enjoy the wine tasting experience without having the worry of driving back home themselves afterwards. Mark also visits a number of small wineries across central Umbria that are a little difficult for most people to find on their own so having a driver really is an asset for that reason as well. Our first stop on our wine tour was to Cantina Milziade Antano, where we were shown into their small cantina that served both as a cellar and wine tasting room. Since the representative of the winery did not speak English, Mark discussed the wines himself, and we tasted four of the wineries vintages along with some snacks to help bring out the full body flavors of the wines. It is interesting that Italians tend to rarely drink wine without having something to eat on the side, whether it is slices of bread rubbed with olive oil, slices of salumi, or pieces of cheese. I found Cantina Milziade Antano quite rustic and it was obviously a working farm that has over the years learned to perfect some very great tasting wines.

Our next stop was to Colle Del Saraceno, a lovely cantina with a large olive grove owned by the Botti family. While we waited for the family to prepare the tasting room, we sampled fresh figs from their huge fig tree as well as some sagrantino grapes that were obviously ripening earlier than usual. The vineyard is run by Francesco Botti along with his lovely wife, and she is the one who discussed with us their wines, the history of their family run cantina, and then shared with us the Colle Del Saraceno wines. I thoroughly enjoyed each of this cantina’s wines, but found the Passito, or sweet wine to be particularly exceptional. The Botti family were very warm and friendly, obviously very passionate about their wines and olive oil, and spent a great deal of time with us answering questions about their production.

After visiting the first two wineries, Gusto Wines then takes each group to lunch, and we headed off to Locanda nel Borgo where we were joined by Giselle Stafford for a delicious leisurely four course meal served with (of course) more locally produced Umbrian wine. By the end of lunch, although I think our group could have all crawled under a shady tree for a nice siesta, it was time to visit our third and final winery called Cantina Peppucci that is situated closer to Todi than Montefalco. Although the cantina initially began in the family owned building that was once St. Antimo’s Monastery, it is now housed in a brand new facility that sits on a hill above the old monastery with glorious views of the surrounding countryside. The cantina is run by the Peppucci family, particularly the son Filippo along with his two sisters. Although quite a contrast to the two older cantinas we visited, Cantina Peppucci produces some very lovely wines, including Alter Ego, one of my husband’s favorite Umbrian wines.

Our wine experience with Gusto Wine Tours was extremely positive, and one I would certainly recommend to anyone visiting Umbria who wants to explore some great small, family run wineries. Even though we considered ourselves to be quite familiar with Umbrian wines before the tour, our day with Gusto Wines helped us to gain a new appreciation for just how passionate the wine producers of Umbria truly are. We also tasted some amazing lesser known wines, had a lovely typical Umbrian lunch, and spent a thoroughly enjoyable day with friends exploring just a few of Umbria’s many cantinas.

Gusto Wine Tours
Mark & Giselle Stafford
Phone – +39 338 3298691
+39 339 2149972

Cantina Milziade Antano
Fattoria Colleallodole
Voc.Colle Allodole 3,
Bevagna, PG
+39 347 4520251

Milziade Antano Wines
Grechetto – Grape – Grechetto
Rosso Riserva – Grapes – Sangiovese, Merlot, Sagrantino, Cabernet
Rosso di Montefalco – Grapes – Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot
Sagrantino – Grape – Sagrantino
Sagrantino Colleallodole – Grape – Sagrantino
Sagrantino Passito – Grape – Sagrantino

Cantina Colle Del Saraceno
Via Todi 37/c
Loc. Pietrauta,
Montefalco, PG
+39 0742 379500

Colle Del Saraceno Wines
Grechetto – Grape – Grechetto
Rosso Galdino IGT Umbria – Grapes – Merlot, Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Cabernet
Montefalco Sagrantino Secco DOCG – Grape – Sagrantino
Montefalco Sagrantino Passito DOCG – Grape – Sagrantino

Cantina Peppucci
Frazione Petroro,
Localita S. Antimo 4,
Todi, PG
+ 39 075 8947253

Peppucci Wines
Montorsolo – Grape – Grechetto di Todi
Petroro 4 – Grapes – Sangiovese blended with Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
Giovanni – Grapes – Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, & Merlot
Alter Ego – Grapes – Sagrantino’
Alter Ego Passito – Grapes – Sagrantino

Locanda nel Borgo
Via Villa del Marchese 15/2
Gualdo Cattano, PG
Ph – 333 848 3194

Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting @ Milziade Antano With Mark Stafford of Gusto Wine Tours

Deborah Mele
September 26th, 2011