Skip to main content

Know before you go: Your guide to the wines of central Italy

Friend of Trek Travel and sommelier extraordinaire, James Juedes, guides us through the tradition and history of the famous wine regions of central Italy from Le Marche to Umbria and Tuscany.

Like many things in Italy, the wine here is a blend of the past and the present. You’re just as likely to see pristinely kept vineyards of the French transplant, Cabernet Sauvignon, as you are rustic rows of ancient indigenous varieties–like Sangiovese–as you traverse the Italian countryside. Generations old wineries and cellars that have seemingly been untouched for a millennia bump right up against new facilities that house the latest stainless steel tanks and French cooperage. Whether it be made by the most staunch traditionalist, to the cutting-edge modernist, or the latest post-modern movement toward even more ancient styles of winemaking, Italy lays claim to some of the very finest and exciting wines in the world, all the way from the top of the Alps north of Turin to volcanic soils of Mt. Etna in Sicily.

 

[trek-fullwidth-img src=”https://trektravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/17PI0903_IYiasemi-045.jpg”]

 

The central regions of Le Marche, Umbria, and Tuscany are as good of a place as any to start with Italian wine and are home to some of the most prestigious and exciting appellations in the country. Starting to the east, Le Marche extends up and down the Adriatic. Cool sea breezes are an important impact on the vineyards here and many of the wines embody the coastal influence. Perhaps the most important grape here is Verdicchio. The wines from this grape are refreshing and crisp with a distinct bitter almond finish–great for filling up your water bottle with (recommended for toward the end of your ride). Look specifically for wines from the coastal ‘Castelli di Jesi’ appellation for juicier, riper styles or from the higher elevation ‘Matelica’ for more focused and linear styles. For everyday drinking red wines, seek out Rosso Piceno (Montepulciano/Sangiovese blend) or the more rare, but floral and brightly aromatic Lacrima di Morro d’Alba.

Learn about the wines of central Italy with Trek TravelLearn about the wines of central Italy with Trek TravelLearn about the wines of central Italy with Trek Travel

As you move west from the Adriatic toward the central Apennines you approach the only landlocked region of central Italy–Umbria. It’s a rustic region that is deeply rooted in tradition and its history, and many of the wines here are reflective of the culture. This being central Italy, Sangiovese is common, but it’s the wines of Orvieto and Montefalco that really embody the region. Orvieto is a clean, crisp white wine produced from Grechetto and Trebbiano (known as Procanico locally). You’ll find more depth of flavor and concentration with wines from the classico subzone of Orvieto, and work with pasta ai frutti di mare and antipasti on the table. For a real local treat sample the formidable and age-worthy Sagrantino di Montefalco. The red wines produced from the Sagrantino grape are produced in both passito (sweet) and secco (dry) styles and are required to be aged for at least three years to soften the harsh tannins before release.

 

[trek-fullwidth-img src=”https://trektravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ZebKingIMG_7019.jpg”]

 

Tuscany is the iconic heartland of wine culture in Italy. Here the rolling hills and Tyrrhenian coastline are home to some of the most storied and picturesque wineries in the world. The emblematic Italian variety, Sangiovese, has found its modern home here and manifests itself in several world famous wines. The wines of Chianti, Montalcino, and Montepulciano are all comprised of this grape. While the name Chianti is not always associated with the highest quality of wine in the US, the wines of the Chianti Classico sub-region are proving that they deserve to stand next to the likes of Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano on the table. The well-known Chianti region was first demarcated in 1716 between Florence and Siena, and has now fanned out into seven different sub zones throughout the greater region. A much more recent phenomena is that of the ‘Super Tuscan.’ As a general rule of thumb, these more modern wines are typically found closer to the coast where transplanted Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have thrived under the Tuscan sun.

 

Captivate your senses in Italy

See trips


Private

If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.

Luxury:

Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.

Explorer:

These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.

Combined:

On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.

Self-Guided

Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself