When I teach about Italian wine, I often speak about the breadth and diversity of wine found in Italy. Wine is synonymous with Italy and vice-versa. It would take a lifetime to taste the abundance and diversity of wine regions, a challenge I have been working on for nearly 37 years. On a trip to Italy a few years ago, we traveled from Rome, through Umbria and Tuscany, ending up in Venice. It was a two-week adventure that was remarkable and unforgettable. Along the way, we made sure to sample everything, focusing especially on those local specialties that never made it out Italy. We also tried to take a lot of these specialties with us, so that we could prolong our experience when we arrived home.

Wine, of course found its way home with us and one rarity was recently opened and enjoyed. The wine in question is from a tiny region in Umbria called Lago di Corbara, a miniscule DOC nestled against the man-made lake Corbara. Interestingly, when a dam was erected in 1950’s across the Tiber river, the lake was formed and over the succeeding decades, a local meso-climate evolved that proved beneficial to grape cultivation. After many years of success, in 1998 the Lago di Corbara DOC was codified.

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The production acreage is tiny, with only 64 acres of vineyard area and approximately 7,600 cases of wine produced annually. Because the DOC is relatively new, a wide selection of both indigenous and non-indigenous varietals is allowed in the wines.

Principal white varietals are: Chardonnay, Grechetto, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vermentino.

Principal red varietals are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Nero, and Sangiovese.

Single varietal wines are required to have no less than 85% of the listed varietal on the label. There are both white and red blends, Bianco and Rosso wines, as well as dessert and specialty wines, such as Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest) and Passito wines.

The red wines from the region tend to be full-bodied, structured with layered complexity. The white wines follow suit, with more body and less aggressive acidity.

With the tiny production numbers, it is highly unlikely that any of these wines will find traction in the US, but one can only hope, because the wine we brought back was tremendous.

2014 Titignano Tenuta di Salviano Solideo, Lago di Corbara Rosso, Umbria, Italy

Earthy nose… dark fruits, brambles, cooked fruit, cedar, vanilla hints. Medium-to-Full-bodied, moderate acidity with firm tannin. Good balance. Dark fruit core. Anise, dried herb, powerful with a dark fruit core. Alcoholic. Long finish with layered complexity. Aging potential 5 – 7 years. A wonderful testament to the diversity of Italian wine.

Tu Salut!