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For some years now, Umbria has been turning into one of Italy's most innovative wine laboratories: hardly anywhere else are young producers and modern wineries experimenting so carefree with new methods and old grape varieties. Markus Blaser was able to witness the progress in four wine-growing regions.

The driving force behind the emancipation of Umbria is the Montefalco Consortium under its enthusiastic president Giampaolo Tabarrini. There, the focus is on the single-varietal Sagrantino. This variety, which is grown almost exclusively here, has always been about taming the powerful tannin in the deep red and alcohol-rich wine. In the meantime, a growing number of winegrowers are succeeding better and better. New wineries in particular are using the leeway offered by the production regulations (37 months of ageing, twelve of which in wood and four in the bottle) in a variety of creative ways.