5 Ways to See Italy
Courtesy of Giampiero Bea
Umbria: From the Vine
Winemaker Giampiero Bea shares his short list of standout natural vintners in central Italy.
Mineral-rich soil and a wide range of native grape varieties make Umbria an ideal center for organic wine production, says Giampiero Bea, who helps run his family’s winery outside the region’s medieval town of Montefalco. “Our wines are beyond organic—we use no chemicals at any stage of the process, from the vineyard to fermentation.” Bea, who joined Antica Azienda Agricola Paolo Bea in the 1980’s after training as an architect, is part of Consorzio ViniVeri, a small group of dedicated producers who are leaving their mark on Italy’s wine scene.
The Bea family’s Antica Azienda Agricola Paolo Bea is 25 miles south of Perugia near Montefalco. Stop by for a degustazione in the bio-architectural headquarters, constructed with radon-free travertine stone. Taste the Montefalco Sagrantino red, made from Sagrantino grapes, with sweet hints of blackberry and persimmon. From here, it takes just 10 minutes to reach Fattoria Colleallodole di Milziade Antano, where owner Francesco Antano organizes tastings by appointment amid metal and wooden barrels in a modern farmhouse cellar. The Sagrantino Colleallodole red is a limited-edition 14-degree cru reminiscent of wild berries. Follow a winding road through an olive-and-pine-tree-dotted landscape for about 15 minutes until you reach Cantina Collecapretta. This long-established producer makes chemical-free wines: Umbria Terra dei Preti has an intense, flinty flavor, and the bottles have charming old-fashioned green-and-white labels. Arrange a tasting in the cellars of the v