A few months ago, having been invited to sample the delights of the Terni region of Umbria, I was part of a group brought to lunch and a wine tasting at Cantina Zanchi just outside the beautiful town of Amelia.
On arrival, we passed in front of a gorgeous farmhouse and were reminded that the business was started forty years ago by Licurgo Zanchi who bought this house here in the hills of Umbria and began growing vines.
Licurgo’s son Leonardo and his wife Anna Maria have developed the vineyard to its present state and now Licurgo’s grandchildren are taking a leading role in the production of their excellent wines.
First of all, we had a look around the cantina where all the wines are fermented.
Azienda Zanchi has 30 hectares under vines which include Ciliegiolo, Grechetto, Aleatico, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Sangiovese.
We were invited to taste some grapes still hanging abundantly on their vines. I tasted the deliciously sugary Datterino table grapes, with tiny seeds, which still make my mouth water when I think of them.
Set among rolling hills the grapes grow in idyllic surroundings and I was soon strolling languidly amongst the rows of immaculately tended vines.
The oldest section of the vineyard is 46 years old where Trebbiano grapes flourish under the Umbrian sun.
There is also an experimental vineyard, worked in collaboration with the University of Perugia and begun in 2009, where ancient indigenous grape varieties are being cultivated.
After our exploration of the vineyard and cantina, we were invited to have lunch in the farmyard to sample some local products. And what a lunch! The tables positively groaned under the weight of delicious food that was spread before us.
Tasting the wines that were paired so effortlessly with the local foods was an excellent and appropriate experience.
Saying goodbye to our new found acquaintances, the lovely Zanchi family, we promised to return.