Lunch at an Umbrian Vineyard

July 5, 2016 / Food & Wine
Amelia, Umbria
Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (11)

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.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (7)

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.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (8)

Azienda Zanchi has 30 hectares under vines which include Ciliegiolo, Grechetto, Aleatico, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Sangiovese.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (9)

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.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (10)

Set among rolling hills the grapes grow in idyllic surroundings and I was soon strolling languidly amongst the rows of immaculately tended vines.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (6)

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.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (3)
Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (2)
Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (1)
Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (12)

Tasting the wines that were paired so effortlessly with the local foods was an excellent and appropriate experience.

Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (5)
Vineyard in Umbria Orna O Reilly (4)

Saying goodbye to our new found acquaintances, the lovely Zanchi family, we promised to return.

by Orna O’Reilly

Orna is a former interior designer who practised in South Africa, Mozambique and Ireland. Now writing full time, she moved from Ireland to the Veneto area of Italy in 2013.

She writes her way around Italy by blogging about it (at Ornasite) and is currently writing a novel set in Venice. You can follow her tweets @OrnaOR, and her Travel & Design page on FB.

9 Responses to “Lunch at an Umbrian Vineyard”

  1. Rosemary Johnson

    Haven’t had breakfast here in Chicago yet, and your article made me hungry for lunch or dinner!! Loved the pictures, the vineyard and the local foods!

    Reply
  2. Marianna Raccuglia

    Thank you for this informative article and the lovely photos. I love the Umbrian area and try to visit as often as possible. The Grechetto wine is a favorite and the food is so delicious!

    Reply
  3. Anne Robichaud

    Lovely photos!,…and I have such good memories of the entire afternoon with the family in their cellars while at the vineyard for Cantine Aperte – your photos brought back the memories..grazie!

    Reply
  4. Victoria De Maio

    I only one thing to say, Orna…WOW! What a scrumptious pranzo! Beautiful presentation and beautiful photos…almost drooling! LOL

    Reply

Leave a Reply