The Tenuta di Castelbuono estate is not just a cellar, but a unique piece of art of Arnaldo Pomodoro in the heart of Umbria. In this gigantic sculpture the Lunelli Family produces the most prestigious wine of the whole Umbria Region: the Sagrantino di Montefalco. It sounded like a great place to visit for an afternoon wine tasting.
I spent last weekend in Umbria to visit my family and take a short break after an intense working week in Oslo. I really needed some good rest, warm company of family and friends and a good taste of local food and wine. It is always interesting to go back home as I take the chance to visit places I never visited even if very close to the place where I had been living for 30 years.
This time I joined my family in an afternoon discovery of the town of Bevagna, near the Subasio Mountain. A little mediaeval town full of history, with older remains of roman houses and a roman theatre still amazingly preserved. After the visit to Bevagna, we wanted to have an aperitivo before dinner. More than food, an excellent glass of wine was what we were looking for, so we decided to visit a nearby winery that is well known not just to the locals but also to most wine and art lovers: the Tenuta di Castelbuono. The Tenuta di Castelbuono estate is a unique piece of art in the heart of Umbria, also named Carapace due to the resemblance of a turtle shell. This gigantic sculpture-cellar was commissioned by Lunelli Family, at the helm of the Ferrari Winery, to their friend and famous artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. Lunelly wanted a place where people could live, work, and make superb wines at the same time. And Pomodoro created this quirky and peculiar concept. Split on two floors, the ground level is a large open space surrounded by windows with an open view on the vineyards and on the green Umbrian hills, while the underground level is where the wine is stored The Winery is located in the Umbra Valley (Valle Umbra), one of the two main valleys of Umbria (the other is Tiber Valley – Valle del Tevere, from the name of the River). Umbra Valley is worldwide known for the wine produced in the area, the Sagrantino di Montefalco. This dry, honeyed red is primarily made from the local Sagrantino grape varietal. The legend says it was brought back from the Middle East by Franciscan Monks to use it as Sacramental wine. It is nowadays cultivated in a restricted geographical area around the hill town of Montefalco. Lunelli Family are one of the local wineries that produce Sagrantino at its best in the Carapace. We didn’t book in advance the guided visit to the winery, so we didn’t manage to do that, though it was possible to do a wine tasting. Two were the wines proposed: Ziggurat, a Rosso di Montefalco 2010, the less prestigious version of the red wines of this area. The Second wine was the king of Umbrian wines: Carapace, named after the sculpture, a Sagrantino di Montefalco 2010. Even if 5 years sounded long enough for a normal red wine, they explained us that Sagrantino is one of the most tannic grapes in the world, and this is why it should be aged at least 10 years, in order to show its true colors and flavours.
The third wine we hadn’t tried from the Lunelli production we hadn’t tried yet sounded like an interesting choice: Rosso di Montefalco Riserva 2010.
Inebriated by the tasting, we headed outside the Carpace to admire the landscape. The Subasio Mountain on the left, with Assisi at its feet; the Martani Mountains in front of us, part of the Apennines Chain; and vineyards all around. What an incredible view point and what a spectacular location for a Vinery. We waited for the sunset, sitting on chairs facing the hills. A storm was approaching and it was time to go home with our treasure bottle.
The very next day mom cooked another gourmet meal, making hand-made tagliatelle with pachino tomatoes and home-made pesto followed by a whole roasted duck from our yard with roasted potatoes. Could you think about a better menu to try the bottle of Rosso di Montefalco we bought the day before? The wine was a nice match with the pasta but a more excellent choice for the roast. Absolutely spectacular. I can’t suggest you to eat at my mom as she doesn’t have a restaurant (though she cooks restaurant quantities and amazing Umbrian dishes!), but I would definitely recommend you to visit the Carapaz if you are visiting Umbria. You will have the chance to overlook a beautiful scenery while sipping one of the best wines you will ever try. Umbria provides you with the scenery, Lunelli give you the wine, it’s up to you to come with good company! Or even come alone: Umbrians are notoriously welcoming, especially to those who appreciate their wines.
If you would like to visit Tenuta di Castelbuono – Address: Vocabolo Castellaccio 9, 06031 Bevagna (Perugia) – Vinery tours by reservation only. Venue available for private events and parties. Phone +390742361670 – firstname.lastname@example.org