Created by tectonic fractures Lago Trasimeno is located in northwestern Umbria bordering neighboring Tuscany. It is a shallow lake with average depths between 4 and 6 meters. It is large, with a surface area of 128 square kilometers and ranks behind only Como as Italy’s largest lake. This “lake effect” creates a more moderate climate in the areas surrounding Trasimeno, good news for the production of wine grapes.

This moderating influence extends to the entire Colli del Trasimeno whose wines were elevated to D.O.C. status in 1972. Under the regulations white wines are produced using primarily Vermentino and Grechetto. Red wines are made utilizing Bordeaux varietals cabernet and merlot. Gamay, better known in Beaujolais, is grown here as well both for use in blends as well as mono-varietal wines.

In searching for wines from this appellation I tasted many and was most intrigued by the wines of Castello di Magione. Magione is a small town which lies only 10 kilometers to the east of Lago Trasimeno. Here there is a medieval castle dating back to 1150 a.d. The castle is owned by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta with Grand Master Fra` Andrew Bertie maintaining it as his summer residence. The farm covers 1,325 hectares with 30 hectares in the

Colli del Trasimeno D.O.C. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, gamay and grechetto are cultivated here with minimal use of chemical fertilizers to maintain ecological balance and minimize environmental impact.

An important wine to the Castello is their D.O.C. grechetto “Monterone,”. Monterone is a single vineyard densely planted entirely to grechetto. The grapes are carefully selected and all harvesting is done manually. After fermentation the wine is left “sur lie” for a period of 5 months prior to bottling. The result is a wine that is rich and unctuous while retaining crisp acidity and bright aromatic tones. The wine is a high mark for this varietal sparking optimism and anticipation for subsequent vintages.

Of particular interest to us here at Babbo was Castello di Magione’s red blend “Carpaneto,” which takes its name from the single-vineyard from which the grapes are harvested. This wine is richly pigmented and deeply aromatic, quite a surprise for a wine at this price point (under $40 on our wine list). It is comprised of 50% sangiovese, the balance created by the use of cabernet, merlot and gamay. The bright cherry fruit of the sangiovese aligns beautifully with the intensity of the cabernet and merlot while the gamay brings a gorgeous, floral high note to the finish. This is a very unique wine that I hope you get the chance to taste. We welcome the opportunity to introduce you to it as well as to Trasimeno. We are offering “Carpaneto,” as part of our quartino program as well as our tasting menu. We hope to see you soon.