LA CHIESA DEL CARMINE WINERY ESTATE

COUNTRY HOUSE, WORKING FARM AND WINERY, THIS IS A STUNNING DESTINATION FOR A WINE-TASTING TRIP...

The Chiesa del Carmine winery estate with its beautiful 13th century church, is a beautiful setting for weddings and holiday rentals, but it is also a thriving working farm with olive groves, a truffle wood, pastures producing a variety of organic produce and a 6.2-hectare vineyard. The latter produces, according to Roger Jupe, some exceptional Umbrian wines – both white and red - to compare favourably with any of those from neighbouring Tuscany.
Definitely worth a wine-tasting visit!
Umbria may be one of Italy’s smallest wine producers in terms of quantity so it’s perhaps not surprising that Umbrian wines live in the shadow of Tuscan wines.
Their Orvieto whites and powerful Montefalco reds are relatively well known.  Nevertheless, with so many fine wines to discover in the Cortona area and throughout Tuscany, the hidden treasures to be found in our adjoining region are often ignored.
The most rewarding visit to a wine estate is as much about its setting in a landscape that is new to you and the hospitality it offers as it is about discovering and tasting its wines.
Chiesa del Carmine is the ancient church at the centre of hidden gem of a wine producing estate 20 minutes north of Perugia and very close to the Tuscan border. The property sits in a stunning landscape at the foot of Monte Tezio in a once abandoned valley where wildlife is abundant, and nature thrives. The views in all directions are breath taking … to the south is Monte Subasio and Assisi, to the west the imposing Antognolla castle and to the north centuries’ old woodlands and the Apennine mountains.
The Valle della Chiesa del Carmine has a long tradition of producing fine wine. In 1974, the authoritative American wine journalist, Burton Anderson, wrote in Wine Spectator magazine about a white wine of impressive quality from land that now falls within the Carmine Estate.
Over the past 15 years Jeremy and Jacqueline Sinclair have slowly and lovingly set about restoring every aspect of the estate and its properties. Today they are making exceptional wines from this acclaimed territory assisted by one of Italy’s finest oenologists, Giovanni Dubini.
My wife and I were last there to see developments before the pandemic. This was when their vineria, winery, was just nearing completion.
Earlier this month we were there again to experience how their extraordinary vision of a very special place to visit was nearing completion with the opening of its impressive barrel room. For the first time we saw the vineria fully operational and enjoyed a tutored tasting of the estate’s wines, accompanied by superb food worthy of a Michelin star. We were greatly impressed by what the Sinclair’s have achieved in a relative short period with an expert team led by David Lang, the ever-welcoming Australian-born estate manager, who has worked alongside the owners since their arrival in Umbria. Together they have brought the valley of Chiesa del Carmine back to its former agricultural glory creating a wine lovers’ destination equal to the finest that Tuscany has to offer.
The certified organic vineyards are divided into 1.2 hectares of Sangiovese, 1.1 hectare of Sagrantino and Merlot, just under one hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.6 hectares of Trebbiano.
Recent vintages of Chiesa del Carmine wines are some of the most successful the estate has ever produced. This is attributed to its older vines, favourable growing conditions, and sustainable practices in both the vineyards and the winery. Recent tastings of the 2022 vintage of its white wine have prompted comments about amazing aromas, lingering intensity and remarkable minerality. It is certain that the hard work that has been invested in the health of the soil and the vineyards is playing a significant factor in producing wines that are beginning to receive critical acclaim.
Our personal favourites reflect part of a project to recover native Trebbiano vines. The examples we tasted of the Carmine’s ‘Indigenous Trebbiano’ white, 2020 and 2019 vintages, were exceptional. They both had more richness than wines made with Tuscan Trebbiano grapes as well as heightened aromatics that resembled those of Sauvignon Blanc.
The other wines that impressed us were the estates ‘Rosso del Carmine’, made solely from Merlot grapes, and its ‘Bell’Angelo’ blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a touch of Umbria’s unique grape, Sagrantino.
Tastings are conducted in English or Italian by Mattia Giambattista, Carmine’s knowledgeable sommelier. Accompanying food choices are superb and the chef’s menus change seasonally.
Visitors to the estate learn about the owner’s winemaking processes and how this once abandoned property has been transformed with the help of organic agriculture and hard work into one of Italy’s most beautiful valleys. If the church and farmhouse are not being rented at the time of a tasting, these can be included in a tour.
The address of Chiesa del Carmine is Strada Castiglione Ugolino 70, 06134 La Bruna, Perugia. Telephone: 0039 347 864 2310  or 0039 075 9977698.
From Cortona it takes about an hour by car. Travel along the north shore of Lake Trasimeno on the A1, direction of Perugia, and take the Corciano turn. Then proceed along the SS728, direction of Umbertide, to the estate signed off this road on your right with a ‘Chiesa del Carmine Cellar Door’ sign.
To find out more visit www.chiesadelcarmine.com
Roger Jupe, 07/07/2023 10:23:41

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