8 December, 2019
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The Trasimeno wine variety and its uncertain origins

by Laura Antonelli

For centuries the area around the lake Trasimeno lake has been an important reference point for the cultivation of wine in Umbria.

A difficult search for identity

The production territory has always had a significative difficulty in finding an identity with regard to its wine production. Quite hard identifing a specific wine variety, as it is possible in other areas of Umbria, like Orvieto, Torgiano or Montefalco.
Since the very beginning of the millennium, the lake area, like many others in Italy, has seen the spread of the production of Sangiovese and of other international wine varieties, first of all the well – known merlot and with large use of small wooden barrels. A type of production influenced by the trend of that moment, but which leaded to a lack of common identity among the wineries of the Trasimeno.
The same disciplinary of production of the DOC “Colli del Trasimeno” is very varied, as it admits numerous international vine varieties, from the chardonnay, to the pinot noir, as well as typically Umbrian ones, such as the Grechetto and the Trebbiano.

 

Trasimeno wine, photo by Facebook

A reference point in the middle of chaos

In recent years, this difficult search for identity, seems to have reached a turning point: we are talking about the increasing discovery and enhancement of Gamay del Trasimeno, already included in the DOC, cited above.
The history of this vine variety is not one of the most lucky, since it has been confused with the most famous Gamay cultivated in France, in the Beaujolais region, for a long time.
Actually, the Umbrian Gamay  is part of the Sardinian Cannonau family, the Alicante and the Spanish Garnacha.
Its ancient origins are Hellenic and from that area, it spreaded to the rest of Europe, above all, it took root in the Iberican peninsula. Eventually, Spanish people introduced it to Sardinia, around the middle of the fifteenth century. From here, originated its journey towards our Umbria.
This happened thanks to the numerous Sardinian shepherds migrated to the Trasimeno area from the middle of the nineteenth century, who brought with them the wine varieties of their lands.

An example of adaptation to the territory

 

The Gamay of Trasimeno wine varieties has been protagonist of innumerable displacements, but it has always managed to adapt and take root in the territories in which it was brought, assuming different names, while the original one has been lost in the memory of the places. The Gamay of Trasimeno has, in fact, a twin brother also in the Marche, called Bordò, cultivated by a handful of wineries in the Piceno area. Instead, in Veneto its name is Tocai Rosso, and in France, Grenache.In any case and whatever its name, the Gamay Of Trasimeno produces many bunches and can be harvested in two moments: a first harvest, for rosé wines, while the second one, gives ruby-red wines with hints of bitter almonds and red fruits.Today Gamay Perugino or Gamay of Trasimeno is increasingly appreciated and known, as shown by the three gold medals won last April by some of the wineries from the Trasimeno lake, at the 2018 edition of the Grenaches du Monde in Catalonia. This is an international event that compared over 850 wines from all over the world, made with grapes from the Grenache family.

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