Umbria IGT is the region-wide Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) title for Umbria, central Italy. It covers every part of the region, from the tiny village of San Giustino in the north to Santa Maria delle Neve in the south.
Umbria is situated right in the middle of Italy (if this boot-shaped peninsula can be said to have a 'middle') and is the only Italian region with neither a coastline nor an international border. Its neighbours on the Tyrrhenian coast are Tuscany and Lazio, and it is separated from the Adriatic coast only by the Marche region.
Umbria's annual wine production of one million hectolitres (26 million gallons) makes it Italy's fourth-smallest wine-producing region by volume. By mid-2012, just one fifth of the region's wine was sold under its 15 DOC titles. Compare this to Piedmont, which had 15 DOCGs at that time, and more than 45 DOCs, which together covered almost half of its wine.
The majority of Umbrian was traditionally sold as Vino di Tavola (which commands neither respect nor high prices) so the arrival in the mid-1990s of the IGT category, with its modern, flexible approach to wine styles, was warmly welcomed here. IGT is widely viewed as a practical compromise – a 'middle ground' between the stringent DOC/G production conditions, which are balanced out by higher market prices, and the almost non-existent conditions of Vino di Tavola, for which the penalty is low market prices.
IGT wines from Umbria embrace the traditional as well as the modern, both in terms of grape varieties and winemaking techniques; traditional Italian varieties such as Sangiovese and Montepulciano are found in the wines alongside the internationally successful French varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. This is visible not only in the appellation's single-variety wines, but also in its more popular blends. The quality of the wines is rising, due largely to the engagement of consulting oenologists from other regions and even other countries. This investment has led to improvements particularly in the local Sangiovese.
White Umbria IGT wines tend to be made up of the ubiquitous Chardonnay and lesser-known Grechetto (the variety behind Umbria's most famous wine, Orvieto).
In addition its generic, regional IGT title, Umbria also has several more location-specific IGTs. These include Allerona IGT, Bettona, IGT, Cannara IGT, Narni IGT and Spello IGT.