If you look through the annals of the Italian wine industry, you will see so many great companies that are essentially family affairs. Where other industries may start to suffer when what we perceive to be nepotism occurs, the Italian wine industry flourishes. There is an argument to say that the reason for this is that a passion for wine runs in the blood. Those who follow in the footsteps of the great producers have seen their passion in person, and often follow their path not because of their family history, but because they share this passion for the vine.
Such is the case with the company that we’re going to shine a spotlight on today. When compared to some of the more prominent families in the Italian wine industry, the Lungarottis are still fairly new to the game. They “only” have 60 years of experience in creating great wines, but there key here is that their wines are truly great.
That is what’s prompted us to take a closer look at this remarkable family, and one of the best wines to emerge from the company in a number of years. First, let’s enjoy a little Lungarotti history lesson.
It was in the early 1960s that Lungarotti achieved its first major milestone. It was in 1962 that the company patriarch, Giorgio Lungarotti, aggregated the activities of several family farms in his local area, creating Lungarotti and making the decision to focus all of his company’s efforts on the wine industry.
Two years later, the family’s Monticchio vineyard enjoyed its first grape harvest. The company used those grapes to create its Rubesco Reserve, and the company was up and running. It didn’t take much time for them to achieve acclaim for their work. In 1968, the Lungarotti family achieved its first DOC certification for its Umbria Torgiano wines, showing that even in the early days the family had an unwavering commitment to quality.
However, Giorgio was not satisfied with only developing a reputation for great wines in his native land. He had much grander visions of bringing his wines to a worldwide audience. In 1969, he reached the first of many milestones in this vision, as Lungarotti began importing its wines to Frankfurt, Germany. Soon after, the company was importing wines to the United Kingdom, and it didn’t take long for the family to set up a network of international distributors. In just seven years, the company had achieved something that has taken many wine companies several years to achieve. The British market was a particularly successful one, as Lungarotti’s wines became some of the most popular in the country by 1970.
The company continued creating great wines, but there was something much more important bubbling below the surface. For several years, the Lungarottis had also worked on creating a museum of Italian wines, again showing their passion for the industry as a whole, as well as their own work. In 1974, that dream became a reality. Giorgio and Maria Lungarotti opened their wine museum to the Italian public, and the Lungarotti name was firmly stamped into the annals of Italian wine.
That’s a lot to achieve in just 12 short years, but the company was not going to stop just because of its meteoric rise. 1978 saw the opening of a grand five-star hotel, making the company one of the early frontrunners in the Italian wine tourism industry. While a fairly small industry at the time, wine tourism has evolved into a huge industry in the modern day. We’re willing to bet that many of you that are reading this article have visited at least one Italian region so that you could enjoy a sampling of the wines.
Giorgio continued his ascent to the upper echelons of the Italian wine industry. In 1981, he created the BAVI wine competition, which invited judges from all over the world to sample some of the best of what the Italian wine industry had to offer. Not only providing a platform for his own wines, this competition offers Giorgio’s competitors and compatriots the opportunity to enhance their own reputation. Once again, this shows the man’s sheer passion for the wine industry as a whole, in addition to his love for his company.
Other milestones followed. The family created its own charitable foundation, and many of Lungarotti’s wines have received awards for their sheer quality. Its Torgiano Rosso Riserva achieved the coveted DOCG status, and the company underwent a complete replanting and restructuring in the mid-1990s, which highlights its continued dedication to innovation.
Unfortunately, the great Giorgio passed away in 1999, but his family has continued the legacy of the company that he built. In the years since, the family has opened an olive oil museum, continued developing new wines, and has played an important role in the growth of the Italian wine tourism industry. In fact, Giorgio’s daughter, Chiara, served as a two-term president for the Wine Tourism Movement.
Even as recently as 2017, the company has made headlines. It was this year that they chose to convert one of their largest vineyards to the organic process, reaffirming their position as one of the leading lights of the Italian wine industry. Not bad at all for such a young company.
We assume you want to hear more about the company’s wines now? It’s was a little difficult to choose a wine to highlight, given the quality of the company’s offering, but we think this selection represents a great start for those who haven’t experienced the joys of Lungarotti.
The Lungarotti Sagrantino di Montefalco 2011 carries the prestigious DOCG certification, and is a stunning red wine that we’re sure you’re going to love.
Its ruby red colouring gives way to a wonderful bouquet, which includes notes of cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, and spices. Plum jam is another sweet scent that you’ll discover if you explore further, but what about the taste?
As you’d expect from such a great company, the Lungarotti Sagrantino di Montefalco 2011 is perfectly balanced. It complements it’s softness with an interesting complexity, and a lingering aftertaste that you’ll enjoy for several minutes.