Chiesa del Carmine and Recommendations for Umbria

Bang in the centre of Italy, Umbria is famed for its rolling hills, vineyards, medieval hill towns and fantastic food.  We chat with David Lang who manages Chiesa del Carmine about the estate and his recommendations for Umbria…

The beautiful medieval town of Montone

Umbria, like Tuscany is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions and bountiful in wonderful local food and wine. Tuscany has the coast and for various reasons is the better known region. Umbria however, is less visited and less spoilt, therefore it holds many hidden gems, such as Chiesa del Carmine.

Chiesa del Carmine is 10 miles north of Perugia and in easy reach of Florence and Rome. Purchased by the Sinclair family in 2009 they started work on the accommodation, olive grove, truffle wood and vineyards in 2011. By 2013 the first bottle of wine from the estate was drunk (a red blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Merlot), the first Chiesa del Carmine DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil was produced, labelled and sold and the first guests had stayed at the converted Chiesa del Carmine!

Since 2013 the estate has evolved even further and is still evolving to this day. The Vineria del Carmine is a beautifully restored building for wine tastings with further plans for cellar rooms and an event space are in the offing. One of my recommendations for Umbria would be to visit their Vineria. David, Mattia or one of the team will give you a great wine tasting experience, accompanied by beautiful local produce, such as truffle and cheese! I particularly enjoyed their Trebbiano Spoletino (native grape), Bell’angelo (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend) and Campanile (mainly Sangiovese) but you can discover more for yourself…

The Carmine Estate was once an abandoned valley. Now there are thriving vines, ancient terraced olive groves, a truffle wood and pasture producing a variety of organic produce. David Lang who runs Chiesa del Carmine is originally from Australia. David has a great passion for the region and here are his recommendations for Umbria.

How long have you lived in Umbria for now David? We arrived in the hottest summer in 50 years; August 2003 – Two days after getting married in Cambridge, UK! It was like walking into Dante’s inferno, temperatures hitting 40 or above for almost the entire month. We had a pool but it wasn’t finished and couldn’t be painted as the heat would make the paint bubble! Every night that August we would sit in it with a glass of wine and imagine what it would be like with water in it…!

Aside from visiting Chiesa del Carmine and staying in one of your beautiful villas, what else do you recommend doing in the local area and in Umbria? 

Well there’s Lake Trasimeno, which is Italy’s fourth largest lake and is great for watersports; paddle boarding, sailing, waterskiing and kite-surfing etc. The Basilica di San Francesco di Assisi is one of the most important places for Christian pilgrims in Italy. Perugia, near us, hosts the world famous Umbria Jazz Festival every August as well as having the world’s biggest chocolate festival in October!

What are your favourite villages and towns to show tourists, locally and in the wider Umbria region?

Montone is one of Umbria’s jewels. Voted one of the 50 most beautiful hill towns in Italy, it is like walking into a film set and it also hosts the famous film festival Assisi. Consequently it is no surprise that this town hosts its own film festival every July which is organised by none other than Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, a proud Montone resident. This tiny hill town boasts a number of fantastic restaurants, our favourite is Il Tipico, serving the best produce in Umbria and run by Paolo Morbidoni, an Umbrian Olive Oil expert. 


What are you other favourite restaurants to eat at?  

Borgo Mela is regularly hosting the central Italian dinners for the Slow Food foundation. Il Caldaro is listed in Conde Nast’s 50 secret things to do in Italy. Rosso di Sera is the best seafood restaurant in Umbria, on the banks of Lake Trasimeno and Osteria del Posto in the suburbs of Perugia has stunning food!

What makes the wine so special from the region? 

We are fortunate to work in one of Italy’s most beautiful grape growing environments and with unique varietals. Trebbiano Spoletino and Sagrantino are almost exclusively grown in Umbria, apart from a handful of experimental plantings around the world. Sangiovese is the king of central Italian red wines, and the international varietals we have chosen flourish in this area.  The combination of these grapes produces something truly amazing.

How do you see Chiesa del Carmine developing over the next few years? 

Plans are already a foot for the development of an underground vaulted barrel room from this October, to complement our new winery. Our De Manincor kitchen, possibly the most impressive of it’s type in central Italy, will be home to a cooking school from next spring and works on our raised garden beds to produce organic vegetables for the cooking school is already underway. There are exciting times ahead!

Take a stroll through Montone, a medieval walled town. A must do!

Views over Antognolla Golf Course, close to the Villas

The main square in Montone

Vineria del Carmine

Thank you David for your recommendations for Umbria – there are exciting times ahead for the estate and we’re looking forward to seeing how Chiesa del Carmine and Vineria Del Carmine develop!

Why not drive via Piedmont to Umbria? Find out what to do in Piedmont here.


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