The Tili Winery is the perfect template for a winery experience as it provides the authenticity visitors to the region expect in this green heart of Italy. The family directed tours of the Tili vineyards and the winery combined with gourmet dining makes the visit memorable. The winery is located on the hillsides of Mount Subasio and overlooks the town of Assisi, producing high quality organic wines “Assisi DOC” and “Umbria IGT.”
The Tili Family
Annalaura Tili hosts visits to the winery and generously shares her expertise using her charm and wit to explain the entire process from growing grapes to making wines while Maria Palma Tili directs the kitchen staff and dining room production and Pietro leads the business operations.
The Tili family has wine in their DNA as their ancestors arrived from North Europe following King Federico Barbarossa (1200). The tradition of cultivating grapes and making wine has been passed through the generations with the year 1978 heralding production of wines for international export. Production runs from 90-100,000 bottles and Tili wines are now available in Japan, the USA, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
The Tili estate includes 15 hectares of vineyards on calcareous soil of medium texture, low levels of organic matter, with rocky and rich mineral salts. The conditions are ideal for vines that root in arid, permeable soil and enriches the organoleptic qualities of the grapes. A weather station allows constant monitoring of the vineyards, reducing treatments to a minimum.
The Wines of Umbria
Umbria may be the center for A-list religious leaders including the Saints – Benedict, Clare, Rita, Valentine and St. Francis of Assisi; however, the entire wine production from Umbria is only 26 million gallons, making it Italy’s 4th smallest wine producing region by volume. In 2012 only 1/5 of the region’s wines were sold under its 15 DOC titles. Most of Umbrian wines were sold as Vino di Tavola (table wines), making the IGT category in the 1990s welcomed. IGT is considered a compromise between stringent DOC/G production conditions (higher market prices) and the almost non-existent conditions of Vino di Tavola (low market prices).
The Wines of Tili. Curated
1. Tili Assisi Young. Varietal: Petit Verdot. Thrives in the warm and sunny weather of Assisi that is enriched by dry wind. The Petit Verdot is vinified with Sangiovese and Sagrantino giving complexity to this wine. Tili uses organic farming methods without the use of pesticides and herbicides. Grapes are picked by hand in September. Vinification: Carbonic maceration in rotary fermentation tanks followed by malolactic fermentation in stainless steel. Aged one year in steel tank.
Notes: To the eye, ruby red. The nose receives scents of violets, sour cherries and red currants combined with hints of vanilla. The palate discovers rosemary, cedar, rose petals and earth with the tannins softened by suggestions of blueberries, blackberries and vanilla.
2. Tili Marilu Umbria Rosso Passito IGT. Varietal: Dried Sagrantino grapes (late harvest grape). Aged in oak casks. Organic farming methods. Healthy grapes carefully handpicked and left to dry in wooden cases in a fresh and well-ventilated room until winter, when the berries are hand selected for vinification. Fermentation on the skins. Aged in oak casks. This is the second most popular of Assisi wines.
Notes: Amaranth red to the eye. The nose finds raisins and dried figs giving a slightly sweet aroma. Look for the suggestion of honeyed ripe blackberries on the palate with good acids and lengthy finish.
3. Tili Assisi Rosso. Varietal: Merlot, Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The 6th most popular Assisi wine.
Merlot is a new addition to Italy’s wine grape options while Sangiovese is known for its well-balanced structure and savory flavors. Italy’s most planted grape variety. The Sangiovese dominates the blend (savory and herbaceous) while Merlot softens the wine texture and adds fruitiness and juiciness to the blend. Three years in oak barrel and a minimum of 6-months in the bottle.
Notes: To the eye, ruby red, the nose is pleased with abundant bouquet from fruit and vanilla aromas. Dry and smooth to the palate enhanced with soft and spicy tannins leading to a dry finish.
4. Tili Assisi Grechetto DOC. Varietal: Grechetto (regarded as one of the finest white wine grapes in the region). The thick skin of the grape makes it resistant to mildew and suitable for late harvesting). Soft pressing, free run juice fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperature. Released in spring following harvest (improves in the following year). One of the value priced of Assisi wines and is the 4th most popular wine in the region.
Grechetto is an important white grape in the region as it has elevated the quality of whites throughout this central, land-locked zone. Wines that focus on Grechetto express chamomile, white flowers, smoke, mint, fennel, lemons, green apples and stone fruit.
Notes: Straw yellow to the eye. Rich fruit to the nose and dry on the palate.
5. Tili Assisi Pinot Nero 2015. Varietal: Pinot Noir and Sagrantino grapes. Aged in stainless steel.
Notes: To the eye, pomegranate; the nose detect wild berries. Lively and pleasant on the palate with fresh fruits to smooth the tannins. A young wine for all seasons.
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© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.