Lugana wine was a white wine of old origin but almost unknown outside its small production area. It has been discovered by wine lovers no more than 15-20 years ago and is now becoming more and more popular, in Italy and abroad. The Lugana producing area is located in the southern coast of lake Garda, on the border between two regions and two provinces: Lombardia and Veneto, Brescia and Verona.
Turbiana Grape Varietal
Lugana is made mainly with a local grape varietal called Turbiana, a grape of unclear orgins. It has always been considered a clone of Trebbiano di Soave but recently, a DNA test on Turbiana vine made by Milan University has revealed that it is actually not genetically related neither to Trebbiano di Soave, nor to Verdicchio as others believed.
The whole coast of lake Garda has been inhabited since prehistoric age. In Roman Time, gorgeous villas were built on panoramic spots. In Sirmione there is northern Italy biggest archaeological area. They are the remains of a huge villa believed to be the one of the famous Roman poet Catullus, who praised the white wines of lake Garda in his poems. The fertile soil and abundance of water was exploited for the production of grains, olive oil and wine. Turbiana must be a grape varietal that has been selected through centuries by local growers to perfectly adapt to the particular terroir of the morainic hills around the southern coast of lake Garda, rich in clay and gravels.
The wine produced in the historical Lugana wine producing area was registered as a DOC (Italian quality label) in 1967, among the very first ones to be protected by Italian wine regulation. According to the DOC production rules, a wine can be labelled Lugana if produced with at least 90% of Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana) grapes grown in the registered Lugana wine producing area. Alcohol minimum content has to be at least 10.5% even if quality Lugana DOC are rarely below 12%
Ideal service temperature of 8/10° C (47/50°F).
Lugana wine color ranges from the typical bright straw yellow to a slightly greenish shade. After few years of aging it acquires beautiful golden highlights. Thanks to its structure Lugana is one of the few white wines that can age. A good Lugana wine can easily be stored for 4, 5 years, longer if aged in barrels before bottling it.
Lugana has a very intense bouquet yet elegant and well balanced. The palate is dry, fresh extremely pleasant.
You can find Lugana wine served as aperitif in all wine bars in Verona. It is also perfect with antipasti (typical Italian hors-oeuvres), cured meat, salami, fresh cheese. In lake Garda best restaurants it is often paired with lake trout, eel and coregone dishes.
Those Lugana produced with a special focus on quality, with lower yield per hectare, and an accurate selection of the grapes can be labelled as Lugana Superiore. Lugana Superiore DOC need to have a minimum of 11.5 % of alcohol even if high quality Lugana Superiore DOC wines rarely go below 13%. Lugana Superiore needs to be aged at least one year. Many producers are aging it in wood barrels, usually French oak barriques.
The color is an intense bright yellow with golden shades.
Lugana Superiore has unexpected and exceptional structure with an intense, ample, well balanced and persistent palate.
Best served at a temperature between 12° and 14 C° (54°/57°F) that will help it to express all its potential.
Lugana Superiore is an incredibly flexible wine. It can become an important aperitif and accompany tasty Italian antipasti and gives its best with fresh-water fish, especially coregone, eel and tasty sea fish: tuna steaks, sea bream, mussels. Some Lugana Superiore can have the structure to go with risotto, light sauce pasta, chicken and even a delicate beef recipe.
Lugana Superiore is one of the few white wines that can age for quite a few years.
Luigi Veronelli, Italian most famous wine critic once said: “Drink your Lugana when is very young, you will enjoy its freshness. Drink you Lugana after two or three years and you will enjoy its completeness. Drink it after ten years and you will be amazed by its composed authoritativeness. Lugana wines, rare quality for white wines, have an extraordinary capacity to be recognized. You taste a Lugana and, if you are a good taster, you cannot forget it. A great painter is recognizable, and so is a musician: every time, with a work, you feel it’s his.“
Another popular variety of Lugana is the sparkling spumante, made with the champenois method. It has a straw yellow color with a lively perlage. The nose is fresh and intense with delicate yeast notes. The palate is dry and full-bodied but smooth and well balanced.
Lugana DOC Spumante is a lovely aperitif but can well accompany delicate dishes and fish-based courses.
Best served cool, at 6/7° C (42/45°F).
Lugana Wine Tours
If you are spending few days in Verona and would like to know a bit more Lugana wine and its production area Amarone Tours can organize a half day or full day wine tour in Lugana region. It is only 30 minutes drive from Verona. Amarone Tours will select and book the best and most characteristic wineries in the area, take care of transport and the organization of the itinerary. After a tasting tour in Lugana cellar it is also possible to visit Sirmione and other beautiful villages on the southern coast of Lake garda.