Lugana — the White Wine of Lake Garda


I am fond of many wines that come from the area around Lake Garda and one of my favorites is Lugana.

For the last few years I have been going to the Lugana tasting presented by the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC and this is my report on this year’s tasting.

Carlo Veronese, the Director of the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC was the speaker. He gave a very interesting and informative seminar but I wish we could have been sitting down so I could have taken better notes.

The Lugana denomination is on the border between the provinces of Brescia (Lombardy) and Verona (Veneto) to the south of Lake Garda. The soil is mostly white clay and limestone, which is difficult to work. However the best grapes may come from the area close to Lake Garda, which has the most clay.

The temperate breezes from Lake Garda influence the microclimate positively; it is mild and fairly constant with little difference between day and nighttime temperatures.

The Turbiana grape, aka Trebbiano di Lugana, is the main grape in many of the wines. The Trebbiano di Lugana is not the same as Trebbiano found in other parts of Italy. It has a different profile with better structure, weight and aromatics.  Carlo said it may be related to Verdicchio.

The law allows up to 10% of non-aromatic white varieties but most producers make the wine from 100% Turbiana.

Types of Lugana

The Basic Lugana wine accounts for almost 90% of the DOC production.

Lugana Superiore was introduced in 1998 and the wine must age for at least one year after the grapes have been harvested.

Lugana Riserva, was introduced in 2011 and is the natural evolution of the Superiore. It must age for at least 24 months, of which 6 months can be in the bottle.

Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva – Carlo called it a different more experimental Lugana that lacks the sweet viscosity of a traditional passito. It is made from late harvest grapes that have been allowed to remain on the vine till the end of October/early November (the grapes are not dried).

Lugana Spumante can be produced by the Charmat or Martionotti Method in an autoclave or as Methodo Classico with refermentation in the bottle.


Le Morette Lugana DOC “Mandolara” 2017 made from 100% Turbiana grapes from the La Mandolara vineyard on a narrow strip of land on the shore of Lake Garda. The training system is guyot, double and short modified and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in the second half of September. After a very soft crushing, vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of apple and peach and a touch of bitter almonds in the finish. The name of the wine comes from a particular protected species of wild ducks which nest in Lake Frassino.  The ducks are the symbol of the farm.

I had visited the winery last year with Vignaioli Veneti, an organization of over fifty of the Veneto’s top producers, and really liked their wines. We also tasted the 2012 and 2009 vintages of this wine, which proved that Lugana wines can age.

CàMaiol Lugana DOC “Molin”2017 made from 100% Turbiana. Carefully selected grapes come from the oldest vines of the Molin vineyard. The process of cryomaceration (leaving the grape must in contact with the skins at a low temperature enables the wine to obtain a greater structure and a more refined aroma.

Selva Capuzza Lugana DOC Riserva “Menasasso’ 2011 made from 100% Turbiana from a selected plot within the Selva vineyard. The grapes are harvested a few days after the vintage and the harvest is manual.  Vinification takes place in stainless steel and barriques. This is a full rich wine that is showing no sign of age with a hint of apple and peach with a touch of vanilla.

Perla Del Garda Lugana DOC Riserva “Madre Perla” 2011 Made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana from the San Carlo and Casalin vineyards. The soil is morainic, calcareous clay and stony and the training system is Guyot. Hand picked and selected grapes are cooled in a refrigerated room. The grapes are soft pressed in vacuum tanks. Cold static decantation and fermentation take place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation. This wine had hints of lemon and pear with notes of almond and hazelnut and was showing no signs of age.






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2 responses to “Lugana — the White Wine of Lake Garda

  1. Jonathan Levine

    Charles: Thanks for reminding me of these wines. I too have always liked Lugana but for some reason they have slipped off my radar. I found these wines to be of good value, easy drinking and while not too complex a delightful tipple. Will try some of those you suggested.

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