Tag Archives: Lugana

Touring the Veneto with Vignaioli Veneti

The Veneto is a region of Italy I travel to often because of the wine and the food. I like to visit Venice and Verona but I usually stay on Lake Garda. Recently Vignaioli Veneti invited me on a press trip to the Veneto. The invitation read: Vignaioli 2017: Discover Veneto’s Top Grower-Producers, Growing Areas and Wines.

Lake Garda

I would be staying in a hotel on Lake Garda.

Vignaioli Veneti is a newly-formed organization of over fifty of the Veneto’s top small producers. The president of the association is Michele Montresor and the Director is Giulio Liut.
The program included two Master classes conducted by Kerin O’Keefe, visits to eleven wineries, and dinner in some of the best restaurants in the area. There were 7 other journalists in the group and I enjoyed sharing these experiences and our conversations as well.


The first evening there was a welcome dinner at Ristorante alla Borsa, in the town of Mincio. It is a restaurant I have been to before, famous for its tortellini filled with cheese, meats or vegetables.

Mr. Montresor said the Veneto has historic cities of art and culture such as Venice, Padova and Verona, but they are only one aspect of this region. It stretches from Lake Garda to the Dolomites and to the Adriatic beaches. Vignaiolo Veneti’s mission is to establish the Veneto, its wines and wineries worldwide as a manifestation of quality.

Kerin O’Keefe

I was looking forward to the Master Class conducted by Kerin O’Keefe. Kerin reviews all Italian wines for the Wine Enthusiast magazine. She is the author of several books, including Franco Biondi Santi: The Gentleman of Brunello (2005), Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy’s Great Wines (2012), and Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine (2014).

I have known Kerin for a number of years. At the Master Class there were 20 wines in all, 10 whites and 10 reds divided into 4 flights. Kerin felt that these wines were examples of the diversity of wines made by the member wineries and the Veneto in general.

1st Flight
Villa Medici Bianco Provincia di Verona IGT “Primizia” 2016 made from 25% Trebbiano, 25% Garganega and 50% Cortese. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless steel. Kerin said that this grape, better known for producing Gavi, is very common in the Lake Garda area.

Gorgo Custoza DOC San Michelin 2016 made from Garganega, Cortese, Trebbiano Toscano and Riesling. Fermentation and aging in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation does not take place.

Calvalchina Custoza Superiore “Amedeo” 2015 made from 30% Garganega made from 40% Garganega, 30% Fernanda (a clone of Cortese, 15% Trebbianello (a clone of Tocai), 15% Trebbiano Toscano. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation is prevented.

La Morette Lugana Mandolare 2016 made from 100% Turbiana. Fermented in stainless steel. Kerin said that Turbiana is relative of Trebbiano di Soave, but it is a separate grape variety. Most producers use 100% Turbiana. She added that the best grapes come from the area close to the lake, where the soil has the most clay. There are 5 different types of Lugana wine.

Ottella Lugana Riserva DOC “Molceo” 2014 made from Turbiana (Trebbiano di Lugana). Kerin said some producers put both names on the label. Partial malolactic fermentation, aging for 16 months on the lees mostly in stainless steel and also in tonneaux and barriques.

2nd Flight
Cà Rugate Soave Classico “Monte Fiorentine” 2015 made from 100% Garganega. Fermentation is stainless steel for about 10 to 15 days. Kerin said that as of 1998 Trebbiano Toscano was not allowed in the blend.

Pieropan Soave Classico DOC “Calvarino” 2015 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave. Kerin said this was the first “cru” made in 1971. The wine remains in glass-lined cement tanks on the fine lees for one year

Pra Soave Classico “Monte Grande” 2009 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave. The grapes are dried on the vines for one month and then destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation is carried out in large 15/20 hl casks made of Allier oak. The wine is then left in casks to mature for ten months. The wine was showing no signs of age.
After visits later to the producers Pieropan and Pra, it confirmed once again that Soave is a great white wine that only gets better with age.

Bonotto Delle Tezze Prosecco Superiore Col Real Valdobbiadene DOCG 2016 made from 100% Glera. The grapes are harvested by hand and subject to soft pressing. After setting, the must is fermented in autoclave and after the wine is bottled,

Cà di Rajo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Valdobbiadene Millesimato Brut “Cuvèe del Fondatore  made from 100% Glera.  Long charmat method 70 to 90 days. No malolactiic fermentation and no aging

My next report will cover the red wines we tasted.


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Filed under Pieropan Calvarino, Prosecco, Soave

LUGANA DOC: The White Wine of Lake Garda

One of my favorite places to visit in Italy is Lake Garda. I like sitting outside in a restaurant along the lake, eating the lake fish and drinking the local wine, in most cases Lugana DOC. While it wasn’t quite the same as Lake Garda, a dinner at La Pizza Fresca in NYC hosted by the Consorizo Tutela Lugana DOC was a good opportunity to try the new vintages.


Luca Formentini from the Selva Capuzza Winery

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.


Angelica Altomare from the Cà Maiol Winery

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. It is related to the Trebbiano di Soave varietal.

The basic Lugana wine accounts for almost 90% of the production. There is also a Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva (aged for at least 24 months, six of which is in the bottle), a late harvest, and a spumante version.

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

All of the wines at the tasting except two were from the 2015 vintage.img_1617

Lugana DOC “Provenza” 2015 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. Cà Maiol Training system is Guyot and there are 4400 plants per hectare. The soil is calcareous clay and the wines are 20 to 25 years old. Fermentation is stainless steel and malolactic fermentation tales place. The wine has hints of white fruit, white flowers and a very pleasing finish and after taste.img_1626

“Felugana” Lugana DOP Feliciana made from Turbiana grapes from Lugana. Manual harvest takes place at the end of September. Soft pressing of the grapes takes place and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of white flowers, fruit and mineral notes. img_1618

Lugana “Centro Filari” Cesari made from 95% Turbiana and 5% Chardonnay. The vineyards are located on the Southern shore of Lake Garda in Peschiera del Garda and Pozzolegno. There are 11 hectares of vineyards and 4,100 plants per hectare. Pruning system is Archetto semplice and the soil is clay-calcareous. Almost 20% of the grapes are ripened on cut off shoots to enhance structure and concentration. The grapes are soft pressed and alcoholic fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures. The juice remains in contact with the skin until January and the wine is bottled in February. Hints of flowers and fruit with a touch of grass and herbs.

Lugana 2015 Azienda Agricola CA’ Lojera made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana). Vineyards are at the southern tip of Lake Garda (Sirmione). There are 4,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. There are hints of melons and tangerines, floral notes, a touch of mint and a fruity personality.img_1625

Lugana DOC Familia Olivini made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. There is a hand harvest, followed by a gentle pressing of the grapes. Alcoholic fermentation with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and a partial malolactic fermentation. Flowery with citrus scents, well balanced.img_1624

Lugana DOC “I Frati” Cà dei Frati made from 100% Turbiana. The soil is chalky clay and the training system is single and double guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and 80% malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged 6 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks and two months in the bottle before release. This is a wine that can be drunk young but becomes more complex with a few years of age. It has hints of almonds and apricot with a hint of spice and candied fruit.img_1631

Lugana Montunale   Azienda Agricola Momtonale made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes that are hand harvested. Montonale is a little village in the hills above Lake Garda. The soil is calcium mineral rich with clay and the vineyard is at 90 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 10 days at a low temperature. The wine remains on the lees for 5 months with frequent battonage. It remains in bottle for at least one month before release. The wine has hints of peach, apple with a touch of spice.img_1619

Lugana Le Creete 100% Trebbiano di Lugana.  Ottella The grapes are hand harvested from their own vineyards. The training system is Guyot, double arch. The grapes are picked late, there is a brief maceration on the skins. Fermentation is partly in controlled temperature steel vats and partly in wooden crates. Well balanced fruity wine with hints of herbs and grass.

Lugana “Limne” DOC 2013  Tenuta Roveglia 100% Turbiana (AKA Trebbiano) di Lugana. The vineyards are on the southern shores of Lake Garda at 50 meters. The land is mostly flat and harsh with clayish soil, rich in mineral salts. Harvest takes place the third week of September by hand in small crates. There is a soft pressing of the grapes with a maximum extraction of 60% first-pressing must. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains in stainless steel for 4 to 5 months. Bottling in various phases from February to September of the year following the harvest. It remains in the bottle for 2 to 3 months before release. The wine is fruity but dry.img_1620

Lugana DOC Cá Del Largo Lugana Villabella Made from 90% Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana) and 10% Chardonnay. The vineyards are along the southern shore of Lake Garda. The soil is clay -white and black. Harvest is the first week of October. The must is cold–macerated, pressing is soft and fermentation is carried out at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in stainless steel and then in bottle before release. The wine has excellent structure and hints of flowers and citrus fruit with good minerality.img_1630

Lugana Riserva “Menasasso” 2012 100% Turbiana. Podere Selva Capuzza Harvest is by hand and vinification is in stainless steel and barriques.  Luca Formentini from the winery told me that the wine is produced from a select plot within the Sleva vineyards. The grapes are harvested a few days after the regular vintage. A small part of the must is fermented in small oak barrels with the aim to impart extra complexity to the finished wine without imparting undesired wood flavors.This is a well-balanced complex wine that was not showing any signs of age. He said it could last for ten years or more. It was the wine I drank the most!



Filed under Italian White Wine, Italian Wine