Lugana- The Liquid Gold of Lake Garda

Today I was lucky enough to give a presentation on Lugana for the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG). As the East Coast ambassador for Lugana, I was thrilled to be able to share my love of this region with members of the WSG. The webinar was recorded so if you are a member but couldn’t participate you can download the presentation.

We touched on all the important points about Lugana and the continuing threat from the building of the high speed train to the area. We mentioned some of the great producers and the five styles of Lugana DOC as well: Lugana, Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva, Lugana Vendemnia Tardiva and Lugana Spumante.

Lugana comes from an area that is on the border between the two Provinces of Brescia and Verona. It is an inter-regional DOC and stretches along an area of morainic origin south of Lake Garda. The word Lugana appears to derive from the early-medieval word “lucus” or wood. In fact, the area was covered in the past by the Selva Lucana, a dense, marshy forest. Today it is an area that is characterized by very particular soil, made up predominantly of white clays and limestone, which are difficult to till but capable of giving the grapes cultivated here extraordinary elegance and tanginess. Lugana is made with the Turbiana grape also know as Trebbiano di Lugana.

Turbiana is closely related to Trebbiano di Soave–a variety that is quite close geographically speaking, but whose vineyards are on a different type of soil, of volcanic rather than morainic origin. The Turbiana grape was considered for a long time to be related (if not actually confused) with the Verdicchio grape from the Castelli di Jesi in the Marche Region. However, recent studies have shown that it is different from that cultivar in its aromatic characteristics, as well as from a phenological, agronomical and oenological point of view.

There’s so much more to say about the denomination, given DOC status in 1967, but for now, I’ll direct you to the Consortium’s website and to the Wine Scholar Guild’s site. Lugana will be showcased at one of the luncheons in the next few weeks at the Society of Wine Educators conference as well as at the Wine Bloggers conference in Walla Walla in October and at the American Wine Society conference in November. The Consortium is also hosting events around the States together with Valpolicella and on its own this fall. You have many opportunities to try Lugana coming up and I for one am going to take advantage of these occasions to drink these great white wines from Lake Garda and I hope you will too.

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