Wine Wednesday: Wines from Lake Garda for the Holiday Feast

Today’s post is about some of the wonderful choices of wines from Lake Garda that you could pair with your holiday meal for Thanksgiving. The panorama is very large and one that is close to my heart. I’ve work with the Lugana DOC for a few years now and of course, I recommend their wines made with Turbiana, crisp, clean wines with minerality and refreshing acidity. All perfect for Thanksgiving.

I also want to suggest the rosé wines from the Lake, specifically Chiaretto from the Valtenesì DOC. Chiaretto is a blend of four indigenous varieties: Groppello, Marzemino, Barbera, and Sangiovese. It usually sees short skin contact, soft pressing of the grapes, fermentation in steel tanks and some months in the bottle before release. Short skin contact, soft pressing, steel tanks. Chiaretto is coming back as the Rosé category becomes more popular. Chiaretto tends to have good acidity and it would be a great pairing as well for the multi-course Thanksgiving meal.

I have served one from Azienda Agricola Pasini San Giovanni  at two of my seminars on wines from Lombardy. I’ve met Paolo, the third generation running the winery, and love their version of Chiaretto – clear, straightforward and refreshing. The winery was founded in 1958 and has been organic since 2014. They have 14 hectares of vineyards on loose and permeable land, rich in coarse soil of glacial origin. They are very attentive to their carbon footprint which they have been measuring since 2009. They plant grass between the rows as you can see from the picture above which helps to prevents erosion and makes the vines compete for nutrients in the soils. They also look to expand biodiversity within the vineyards.

My last pick from Lake Garda for Thanksgiving are wines made from Groppello, in the Garda Classico Groppello DOC denomination. Garda Classico Groppello DOC must be 100% Groppello (Gentile and/or Mocasina and/or Santo Stefano). When vinified and matured in stainless steel, it is very reminiscent of Gamay to be – the perfect and traditional holiday pairing with Turkey. It gets spicier as it ages. It also has great minerality and sapidity which I like in wines and which works with the Thanksgiving feast.

Selva Capuzza makes one that I liked very much and served at my seminar on Lombard wines. With its aromas of small reed fruits and earth tones, I think it would complement both the main and side dishes on the table tomorrow. Groppello is the most important red grape in the Lake Garda region. Selva Capuzza has been making theirs since 2009 and at 12.50% alcohol, it won’t overwhelm your palate. Luca Formentini, the owner of Selva Capuzza thinks it can age 3-5 years. His wine, called San Biagio was beautiful and won’t last that long in my house. The Selva Capuzza winery is on its 101th vintage. The property is amazing, the restaurant delicious and the agriturismo peaceful. Luca is very attentive to the environment and it shows on their property.

There are other wonderful wines from the lake including Bardolino but these three categories taken together can make any table a happy one for guests with a wide range of foods and palates.


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