Exploring Italian Whites: Lugana
Today we are going to talk about Lugana. Lugana is one of Italy’s oldest appellation for white (and sparkling) wine. The wine is produced predominately with 100% Trebbiano but up to 10% of other white grapes are permitted, as well. Over the last few years, Lugana has become increasingly popular. The production center for Lugana is centered around the town of Sirmione, which is located at the southern edge of Lake Garda. The area benefits from the fertile Po Valley. The Po is Italy’s longest river with a length of over 650km.
Furthermore, the Lugana benefits from Lake Garda’s mild climate. It is worth knowing, that Lake Garda is the northernmost area where olive trees can still be planted. On July 21st 1967, Lugana was awarded DOC status, making it the very first DOC-wine from the Lombardy/Lombardia region.
Nearby appellations include Garda DOC, Bardolino DOC and Bianco di Custoza DOC.
Lugana is usually a crisp, dry, fruity white wine. It is especially popular during spring and summer. There are four types of Lugana: Lugana DOC (the standard version that is best served very cold at around 6° C), Lugana DOC Superiore (higher alcohol and at least one year of aging that is best served at around 12°C-14°C), Lugana DOC Spumante (sparkling wine) and Lugana DOC Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest). Please note the different suggested serving temperatures between the varieties of Lugana (temperatures taken from the Association of Lugana wineries).
For many decades, Lugana has been unknown outside of Italy. Mostly because Veronese Pinot Grigio was mass-produced and exported on a large scale. The wine is also ideal for preparing Veneto Spritz, an Italian aperitif.
Because of its increasing popularity, hundreds of wineries jumped on the train and started manufacturing Lugana. Therefore it can be quite a challenge to find a winery that produces excellent Lugana. Ca’ dei Frati makes, in my opinion, the best Lugana. I have previously reviewed the 2011 Ca dei Frati – I Frati Lugana DOC (rated with 4.5/5 stars).
Let’s take a closer look at another Lugana producer: Pratello. Azienda Agricola Pratello is located in Padenghe sul Garda around 15km from Sirmione. The winery produces a variety of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. Their focus however lies on whites and sparklers. A few years ago, the winery switched from conventional to organic agriculture.
Pratello also offers accommodations in their agritourism. The agritourism also includes a restaurant where they offer local dishes that are paired with their wines.
Tasting notes 2012 Pratello Terre Bianche
The wine is produced with 100% Trebbiano grapes. Terre Bianche aged in stainless steel tanks. In the glass, the wine had a pale yellow color. Terre Bianche’s label listed ABV was 12%. On the nose, there are aromas of herbs, flowers and fresh fruit, especially pear, lime, apricot and apple. In the mouth, there was a notable minerality and acidity. Terre Bianche was dry. The finish was of medium length. For my personal taste, the acidity was a little bit too dominate.
Terre Bianche is available for around 10€. The wine is recommended but I still prefer the I Frati from Ca’ dei Frati, which I mentioned earlier.
What is your favorite Lugana? Have you tried the Pratello Terre Bianche?