Lugana is one of Italy’s lesser-known white wine jewels. The vines are grown close to the southern shores of Lake Garda in Lombardy, northern Italy, across from Bardolino and neighbours in the Veneto’s eastern part of the lake. The grape used is normally known as Trebbiano di Lugana, or Turbiana by locals, but it is not the same variety as the Trebbiano (aka Ugni Blanc) which accounts for a full third of all Italian white wines; instead it is actually the same as Verdicchio from the Marche!
In addition to its location close to a large body of water, the Lugana wine region also has soils which are mainly clay, and hence are poor-draining. The vineyards are therefore prone to flooding, which is countered by creating a dome shape to the contours of the land (encouraging water to run off) and by giving the vines long, bare stems to encourage ventilation.
As well as dry whites there are also late harvest whites and sparkling wines produced in the region, though they are far less common than even the dry whites.
The Cà dei Frati estate differs from its neighbours in several respects: the vines are actually trained lower than normal (using single or double Guyot), are planted more densely (as is the modern way, so that vines compete for nutrients) but yields are kept down.
Cà dei Frati I Frati Lugana 2018
I have recommended this wine before bu I make no apology for repeating myself – it’s an excellent wine that offers a lot of flavour at a fairly modest price point. The nose is fairly expressive, with peach and some apricot notes. The palate is tangy, full of peach and pear. There’s a lovely rounded aspect to the palate, helped by a little residual sugar (6.3 g/L), but a crisp, fresh finish. This wine doesn’t need food – it’s eminently quaffable all by itself – but it would be a good partner for a wide variety of dishes – pan-fried scallops would be perfect!
- ABV: 13.5%
- RRP: €24 – €26
- Stockists (*indicate currently closed): Baggot Street Wines*; Blackrock Cellar*; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; Fresh Outlets, Dublin; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; La Touche Wines, Greystones; Sweeneys D3; The Corkscrew, Chatham St; wineonline.ie; World Wide Wines; Whelehans Wines; 64 Wine
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