Italy does not have one ruling white or red grape. In fact, Italy is home to over 1,000 indigenous varieties, many of who you might never have heard of. Frappato? Molinara? Cortese? Turbiana?
Turbiana is the white grape used to make Lugana wine, a refreshing and dynamic white wine from the Lugana DOC near Lake Garda in northeast Italy. But I’m betting you’ve never heard of the Turbiana grape of Lugana wine. Why? With over 1,000 indigenous grapes, some slip through the cracks and don’t make it to commercial success. So, let’s discover something new and get out of a wine rut with Lugana wine. I wrote about Lugana wine in 2017, but I felt it was time for a refresher!
We begin with the entry-level Lugana, which covers over 90% of the wines that come out of the region. No aging requirements on this one. Next up we have the Lugana Superiore where the wine must age for at least one year for this designation. Lugana Riserva must age for at least 24 months (6 mos of which have to be in the bottle). Less common is the Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva (VT) made from late harvest grapes. And finally, Lugana Spumante sparkling wine. The VT and Spumante Lugana wine styles are both quite difficult to find. I have yet to find them actually!
Below are a few Lugana wines I have enjoyed over the last few months. These wines show bright, fresh citrus and stone fruit aromas and flavors and strong acidity. Also, notes of white flowers and even nuttiness in some Lugana wine expressions. Retail prices hover around $15 to $25.
Keep an eye out for Lugana and don’t sleep on it! It’s a great alternative Italian white wine. If you love Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, you might find a Lugana wine that you love!