There are many well known Italian wines that we are all familiar with (i.e. Prosecco, Chianti, Barolo, etc), but there are a ton of lesser known Italian wine regions. Wine is such a fragmented industry with consumers facing shelves upon shelves of choices. Lugana is not a choice many consumers see on their local shelves, as it is a smaller DOC with most of the wine production consumed within the region.
Lugana DOC is located between Lombardia and Veneto on the south shore of Lake Garda. The Lugana region has a Mediterranean climate, but Lake Garda gives maritime influences including cool breezes and relatively mild weather. Lugana DOC was the first all white wine DOC in Italy. Turbiana, which is a clone of Trebbiano specifically grown in Lugana, is the sole white grape used. All wines are monovarietal. Sometimes the grape is referred to as Trebbiano di Lugana.
The Valpolicella & Lugana tasting took place at the beautiful and recently renovated Park Plaza Hotel. While Valpo and Lugana wines are VERY different, it makes sense to pair the tasting as we are in the same gegraphic region. Also, Lugana wines are all white, while Valpolicella wines are just about all red. Some highlights from this trade tasting include:
This is a family winery with its 4th generation winemaker at the helm. The Museo del Vino onsite showcases old winemaking equipment and tools that have been used since the winery’s opening in 1888. I thoroughly enjoyed their Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012 “A”.
Shots from the Museo del Vino
Loving this Amarone
The award for most interesting wine I tasted at this event goes to Cantina Bulgarini Fausto with their Lugana DOC Superiore 2014 “Ca’ Vaibo”. The grapes for this wine undergo a short drying period before pressing. The final wine is a straw-yellow color (almost gold) and has notes of stone fruit (peach, apricot) along with a strong nuttiness.
The most recent Lugana event I attended was the Lugana Luncheon put together by Cori Solomon with the LA Wine Writers Group. Laura Donadoni walked us through her portfolio of Lugana wines beautifully paired with the cuisine of Cafe del Rey by Executive Chef, David Vilchez. See details below on each pairing. Each course was better than the next. I could have eaten a plate full of each of them! I’m hungry again just thinking about it…….
Laura Donadoni telling us about Lugana
Amuse Bouche: Seafood Salad on Toast
Pairing: Cafe del Rey, Lugana Brut, Metodo Classico ($20 retail)
This was an unexpectedly delightful bubbly made in the Metodo Classico (2nd fermentation happens in the bottle). It is crisp with good fruit (citrus and yellow apple) plus white flower notes. What I love is that you also get nice creamy, yeasty, and brioche flavors from bottle fermantation, yet it is still very fresh and clean. This is a nice Champagne alternative at about half the cost of an opening pricepoint Champagne.
This is my White Wine Summer Pick. Clean, refreshing, and a nice honeyed quality, yet bone dry. It's also got a nice medium + body and creaminess that comes from battonage (lees stirring for 6 months).
I love this wine. It is more honeyed than the basic Lugana DOC and has great structure and acidity. Once the wine got closer to room temperature, it developed a super nutty (almond skin) quality. The scallop risotto pairing was OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Swordfish, Squash Blossom, Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
This was a lovely medium dry dessert wine, that would also serve well as an aperitif before dinner. Personally, I could have a glass of this for dessert on its own!
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier based out of Los Angeles, California.
She has been producing events and weddings for over 10 years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and also offers her services as a wine educator, writer, and consultant to inspire people of all ages.
Brianne completed the entire curriculum with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and traveled to London in order to receive her Diploma certificate, which is one of the most coveted and difficult wine certifications. Most recently Brianne judged at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Wine Challenge in London.
As a wine blogger, I frequently accept samples for review on the blog and on my social media channels. Please contact me at email@example.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.
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