Exploring Lugana’s Turbiana grape – Field trip!

I’m now a Lugana Lover! While at the 2022 Wine Media Conference, I had the opportunity to get introduced to the Lugana wine region and experience zippy white wines made with the Turbiana grape. Lugana is a region in Northern Italy stretching across Lake Garda between Venice, Milan and Verona.

Lake Garda

Lugana DOC has distinct geographical properties that make the Turbiana grape unique. Lake Garda formed more than 10,000 years ago from a glacier and it is the largest dimensional lake in Italy. The lake helps to regulate temperature and provides breeze to keep the grapes healthy and to preserve acidity. The white soil is very rich in calcareous materials and mineral content while the area benefits from a micro-climate that provides plenty of sunshine.

Five types of Lugana wine are made with the Turbiana grape, which demonstrate the versatility of this grape. These wines are known to age well.

  1. Lugana – Accounts for 90% of production.
  2. Lugana Superiore – Aged for at least a year
  3. Lugana Riserva – Aged for 24 months, 6 months in the bottle
  4. Lugana Venemmia Tardiva – Made with “over-ripened” grapes similar to late harvest wine
  5. Lugana Spumante – The sparkling version

The first stop on a 2022 Wine Media Conference excursion to taste this Turbiana grape took place at Cà dei Frati. This was an original monastery which explains it church like presence. The I Frati Lugana DOC wine is 100% Turbiana and straw yellow. You’ll notice white floral and almond on the nose and taste elegant fresh fruit, salinity, and vibrant acidity. We enjoyed a few more of Cà dei Frati wines that were delightfully paired with pastry appetizers. If you enjoy high acid fruity wines then you’ll be a Lugana lover too!  I brought this wine to taste with some wine colleagues recently, and it was a hit! 

Our next stop on our Lugana excursion was to Ottella. This winery has been in the Montresor family for four generations. Lodovico, the father was a wine entrepreneur and art collector before starting the winery in 1967. The Ottela family balances wine, nature, and art to reflect ethical values and aesthetic values. It’s noted that this was the only family to produce wine in the early 1900’s in Lugana. Recently Ottella has won the 2020 Top 100 Wines from Wine Spectator, and 95 points from Decanter for Ottella’s Le Creete Lugana wine. This wine has hints of grapefruit and pineapple with crisp acidity and mineral feel. Lovely and fresh.

We were treated to a delicious lunch with wine pairings throughout.

We sampled fresh mozzarella with olives that was a standout. Amazing!

Our next stop took us to Ca’Lojera which is closer to Lake Garda. Founded in 1992, it contains a 13th Century house. The white clay soil here that used to be at the bottom of the lake, creates the crisp minerality of these wines.

We tasted through these wines. The Ca’Lojera Lugana DOC, straw yellow with melon, tangerine, and floral notes on the nose. Fresh with savory and mineral notes on the palate.

We had opportunity to taste the Ca’Lojera Lugana Superiore DOC that is aged in oak and stays in the bottle for one year. Noticed the fresh pineapple aroma and taste.

The Ca’Lojera Lugana Riserva del Lupo DOC  is made from third harvest grapes that contain botrytis. The honey and citrus notes were evident when you put your nose in the glass and when you tasted it.

It was great to taste the 1999 Ca’Lojera Lugana Annata Storica. This wine displayed the aging potential of the Turbiana grape. Amber colour, with minerality,  apricot and honey notes. Delicious!

Our final event was graciously hosted by Luca Formentini of Podere Selva Capuzza. Besides tasting the delicious wines from Selva Capuzza, many winemakers were there to present their Lugana wines. I am beyond impressed with the variety within the region and the quality of these wines.

I’ll continue to support my love of Lugana wines. How about you?