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Thursday 4 August 2022

An Italian option for Chablis lovers

It was a delightful summer afternoon in Verona's Piazza BrĂ .

The many cafes and bars were buzzing as the adjacent Roman amphitheatre was being prepared for an opera performance.

This being the Veneto, we should be sipping on a glass of Soave, or perhaps a Valpolicella or Bardolino.

Our sommelier has other ideas; "definitely a glass of Lugana" he advises.

I'm a lover of Chablis, Sancerre, South African chenin blanc and Hunter semillon, but Lugana has so far escaped my radar. 

It's crisp, aromatic, citrusy, dry and refreshing, is best served chilled and has some nice textural characters.

It comes from a region near Lake Garda that is partially in the Veneto and partially in Lombardy. And its is bloody delicious. I have a new vinous friend.

Lugana, it turns out, is a popular Italian DOC white wine domestically that has not been exported much.

The production area goes from the southern coast of Lake Garda to the morainic hills, halfway between the province of Verona and the province of Brescia.

It is delicate and fragrant on the nose, rich in minerality on the palate (hence the similarity to Chablis and the whites of the Macon).

The Lugana Denominazione di Origine Controllata produces both a table wine and a sparkling wine.

The wines are made from what is locally called turbiana, or Trebbiano di Lugana, and it is a very close relative of verdicchio.

British wine bible Decanter recently devoted a multi-page article to the wines of Lugana in its May edition.

Some of the top names in Italian wine have bought land and vineyards in the area, so we can, perhaps, expect to see more Lugana down the track.

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