Today’s featured wine of the week “magically” takes us to a land that really deserves a closer look: I’d like to tell you about the area immediately south of Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy and a popular tourist destination. There, straddling the nearby regions of Lombardy and Veneto, lies the Lugana Doc wine cultivation territory.
Four townships in Lombardy (Desenzano, Sirmione, Pozzolengo and Lonato) and one in Veneto (Peschiera del Garda) make up the Doc area . 60% of bottles, out of a total of 9 million, are produced on the Verona side. As the land lies directly south of Lake Garda, many vineyards offer a breath-taking view of the lake.
Lugana Doc is produced from Turbiana grapes, a variety that bears a passing resemblance to both Trebbiano di Soave and Verdicchio marchigiano; the Lugana Doc consortium, however, is adamant that Turbiana is one of a kind, pointing to the fact that Turbiana grapes are, individually, much smaller than even those of Trebbiano Toscano, which is commonly found in many Italian regions.
Turbiana grapes grow on calcareous clay soil, rich in mineral salts. The Lugana Doc area enjoys the benefits that come from proximity to the lake, namely a favourable microclimate. As a product of single-variety winemaking, Turbiana grapes are able to versatilely express themselves both in their classic white and in their sparkling variations.
This week’s wine is a Lugana Doc from the La Ghidina estate – Ancilla Lugana by Luisella Benedetti company. This vineyard’s history exemplifies the passing of the torch that is a common feature in many winemaking companies all over the country. The name Ancilla was chosen to honour Luisella’s grandmother, who took to growing vines in the vineyards of La Ghidina (Sirmione) and Cadellora (Villafranca di Verona). Then it fell to Maria Teresa, Luisella’s mother, to continue her work in the fields: the harvest would then be sold to other neighbouring vineyards. At the turn of the millennium came a huge change. Luisella, who at the time was working in finance, accepted her mother’s proposal: she left her job and gave herself body and soul to working the soil. From then on, instead of selling the grapes to others, they would handle the winemaking and bottling themselves.
This week’s wine is a Lugana Doc vintage 2015: its name is 1909 with no added sulfites. It’s a wine dedicated to grandma Ancilla, 1909 being her birth year. It’s a straw yellow coloured wine with a delicate flowery bouquet, rich in jasmine, chamomile, elderberries and iris, fruit such as orange and tangerine, and a slight tinge of field grass. It emanates a delicate, smooth sweetness, which is reflected in its rich, mineral and balanced taste. Definately: a fresh, savoury citrus taste, a real feast for the palate.
Some technical notes: made from 100% Turbiana grapes, vineyard dating back to 2002, Guyot trained, limestone, calcareous, clay soil. No added sulfites. Cold maceration of grape skins, slow, low temperature fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Aged for six months in steel tanks with suspended yeasts. Further ageing in bottle for three months before being commercialized.
The is organic wine: it’s produced without any added sulfites. Luisella Benedetti is a member of FIVI, Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti (Italian Federation of Independent Winemakers).
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