One of the most scenic wine regions in a very scenic country, Lugana sits on the border between Lombardy and the Veneto on the south end of beautiful Lake Garda, where the fertile Po Valley plain rises into Northern Italy’s lake country and the glacial foothills of the Alps. Lugana is hardly well-known, but maybe it should to be: This region’s white wines, luscious, full-bodied and surprisingly ageworthy, deserve ranking among the world’s great whites for their balance, beauty and food-friendly style. It’s hardly a coincidence that this great white goes with fish as it comes from the shores of one of Italy’s largest freshwater lakes.
All Lugana is white; a small amount is sparkling, but the majority is made as a dry, still wine. The grape used is the lowly Trebbiano, a variety that in most of Italy (and in France, where it’s called as Ugni Blanc) isn’t really considered exciting nevermind interesting. In Lugana, however, Trebbiano is different, a serious grape making a serious wine. Whether its unique clone of standard Trebbiano or, as some producers in the region insist, an entirely different grape, may have to await future DNA testing. The simple answer, though, lies in the tasting: Luscious and “transparent, exceptional for showing minerality and “terroir,” Lugana is one of my new favorite white wines (for a while at least). And this is the wine that swung it, Monte Zovo Lugana ‘Le Civaie’ 2011, brilliant straw yellow with greenish highlights. It has a pleasant bouquet of melons and tangerines with mint and banana accents and some floral notes on the nose and a strong fruity personality on the palate. Reminded my of a good Chablis and went down a treat with our homemade Chicken a al King.