Lucky me got to participate in a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC at this year’s Vinitaly. Led by wine expert at large, Filippo Bartolotta, this was one stylin’ tasting! Get a load of those graphics – so chic!
Edoardo Peduto, the director of the Consorzio, gave a very professional, business-oriented intro, setting the tone for this in-depth tasting of several styles of Lugana by various producers.
Some background info for the clueless: Lugana is a scrumptious white wine made from the Turbiana grape (the Veneto cousin of Trebbiano, also called Trebbiano di Soave). It grows in two regions, Lombardy and Veneto, on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy’s biggest lake. The town of Lugana is found on the little finger-like peninsula that sticks out into the lake, known as Sirmione, which was the home to the Latin poet Catullus. So we’ve got it all here – culture, history, beautiful geography and wine. What more do you want? Wine is poetry in a bottle, right?
The PowerPoint presentation was WOW level. In this slide, you can see that Lugana comes in various styles: Spumante, Lugana, Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva and Vendemmia Tardiva, or late harvest.
Back to the tasting. There’s a lot to like about Bartolotta! Here’s what I love in a man: substance and style. Filippo is the Bruno Mars of the wine world… Cool but fun. And he’s got one of the most interesting, fun and above all hip Instagram accounts out there in the wine world, so check it out! This guy’s got a golden tongue – in more ways than one! Of course, his palate is tops. But how he crafts those sentences, the words roll off his tongue and it’s a pleasure to listen. It’s all about communication.
And now for the line-up:
The first vintage was a 2022 Citari Conchiglia from San Martino della Battaglia. On the nose, flowers and tropical fruit like pineapple, on the palate it is a little oily, like Viognier, and dangerously easy to drink!
The second was a Ceresa Lugana, very light in color, almost transparent, with an herbal, almost spicy nose. It spends 5 months on the lees, and is lightly pétillant. Mouth-wateringly salty, fresh, acidic, lemony and herbal, this is a wine begging to be paired with food.
Third in the flight, was Marangona’s TreCampane. This 2018 vintage was a mouthful: honey, flinty, a complex nose with herbs and a hint of gasoline; on the palate, all that complexity exploded with a smooth almost oily feel. Think Riesling! Clearly with great promise for aging, this is one to put in the cellar.
Fourth up, Ca’ Lojera’s Lugana Riserva del Lupo 2019. Here, the golden tones are starting to emerge, and this one looked like oil in the glass. On the nose, some tropical fruit, lemon peel, and a smoky note. It’s hard to believe this Riserva doesn’t see wood. But maybe there is some noble rot to help it along. Simply yummy!
The fifth wine presented was Podere Selva Capuzza’s Riserva Menasasso. Even more golden in color, but brilliant and beautiful, the nose was light. But this Riserva wine had a light feel of tannin on the palate, and citron, saffron, chamomile. Probably made to last, and perhaps better if aged a bit more.
Corte Sermana Lugana Riserva 2015 was our sixth and like its predecessor, a deeper gold color. On the nose, mineral, flint, spice, white pepper. The fresh acidity tells us that, even at 8 years old, it has a long way to go.
And to top it all off, a Cobue “31 Ottobre” Vendemmia Tardiva 2019, a real treat. Aromatic, on the nose there was dried fruit, apricot, quince, saffron. On the palate, dried fruit again, ginger, citrus, and yet mouthwatering after the sugar disappears. The pairing possibilities on this wine are endless, and all to be tried!
This year’s Vinitaly clearly sent the message that Italian wine is about more than just reds. And in that subtext, another message emerged loud and clear: there is more to Italian whites than just Pinot Grigio. Shout out to my Anglo-Saxon friends: broaden your Italian white horizons! As this well-organized tasting showed us, even in just one denomination, the range is ample, delectable and exciting. Get thee to thy nearest wine shop (or favorite website, so you don’t have to drag the bottles home!)