Though I’ll happily pop the cork of a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or creamy Chardonnay when I’m enjoying “white wine food” – or an aromatic Riesling, Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer for a change of pace – I’ll always welcome the chance to try something completely different.
So naturally, I jumped at the chance to head into San Francisco yesterday for an exclusive, industry-only tasting of wines from two historic growing regions in north-central Italy.
You’ve probably heard of one of them – Valpolicella, in the province of Verona.
Today, though, we’re spotlighting the other region – Lugana – which lies just west of the better-known Valpolicella.
Fairly small and well-contained, bordering gorgeous Lake Garda and straddling both Verona and Lombardy, Lugana is only just starting to become known in the U.S.
And in my not-always-humble opinion, its unique, delicious and versatile wines *definitely* deserve a prominent place at America’s table!
Because of Lugana’s geography, geology and cool climate, white grapes dominate here.
(Think chilly Germany and its Rieslings, Gewürztraminers… you get the picture!)
In fact, when you see the name “Lugana” on a bottle, you know that the wine in it is white.
By far the main varietal grown here is an indigenous, winter-hardy grape called Turbiana, which has adapted beautifully to Lugana’s often-rugged conditions.
Before even taking my first taste of a Lugana white, I was struck by the *look* of it while it was being poured for me. I didn’t even need to swirl it to see how viscous it was, and how it coated the glass.
This is common with sweet, late harvest-style wines – but these Lugana wines are dry.
What’s more, I could smell the wine before I’d even lifted it from the table to my nose.
Wow! Ripe peaches and apricot (wines from some of the other producers came through with guava, papaya and passionfruit), plus nuts like almond and hazelnut, and some exotic florals.
All this, plus a soft, mouthfilling texture and crisp finish. Beautiful wines on their own – beautiful wines to enjoy with food.
They’re varied, too – especially since many producers also make “Superiore” and/or “Riserva” bottlings, with even more complex flavor profiles.
And if that’s not enough, you’ll even find “Vendemmia Tardiva” (late-harvest) and “Spumante” (sparkling) styles of Lugana.
See what I mean when I say that Lugana wines deserve a prominent place at America’s table?
Tomorrow, I’ll bring you back to this extraordinary tasting, and to the elegant dinner that followed.
We’ll also meet some of the top producers, from both the Lugana and the Valpolicella regions, and taste some exceptional wines – both red and white.
Until then, my friends,
e tanti auguri felicissimi –
It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods *you* love taste even better!
Email me anytime at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Cheers once again,