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Lugana, Italy: Wines Waiting in the Wings

Lugana, Italy: Wines Waiting in the Wings
Lugana, Italy: Wines Waiting in the Wings

Lugana, located in the vinicultural region of northern Italy, sits at the southern end of Lake Garda. Lugana, derived from the Latin Lacus Lucanus (lake in the woods) is noted for its wines, and the region also offers incredible tourism opportunities as the religious influences from the Middle Ages especially in the towns of San Benedetto di Lugana, San Vigilie di Lugana and San Martino di Lugana are well preserved and accessible.

Why Wines

Research suggests that ancient grape seeds found in Peschiera del Garda are from vines grown in this area since the Bronze Age (or before). The white wines are also documented in Andrea Bacci’s 1595 book, De Naturali Vinorum Historia (On the Natural History of Wines). In addition, Lugana was the first D.O.C. registered in Lombardy, and one of the earliest in Italy.

Currently the Lugana DOC is comprised of 2700 acres of vineyards that run from the fishing villages and castle-filled towns of Desenzano to Peschiera, and include parts of Lonato, Pozzolengo and Simione. An important factor supporting the Lugana vinous success is its mild microclimate, unusual for northern Italy as the weather is tempered by the Lake and while the summers are hot, they are not scorching and the winters are mild. The Lake keeps spring frosts at bay and there is always a breeze keeping the vineyards ventilated and grapes healthy all the way through to the harvest.

A large part of the area’s soil (approximately 5,436 acres under vine) are on low-lying plains with dense soil that covers a bed of mineral–rich moraine. Light colored soil of glacial origins tied to the creation of Lake Garda confers minerality to the wines, as well as savory notes, longevity and structure.

Lugana Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines account for approximately 90 percent of total production, and the remaining areas are designated as Superiore or Riserva releases, or produced as sparkling or late-harvest selections. More than 17.5 million bottles were produced in 2018 with 70 percent exported to the US – the denomination’s 4th largest market. READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT WINES.TRAVEL

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About the author

Dr. Elinor Garely - special to eTN and editor in chief, wines.travel