Lugana is hardly a household name for most wine enthusiasts. This small production zone at the southern end of Lake Garda is a mere 1,482 acres in size with just over 100 producers. Lake Garda however attracts thousands of tourists every year and if you have ever been fortunate enough to visit this scenic region and dined on some of the local seafood, you probably had a glass of Lugana with dinner.
Ok so just what is Lugana? Well the simple answer is it’s a medium to full-bodied white wine with intense luscious fruit flavors wrapped up in mouthwatering acidity. And what are the grapes varieties used in Lugana? Now it gets a little more complicated.
Lugana is produced with a native grape variety most often called Turbiana. The origins of Turbiana are unclear and after my own personal research I’m confused as well. I was told that Turbiana was a clone of Trebbiano di Soave but recently a DNA test done by the University of Milan revealed that it was not genetically related to Trebbiano di Soave or Verdicchio as others believe.
One the other hand, Jancis Robinson, in her informative book Wine Grapes, writes that Turbiana is genetically identical to Trebbiano di Lugana and Verdicchio. In any case the locals tend to stick to the name Turbiana in order to distinguish the variety grown in this particular region.
Whatever name we assign to the grape variety (Turbiana, Trebbiano di Lugana, Verdicchio) the Ghiraldi Lugana Il Gruccione is a delicious, full-bodied white wine full of freshness and vibrant acidity. This wine is sure to satisfy our desire to explore the diversity of Italy’s native grape varieties.
Paul Quaglini, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine and spirits supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq