A Taste of Lugana; 2013 Tenuta Roveglia “Vigne di Catullo” Lugana Riserva #ItalianFWT

When I saw this month’s theme for the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel Group (#ItalianFWT)  was Alpine Wine, I had flashbacks to the multitude of experiences my wife I had when we traveled to Italy last fall.  We were there for three glorious weeks.  After flying into  Milano in Lombardy region, we wound our way through a caboodle of cities and villages in the Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Liguria (Cinque Terre) Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio (Rome) and Campania (Positano on the Amalfi Coast) regions.   We spent a few days in the Trentino-Alto Adige region that included hiking in Italy’s Dolomite Alps and experiencing the unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures, mostly via Tyrolean food and wine.  Ironically though, my most memorable “Alpine-ish” wine was from Lugana.

Some photos from our hike in the Dolomites! An amazing experience!
Some photos from our hike in the Dolomites! An amazing experience!

 

After a visit to see the 5,300-year-old, naturally preserved remains of Ötzi the Iceman, we took a stroll through the charming and narrow streets of Bolzano.  On a whim, we decided to tuck into Est!Est!! Est!!!, a quaint and funky little wine bar for a snack and a glass of wine.  I chose a glass of Lugana.

I’m so glad I did!  It was my introduction to this lesser known region.  And all that glass of Lugana did was intensify my love of Italian  white wines!

About Lugana

Lugana is a Northern Italian appellation on the border between the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto on the southern shores of Lake Garda, which is situated in the foothills of the Dolomites.

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Here are some key facts and figures about the region (Source):

Region: 
History: Established as a DOC in 1967
Vineyard Area: 1,800 ha / 4,400 acres (2016, C)
Production: 130,000 hl / 1,440,000 cases (2016, C)

The principal grape of the region is Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana in the local dialect).  But according to Wine Folly “…recent DNA studies have shown it to be a bio-type of Verdicchio“.

Italian wine grape expert Ian d’Agata believes Verdicchio to be one of the great white wines of Italy.(Author of Native Wine Grapes of Italy)

There are 5 styles of Lugana wine (Source):

  1. Lugana – Fresh, young, “standard” or “basic” Lugana is the driving force and foundation stone for the denomination as a whole: it accounts for almost 90% of the DOC’s wines.
  2. Lugana Superiore – Introduced into the production regulations in 1998, Lugana Superiore is a Lugana that has been aged for at least one year after harvesting.
  3. Lugana Risverva – Lugana Riserva is a natural evolution of the Superiore type: it must mature for at least 24 months, 6 of which in bottle.
  4. Lugana Spumante – Lugana Spumante is produced both by the Charmat (or Martinotti) method (prise de mousse in pressurized tanks) and the Classic Method (refermentation in bottle).
  5. Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest) – This type of wine is in fact made by over-ripening the grapes on the vine and then picking them later than usual – between the end of October.   Similar…to an Alsace Vendange Tardive or a German Spätlese

Terroir

The soil is mostly white clay and mineral rich limestone,  though in the hillier part of the D.O.C. the soil become more sandy.   It is not easy ground to work: just as it is compact and hard during times of drought, it becomes soft and muddy when it rains. However, it is these very chemical and physical features that make it the source of Lugana’s organoleptic qualities, because they give the wine clean, powerful scents that combine hints of almonds and citrus fruits, as well as acidity, tanginess and a well-balanced structure.

In Lugana, the microclimate – influenced positively by the temperate breezes from Lake Garda – is mild and fairly constant, with little difference between day- and night-time temperatures. This is a “climatic cradle” that is perfect for highlighting the peculiarities of a special grape like Turbiana. (Source)

In My Glass – 2013 Tenuta Roveglia “Vigne di Catullo” Lugana Riserva

Tenuta Roveglia grew from the love for the Lugana area of a Swiss business man, Federico Zweifel, who had immigrated to Lombardy at the end of the 19th century.

Federico brought in the first vines. His son, Giusto Zweifel, continued the passion of his father with rigour, strengthening the production of wine. In the 1980′s, a new generation took over — Giusto’s son-in-law Giovanni Felice Azzone, a member of Italy’s Royal Society — the Lincean Academy.

He brought to bear the thoroughness of scientific research on the practice of winemaking. Giusto’s daughter, Annarosa Zweifel, has dedicated herself for years now to uncovering traces of the estate’s rustic past. Their daughters Sara, Vanessa and Babettli continue today with the family tradition.  It is  100-hectare (250-acre) estate that produces  about 700,000 bottles a year.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from 55 year-old vines.  The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel allowing it to show the true character of the region while still bringing a beautiful weight and texture to this medium bodied wine.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale straw yellow color with green highlight and exuberant almond, lemon, peel, apple blossom, dried orchard fruit aromas complicated with an appealing minerality. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and focused with a supple texture. This is a harmonious wine with green apple, lemon cream, tangerine, white peach, almond and a nice bit of brown spice flavors with a lingering minerally finish. 91pts

On My Plate

We paired this wine with a quick summer meal of Pan-Seared Trout with Almond Brown Butter, Black Beans, and a Caprese Salad. I selected trout because it’s lake fish, and given Lugana proximity to Lake Garda, I was counting on the “what grows together, goes together”  maxim for maximizing my opportunity for a harmonious pairing.  In a similar vein, the original recipe called for pecans rather than almonds, but once i tasted the wine I decided to use almonds instead to “bridge” a flavor in the wine to the main dish.

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The original recipe called for pecan rather than almonds, but once i tasted the wine I decided to use almonds instead to “bridge” a flavor in the wine to the main dish.

The result?  The wine paired beautifully with our meal!

As I’d  hoped, the subtle almond character of the wine was the perfect complement for the Almond crust on the trout and the nuttiness of the almond brown butter used to sauce the trout.  Additionally the acidity of the wine cut through the richness of the butter, and while simultaneously complementing the acidity of the Caprese Salad. Finally, the spice notes in the wine and the wine’s weight played very well with the spicy black beans.

Be sure to check out what other delightful food, wine and travel experiences my fellow #ItalianFWT are covering this month!

  • SUSANNAH FROM AVVINARE WILL COVER WHITE WINES FROM AOSTA HIT HIGH NOTES. – Recently, Susannah has written about underrated Molise, the Italian varietal Marsanne Bianco and the Argentinian winery Dona Paula.
  • KATELYN FROM THRONE & VINE PRESENTS DIVINELY ALPINE – EXPLORING THE WINES OF ELENA WALCH – Throne & Vine has recently covered South Tyrol’s wayside shrines, wickedly cool castles in South Tyrol and reasons for visiting Alto Adige.
  • LAUREN FROM THE SWIRLING DERVISH TELLS THE STORY OF HEARTS ON FIRE: A SUMMER TRADITION IN ALTO ADIGE. – Visit Lauren’s blog for comprehensive coverage on wines from the Tour de France route, the summer wine blend of Verdicchio + Vermentino and the Burgundian region of Mercurey.
  • LYNN FROM SAVOR THE HARVEST RECOMMENDS THE ONE HIGH ALTITUDE WINE REGION YOU MUST TRY  – Lynn’s blog covers her summer French rosé tasting, the French Basque wine region of Irouléguy and the bubbly Italian wine Franciacorta.
  • CAMILLA, OF CULINARY ADVENTURES WITH CAMILLA, COOKS UP BEEF & BAROLO, TWO PIEDMONTESE DARLINGS – Peach-tomato salad with herb vinaigrette, grilled Porterhouse with pea-shoot pesto and Arròs Negre {black paella} with allioli a la catalana are some of the fresh features on Camilla’s blog.
  • JEFF, AUTHOR OF FOODWINECLICK! GETS INTO UNIQUE MOUNTAIN WINES OF ALTO ADIGE – Organic Natura wines, Vignobles Brumont, a Madiran producer in Southwest France and Italian Wine 101: Intro to Italian Wine and Chianti are topics Jeff has on the blog now.
  • GWENDOLYN FROM WINEPREDATOR WRITES ABOUT  HEADING OFF TO THE ALPS FOR – Gwendolyn has published over 600 posts on her blog – this summer she covered the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, Spanish white wines paired with tacos and how to taste and pair wine + cheese.
  • JENNIFER FROM VINOTRAVELS (AND THE CHAMPION OF ITALIAN FOOD, WINE AND TRAVEL) WILL SHARE VINEYARDS OF THE DOLOMITES WITH 2013 CASTEL SAN MICHELE ALL’ADIGE. – Jennifer is the author of Planning Your Dream Wedding in Tuscany. Her perspectives on Rias Baixes DO, Villa Maria winemaker Helen Morrison and Italian red wines for summer are recent blog highlights.
  • JILL OF L’OCCASION WRITES ABOUT A WINEMAKER RENDEZVOUS: IVAN GIOVANETT OF CASTELFELDER – Jill, winner of the 2016 Wine Blog Award for Best Writing on a Wine Blog, and Best Overall Wine Blog has recently covered Lessons from a Biodynamic Winemaker in France, and Thomas Jefferson in Burgundy

If you’re up early enough, we’ll be chatting about Alpine food, wine and travel on Twitter on Saturday, August 5th 8-9am PST/11-12 EST.   Join us using the #ItalianFWT  hashtag!

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. culinarycam says:

    This looks like a fabulous pairing, Martin. And I’m so jealous of your trip photos. I can’t wait to get back to Italy. One of these days…

  2. Lynn says:

    Hiking in the Dolomites must have been an extraordinary experience Martin, great pics!

    I’ve only had Lugana a few times but like with you, it was a fast favorite. Drooling over your trout dish here, especially with the wine. Cheers~~*

  3. Barry says:

    Martin, found your comments on most recent trip to Italy interesting. Sounds like a great trip. Did you use an organization to plan your trip, went blind, or booked your lodging in advance?

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Hi Barry. Thanks for the comment. Our trip was a combination of self-planned and a Rick Steves Tour (Best of Italy; 17 day). We spent a couple of day in Milan and the beginning of the trip. Met the tour group in the Lake Como area. Did the tour, then finished in the Amalfi Coast on our own…

  4. Thanks for another fantastic food-wine combo, Martin. As a lover of Verdicchio, I now must find a bottle of Lugana to try. Sounds like it would be right up my alley!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      I bet you’ll enjoy it Lauren!

  5. I’ve had Lugana just a few times, but one was an aged Riserva and it was spectacular. With care, Lugana ages beautifully! Thanks for sharing from your trip, Martin!

  6. Thanks for the northern Italy tour this morning. Sounds like an amazing trip and same for your pairing. Cheers!

  7. Very interesting Martin. I didn’t know anything about this region. Love your photos and reliving a brief part of your trip last fall!

  8. Jill Barth says:

    I’m so jealous of your home and the trip, the whole thing! You’ve captured this so wonderfully.

    The almonds on the trout seem an excellent choice too. I’m impressed with the entire post. Cheers!

  9. Kate says:

    Reading about this wine paired with the trout through your descriptions is simply mouth-watering and difficult to resist making a last minute run to the liquor store. Love all the history behind this winery too. It really gives the wine even more depth and character.

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