Not Just Another Italian Grape-(#ItalianFWT)

A year ago, I took part in La Famiglia di Amarone tasting at the Collisioni Festival in Barolo. The great family wineries (and there are many) that make the style of Amarone – wine made from a blend of dried grapes; typically Corvina, Corvinone & Rondinella, (and a multiple of others) to make this high alcohol-high tannin-big mouth-highly ageable wine. And these wines come from Valpolicella, a highly reputable region located in the Veneto in NE Italy. But what many DON’T know is that some of these families also have land located closer to Lake Garda, the home of Trebbiano di Lugana, aka Turbiana, aka Trebbiano di Soave – which is also known as Verdicchio, one of Italy’s greatest white grapes.

Ah…gotta love Italian grapes! Synonyms galore…or should I say biotypes. Since there are eight different Trebbianos out there (that are all unrelated by the way), let’s not confuse this one with what I sometimes like to call the ‘armpit grape” of Italy – Trebbiano Toscano. But I digress…due to the quality challenges of  (some) of the trebbianos out there, some producers have chosen to label their wines as Turbiana. So, if you see this on the label, essentially it is Trebbiano di Lugana, the wine that we are discussing today!

Lake Garda sits with Lombardy to the west and Veneto to the east. Lugana sits on the south shores of the Lake while Valpolicella sits to the east of the lake. Chalky clay soils suits the Turbiana grape, the chalk providing the essential acidity to the wine and the clay bringing the roundness and longevity to the wine.

One of the families of well known Amarone is the Zenato family. Many awards and accolades given for their Reserva Sergio Zenato wine, but in 1993, patriarch Sergio realized the potential of the Lugana area and the Trebbiano di Lugana grape. He also created a reserva of this wine, aged in oak. The San Benedetto is the first tier, and the wine that I have tasted for this post. Unlike the reserva which is fermented partially in large oak barrels with further ageing in small oak barrels for additional complexity, the San Benedetto is done completely in stainless steel. This allows a freshness to the wine with great aromatics. This wine had that high searing acidity with flavours of melon, citrus and hints of pineapple and grassiness. To be honest it took some time to open up and I have some leftover to try today to see if it has improved overnight. Clearly, it needs food, and my magical pairing? Salt and vinegar chips! When drinking wine at 9:30 pm, a full meal is NOT what I need, but any salty snack would work wonders with this wine! Salute!

My colleagues here at #ItalianFWT have some other examples of Trebbiano di Lugana along with some delicious pairings – check them out!

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12 Responses to Not Just Another Italian Grape-(#ItalianFWT)

  1. Pingback: Lake Garda, Lugana and Lagostini…

  2. Nice article…I am not sure I agree with your definition of the Trebbiano Toscano…;-)…but each of us has our own favourites, of course. Trebbiano di Lugana, though not entirely the same as Trebbiano di Soave, is indeed a very interesting grape.

    • joyofwine says:

      Fair…hence the reason I put the comment in quotation marks. A vin santo wouldn’t be what it is without the accompanying acidity of the Trebbiano Toscano! It has its place! And yes, they are not entirely the same- Trebbiano di Soave is more related to Verdicchio and then Turbiana to Trebbiano di Lugana…Italian grapes are confusing for sure!

  3. Vino Travels says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever tried wine with chips. You have me curious….

  4. I can’t say I’ve ever done wine and chips. It’s made me curious now. Thanks for joining our group!

  5. Jill Barth says:

    Love the crunchy, salty tang of those chips — not many wines can make that pairing happen! Lugana for the win!

  6. Pingback: Fall for Lugana with Chicken Piccata #ItalianFWT | wine predator

  7. culinarycam says:

    I loved the Lugana…and, I guess, it wasn’t as new-to-me as I thought. Love Verdicchio.

  8. Pingback: Change It Up with the Lugana DOC and Turbiana - Savor the Harvest

  9. Lynn says:

    No kidding regarding synonyms and biotypes! I’m with you on the salt and vinegar chips at that time, thanks for the idea Marcia.

  10. wendyklik says:

    I drink wine with popcorn all the time LOL. I didn’t realize that this was Verdicchio. I am familiar with it by that name but had no idea they were one and the same.

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