Over ten vintages of Lugana From Ca' Lojera have journeyed to The Wine House. Ca' Lojera's Lugana consistently delivers complex fruit flavors along with a mesmerizing mineral finish. It's the wine I reach for whenever a new customer walks through our door asking for a recommendation on a mineral-driven Italian white. It is medium-bodied, with a buoyancy to the texture that makes it a sophisticated, all-purpose wine.
Lugana is a viticultural region that occupies the southern end of Lake Garda, located roughly halfway between Milan and Venice. The white grape variety that is grown here is locally called Turbiana. It is now known to be Verdicchio, identified through genetic testing. Somewhat misleadingly, the grape has also been referred to as Trebbiano di Lugana. What makes this region special is the white clay soil that Turbiana is grown on; soil that was once part of an ancient lakebed. The soil allows for full ripening of the grapes while retaining a distinctive mineral note.
The winery was started by Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi (see photo above) in 1992. They stumbled into production after purchasing the property. Initially unable to find buyers for their grapes, they decided to make a go of it themselves. It's my impression that their love and devotion for the land made them perfect stewards of the vines. Though they make several different wines, including red ones, the centerpiece of their production is Lugana.
The newly arrived 2021 Lugana hits all the marks with soft peach, green almond, and juicy tangerine flavors all wrapped up in saline minerality. I tested its "all-purpose" status by serving it at dinner on January 6th which our family celebrates Christmas Eve one more time and which coincides with my daughter's birthday ("only nineteen but my mind is older"). The traditional Christmas meal of my heritage is particularly challenging to pair with wine, so I leaned on the 2021 Lugana to do its thing. I opened a couple bottles to go with a first course of salads, like marinated cabbage, Salat Vinegret (beet and potato salad), and Koreiskaya Morkovka ("Korean"-style carrot salad), just to name a few. The earthy, winter vegetables mingled nicely with the Lugana. The Lugana stayed on the table for the second course of mushroom noodle soup accompanied by baked piroshki with pureed dried green pea filling. Soon everyone took notice and began asking me what we were drinking - they loved it! The wine was remarkably versatile and sang with all the dishes. The 2021 Lugana has the right balance of fruit and freshness, while the absence of oak delivered the right attack for all those dishes. Ca' Lojera Lugana strikes again!
- Anya Balistreri