Lugana DOC is just south of Lake Garda, as you’ll soon learn, and one of Italy’s more-distinctive DOCs (and one I’ve written about previously, as well). Here, Charles Scicolone takes us on a quick but comprehensive Lugana DOC tasting trip thanks to Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC. Please enjoy…
One of my favorite places to visit in Italy is Lake Garda. I like sitting outside in a restaurant along the lake, eating the lake fish and drinking the local wine, in most cases Lugana DOC. While it wasn’t quite the same as Lake Garda, a dinner at La Pizza Fresca in NYC hosted by the Consorizo Tutela Lugana DOC was a good opportunity to try the new vintages.
The Lugana denomination is on the border between the provinces of Brescia (Lombardy) and Verona (Veneto) to the south of Lake Garda. The soil is mostly white clay and limestone, which is difficult to work.
The temperate breezes from Lake Garda influence the microclimate positively; it is mild and fairly constant with little difference between day and nighttime temperatures.
The Turbiana grape, aka Trebbiano di Lugana…
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In the rare down time available during the grape harvest, I find my attention called toward the more-learned voices in the wine business. I’m not a wine maker, but still I try to pick up a clue here and there to improve my ability to communicate about the world of wine.
Some (much) of my time is reading but the Internet allows listening to the voices of people pondering their life choices in this world which in the few busy months of pick, press and ferment seems more vocation and less avocation.
I listen often to Levi Dalton’s “I’ll Drink to That” podcast, which I first found through Alder Yarrow’s “Vinography” blog. Most recently, it’s been fascinating to hear British author Hugh Johnson discuss his wine-writing career and the genesis of the extraordinary “World Atlas of Wine.”
In his conversation with Dalton, Johnson takes a shot at wine scoring, which he calls “a shortcut” and of use mostly for wine investors. Here is a brief excerpt (some of which ended up in my Twitter feed) and you can hear the rest here.
“I do not score wines, I don’t see the point of scoring wines. OK, it’s instant opinion and its a shortcut but its particularly useful to wine investors. and I’m not a fan of wine investors. … I deplore it. Because I don’t buy wine to sell, I buy it to drink, if I can afford it.”
He quotes a friend who once told him,”Hugh, fine wine used to be for the worthy and now it’s for the wealthy.”
Jeremy Parzens @ DoBianchi continues to keep us informed on what has been called “The Nebbiolo Wars.”
“I am trying to make an honest wine, one that reflects all of the qualities of our territory, both its strengths as well as its flaws.“ – Maria Teresa Mascarello. Photo by Tim Atkins on Flick’r.
There is something missing in the world of modern-day winemaking. Or maybe several somethings.
This daughter of legendary winemaker Bartolo Mascarello is not one to mince words or opinions, whether it’s about her refusal to visit New York City or her thoughtful belief that to know a wine, you first must know its vineyard.
Everything she does is in the traditional method, down to the unheated and uncooled cellar where her wines age for years before being released.
And while critics, writers and the rest of the world casually tosses about the word “terroir” without perhaps understanding what it is they are talking about, Moscarello sees a vineyard’s terroir as just the starting point for enjoying her wines.
And, as Dalton points out, she believes that one of the measures of a wine’s success is that people will stick around and work the vineyards that produce it.
But perhaps her most telling statement, at least for me, was her saying that she enjoys the different vintages, and even more when they prove difficult.
“Every year is different,” Mascarello said. “I don’t find the same elegance (in 2013, her latest to be bottled) as I find in the 2010 and the 2012 but I like the difference.”
She said that when she tastes a wine, first she tastes and recognizes the grape variety.
“And second, I recognize the weather,” she said.
“Every year is different, that’s important to me because I like different,” she goes on. “I have more affection for the difficult (vintages).”
Among the samples we receive here at WO International occasionally are wines that are worth mentioning but don’t warrant an entire blog entry. This summer has been particularly good for new whites and rosés and I better catch up while I have time. All prices may vary.
13 Celsius 2015 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (sample) – The name refers to the recommended serving temperature (56 F) and the high-tech label changes to blue when that temperature is reached. Glitzy label aside, this is New Zealand sauvignon blanc at its best: good acidity and structure and flavors of citrus, nectarine and slight vegetal. $12-15 SRP.
Seghesio 2012 Sonoma County Arneis (purchased) –This ia traditional northern Italian white but instead of the 2015 vintage I was looking for, I found this 2012. I was happy I did. A bit of age added some flavors of dried apricots and little nuttiness. $15 SRP.
Puligny Montrachet “Les Enseigneres” 2012 (purchased) – I normally wouldn’t purchase a wine normally priced at $55 but there is lot of this on sale. A knockout white Burgundy with power, balance and the white flowers, pear, apples and minerality (there’s that word) for which the area is known. $45.
Guigal Cote du Rhone 2015 Rosé (sample) $14 SRP. – Is rosé season over already? Not hardly if you are a lover of rosé and looking at the markdowns in the stores, it may be time to stock the pantry. This is a fine food wine to serve year-round, a blend of mostly Grenache with Cinsault and Syrah, with cherry and floral notes. $14 SRP.
Some ideas from Avvinare for those who feel incerto di cosa fare by the earthquake in Italy…
Like most Italophiles and people the world over, I am thinking of what to do to participate in helping the area devastated by the recent earthquake in Italy. While there is no way to repair the loss of life, one can lend economic support. Watching the Rai last night ithey mentioned that that is what is crucial right now.
So in that vein, here is the information for the Red Cross:
The IBAN number is:
Beneficiary: Associazione italiana della Croce Rossa
Subject: Terremoto Centro Italia
Additionally, Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, has suggested that everyone encourage restaurants to put l’Amatriciana on their menus and then each restaurateur will devolve part of the proceeds from the sale of that dish to those in need. In Rome this is already happening. I think that’s a great idea and one I actually had thought of as well the night…
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The world, at last that part which still hadn’t been shaken awake, awoke Wednesday morning to find parts of central Italy devastated (I can’t think of a better word) by a series of earthquakes.
Tremors of up to 6.2 magnitude still were being reported Thursday across parts of three regions – Umbria, Lazio and Marche – with the greatest damage and most casualties said to be centered in the small mountain town (population about 2,000) of Amatrice, which a report in the New York Times said resembled a “war zone.”
Other jolts were being reported as far away as Rome and Bologna.
“It was Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ it was apocalyptic, I don’t know,” said one survivor in the Times.
Today’s edition of La Repubblica reports at least 250 people have been killed, many of them caught in their beds when the earthquake struck at 3:36 a.m. It’s feared the death toll will reach that of the 2009 earthquake in and around the town of Aquila which claimed an estimated 309 loves.
I’ve been watching and reading with the help of other Italophone bloggers, notably Jeremy Parzens and Susannah Gold, both of who speak fluent Italian and both of who have strong ties with the people and culture of Italy.