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Lombardy

Lombardy is a vast and geographically diverse region, with soils and microclimates so varied that a wide range of wines can be produced. One of Lombardy’s best white wines arousing interest is Lugana DOC, produced in the province of Brescia and made from Turbiana grapes, or also known as Trebbiano di Soave. Lugana offers citrusy aromas of full flavour, acidity and freshness. The Oltrepò Pavese wines produced from the Chardonnay grape variety are also important due to their international character.

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Lombardy

The best white wines of Lombardy 

Lombardy’s main designations for white wines are those of Lugana, Riviera del Garda, Curtefranca, Valcalepio and Oltrepò Pavese, each with very different characteristics. Lugana DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) is produced from Trebbiano di Soave or Turbiana, a native white grape variety from the interregional provinces of Verona and Brescia. Lugana is certainly among the most versatile whites of Lombardy, produced in “base”, Superiore, Riserva, Vendemmia Tardiva and Spumante versions, which can display good ageing potential, so much so that in the past the Consortium kept a vertical collection of wines from historical vintages to demonstrate its longevity. Few people know that Oltrepò Pavese contains the “Valle del Riesling”, an area straddling the municipalities of Calvignano, Montalto Pavese, Oliva Gessi, Casteggio, Mornico Losana and Rocca de’ Giorgi, highly suited to the cultivation of this white grape variety of German origin. 

Major designations and areas of Lombard white wines 

In Oltrepò, 2,500 hectares are planted to this variety, in the past mostly in the form of Riesling Italico, later replaced by its cousin Riesling Renano, more elegant, complex and with greater ageing potential. In addition to this grape variety, the area also produces interesting Chardonnay, often in the still version, but also sparkling, in addition to Pinot Grigio. An excellent Chardonnay is also produced in the Curtefranca designation, in the province of Brescia, north of the shores of Lake Iseo, in the hills of Rodengo Saiano, Ome, Gussago and Cellatica. This designation replaced that of Terre di Franciacorta, so that consumers did not confuse it with the area’s more widely known Metodo Classico sparkling wines. The versions of DOC Curtefranca are the “base” Bianco and the Bianco con Menzione Vigna, the former showing fruity scents and delicate herbaceous notes, the latter with more body and structure. 

Pairings to try 

Lombard wines, both reds and whites, lend themselves to a wide variety of pairings. Lugana DOC is a white produced in various types, allowing it to accompany an entire meal, from aperitif to dessert. Both the sparkling and still versions are in fact well suited to accompanying lake fish, trout, perch and whitefish. Lugana Superiore, given its weightier structure, makes a good pairing for richly-flavoured dishes, such as pasta with bottarga or chicken, while the Riserva goes very well with semi-mature cheeses or heartier meat dishes, such as classic Rovato beef. This late harvest wine, a concentrate of aromas and sweetness, with good acidic balance, goes well with blue cheeses and desserts. Riesling dell’Oltrepò can accompany the whole meal, but you need to pay attention to the type, whether Italico or Renano. 

More harmonious flavours and aromas 

Riesling Italico is a white that lends itself to simple pairings, such as with appetizers or pizza, while Riesling Renano pairs well with cheeses, fish-based pasta, rice and main courses, and white meats, provided that it is a Riserva. The Chardonnays of the Curtefranca DOC zone are wonderful as aperitifs, with tasty finger food, and with fish-based dishes, such as a richly-flavoured amberjack or grilled swordfish. The same variety produced in the Oltrepò or Valcalepio version can be equally pleasing, especially to accompany a vegetarian or shellfish-based menu. If in doubt, staying within the region is a great guide when choosing a food and wine pairing, but as you become a little more confident, you can also experiment with some more daring pairings, such as a well aged Riesling Renano with pork shank, as done in Alsace.