The Secret Is Out and Lugana Is In!
Sitting on the southern shores of Lake Garda, the wine region of Lugana is known for its stellar white wines made from the grape Turbiana. A true expression of what this grape can do, the wines of Lugana put Turbiana on show, creating white wines like the Zenato San Benedetto Lugana which expresses the region with beautiful elegance, tantalizing floral notes, juicy citrus vibes and stonefruit aromas. All coupled with a palate that has a brightness that just won’t quit and a backbone of minerality that genuinely makes this wine style very memorable. A once well-kept secret by lovers of Italian wines, the versatility, age-worthiness and true delight of the wines of Lugana is out of the bag, and there is no turning back now. Something that the Zenato family has been shouting from the hilltops for years and couldn’t be happier about.
At the Center of the Action With Zenato Winery
Beginning its origin story in 1960, Zenato Winery was started by Sergio Zenato right in the heartland of Lugana, San Benedetto. Since the 1960s, wineries like Zenato have seen the potential of Lugana and bet hard on the region. More than the picturesque views that can be enjoyed on the south banks of Lake Garda, the Lugana DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) has an extraordinary terroir. This is what compelled Sergio to take up winemaking roots in the region.
For the Zenato family, all the magic of Lugana culminates in one place, their Santa Cristina vineyards. This is the winery’s San Benedetto estate. Located in the commune of Sirmione and Peschiera, the lands of Zenato wines are both in Lombardia and Veneto. The winery started with intuition; it was the dream and challenge of Sergio to create wines that summed up the region to the fullest. Today, his legacy and love for the land and wines are carried on by his son and daughter, Alberto and Nadia, with their mother, Carla. The winery is the family’s shining star, and while it might sound a bit corny, this care and love can be felt in every sip.
Created by Terroir and Tradition
Getting into a bit of wine-geekery, it is true what Sommeliers say; it is the land that makes a wine. Great wines are made in the vineyard, after all. Next to Lake Garda, the largest lake in all of Italy, the lake mitigates the region’s climate. Creating an environment that doesn’t receive the same shifts in temperature change that the Italian north can feel throughout the year. Lake effect is in full effect, so to speak. But it is more than that. A crucial component to making the memorable and delicious wines of Lugana lies in the soil beneath the vines. The low-lying plains of Lugana are made up of a mineral-rich soil called moraine. Like a person with many hobbies, this soil brings a dimension to the wines.
The region’s terroir has made the perfect home for the grape Turbiana. The grape was once thought to be part of the Trebbiano grape family, called Trebbiano di Soave, or a version of the grape, Verdicchio, commonly found in the neighbouring region of Marche. However, that is not the true story of Turbiana. In the 2000s, it was discovered that while Turbiana is related to Verdicchio, it is not the same grape, and it has no relation to the Trebbiano family whatsoever. Like the uniqueness of Lugana itself, Turbiana is a grape that has grown with the region. Native to the regional terroir, that sense of place, Lugana is an intrinsic part of Turbiana. And like the other great wines of the world, recalling Barolo and Nebbiolo, Burgundy and Chardonnay, as well as Riesling and the Mosel, Turbiana is the perfect representative of the region and makes some phenomenal wines.
A Great Place, Makes a Great Wine: Zenato’s San Benedetto Lugana Explored
While the winery makes a variety of wine styles, including red wines and sparklers, their San Benedetto Lugana white wine is the crown jewel. Made from 100% Turbiana, from a selection of vines that show the best of the estate. A mix of younger and older vines that bring together the confidence of the past and a vision of the region’s future. Done without oak aging in stainless steel, this winemaking practice does not weigh down the wine. Making for a final wine that is a true expression of the region.
In the glass, you are greeted with aromas of ripe yellow apple, white peach, tart pineapple, green fig, green pear, almond, and soft touches of vanilla and white flowers. On the palate, this is a rich and inviting wine. Showing a round texture with bright acidity and a tingling minerality that is just so refreshing. Mouth-watering and so gastronomic, this is a wine that also begs for a good pairing.
An Easter Celebration, Complete With a Glass From Lugana
With the Easter holiday around the corner, Lugana is the perfect wine to bring to the table. Like other family holidays, you might not always know what is on the menu, and a wine that can go with a variety of foods is always a good call. Enter Zenato’s San Benedetto Lugana as the savior to this pairing dilemma! A fresh but weighted wine on the palate, the San Benedetto is a wine that can pair with a variety of dishes, from fish to roast chicken and even classic Easter dishes like Argentina Pascualina Egg Tarts. Go-to pairings for this wine year-round are fresh seafood dishes, roasted chicken and pork, hard cheeses, earthy veg and pasta that lean on the creamy side. The versatility of this wine really has every base covered. Aside from a great food pairing, this is also a wine that is delicious all on its own and is a perfect complement to add a bit of extra fun to a classic game of Easter Egg Hunting.
Easter is the holiday of new beginnings and a genuine chance to celebrate that with those closest to you. Bringing foods to the table that show the traditions of the season and ones that should be enjoyed in celebration as a group; the wine that pairs with them should follow suit. Lugana is a region and a wine that has embarked on a new journey, a new beginning for itself in the last 5 years, and while you might be just starting to get familiar with what these wines can do in the glass, they are an ideal complement to the holiday at hand!