Lugana DOC wines tasting notes

Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake, shaped strikingly like an outstretched brontosaurus with its head seeking the cooler northerly air. Along the southern shores, the Lugana DOC area is thriving, producing a selection of tasty textured white wines from the native Turbiana grape variety.


Lake Garda Italy brontosaurusLake Garda, Italy (Picture credit: European Space Agency)

Desenzano is one of the communes within the Lugana DOC demarcation. Looking out from the waters edge, my vista cut short by the thin jut of the Sirmioné peninsula to the right (another of the communes). Sirmione is a picturesque historic town drawing crowds of tourists each year to its pier-like promontory. 

The winds of Garda

Lugana DOC straddles the border between the two Provinces of Brescia and Verona and looking out across the choppy morning water, I experience the cool caress of the famous northerly Pelér wind that blows down each morning in spring and summer until lunchtime and also feeds into some of the numerous smaller winds on the lake. The more famous Ora wind is created from the heat exchange of the water on the lake and the warmer air above and directly impacts much more the northerly end of the lake. However, it is the interaction of all the winds of Garda upon each other that contributes to the complexity of the microclimates.

keith coventry estate painting for salePaintings by Keith Coventry
Alan Wheately Gallery, SW1


Interlocking climates

The soils here form a basin consisting of glacial debris (called morainic), dating back millions of years to when the lake was formed. The winds, the geology, the mild climate that at once appears alpine in character but with a mediterranean touch to the skin, all contribute to the interlocking eden-like beauty of this region, producing white wines with poise, structure and fabulous flavour profiles.

Turbiana Grape Variety

- For many years thought to belong to the Trebbiano family (Trebbiano di Lugana) but from DNA profiling found to be related to Verdicchio, grown more widely in le Marche region.

- The grapes have thick skins and high acidity, making them versatile for making still, sparkling, sweet and Riserva wines. The latter can be aged for up to a decade. 

- The name Turbiana is a recent labelling in an effort to give specificity the vines grown in this terroir.

thomas tompion antique longcase clock london uk
Tompion Antique Longcase Clocks
Walwyn Antique Clocks of Kensington


Lugana in the moment

There is a striking beauty amid the fine balance of natural composition of this place. Yet, as the climate warms (as the chart below shows it is), the snowpack in the higher mountains is being reduced. This means the water feeding the lake, as well as the groundwaters that in turn feed flora and fauna, are being reduced. 

EUROPE Italy Milan 1850 2022 BK barslabelCredit:

In April 2023, Copernicus’s EU Drought Observatory, noted that Lake Garda was at its lowest level in seventy years. This year the weather extremes have been more than noticeable and next year they are forecast to be worse because of the El Niño weather phenomenon that drives up global temperatures. 

All this leads us back to the fragile beauty of the wines of Lugana DOC. Tasting the wines the following day revealed another level of opulent and generous personality.

Lugana DOC wines:

Marangona Lugana Doc 2022, Organic.

01 Marangona Lugana Doc 2022

Citrus notes, almonds, salinity, bright attractive energy. Turbiana very well expressed with harmony between flavour and structure. Has that ‘one-more-glass’ appeal. 

Sgreva Lugana Doc Sirmio 2022

02 Sgreva Lugana Doc Sirmio 2022

Floral notes, orange blossom - distinct and beautiful, the longer it is allowed to breathe the more it sings, comes out very pronounced after being open for a while. Some white peach - but the floral notes - wow. 

Poggio al Garda Lugana Doc 2022

03 Poggio al Garda Lugana Doc 2022

Lemon citrus distinct, vibrant body, some floral notes, salty tang. 

Easily paired for summer gastronomy.

Citari Lugana Doc Conchiglia 2022

04 Citari Lugana Doc Conchiglia 2022

Almond notes, softer texture, decent long slight stoney finish. Perfect summer aperitivo wine. 

Zenegaglia Flli. Lugana Doc Riserva Luna del Lago 2020

05 Zenegaglia Flli Lugana Doc Riserva Luna del Lago

Citrus lemon and slight tropical note. Almond, creamy with succulent textured body, slight yeasty character on the finish. Really enjoyable and alluring. My no. 1.

La Rifra Lugana Doc Riserva il Bepi 2020 (cooler vintage)

06 La Rifra Lugana Doc Riserva il Bepi 2020

Wet stone, some smokey notes, flowers, sweet spice savoury and mineral structure, fresh clean youthful finish. 24 m in Italian barrels. Greater complexity, well balanced.

Cadore Lugana Doc Riserva 2019

07 Zenegaglia Flli Lugana Doc Riserva Luna del Lago

Be patient. Over time reveals layers of citrus fruits that include lemon and floral notes. Velo tank, 40% wood. Fresh well integrated flavours and structure. 

Avanzi Lugana Doc Riserva La Borghetta 2018 (wet less concentrated vintage)

08 Avanzi Lugana Doc Riserva La Borghetta 2018

More apply aroma with juicy brightness, dry almost tannic finish. Creamy, slightly lactic.  Serve not too cold to allow the flavours to show.


Wines recived via StudioCru and tasting led by Richard Baudains, wine writer for Decanter.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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