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Lugana: Lake Garda’s dry white wine secret

Straddling two administrative regions in central north Italy, this still developing DOC’s dry whites are already proving a versatile food-matching choice in the restaurant trade. Stephen Brook gets to the heart of Lugana’s identity, and recommends a dozen of its best wines...

Along the southern shores of the shimmering expanse of Lake Garda lie the towns of Desenzano, Peschiera and Sirmione, which for decades have welcomed hordes of tourists and the establishments catering to them: hotels, bars, pizzerias and all-you-can-eat sushi emporia.

And for a few miles to the south are vineyards, 11km from west to east, not considered of great interest until some 20 or 30 years ago.

The best of them lay within the Lugana DOC, which struggled to gain recognition, especially given the vast plantations of Soave not that far away.

Scroll down for Stephen Brook’s top Lugana dry white wines

Moreover, the main grape was a Trebbiano, though not related to the poorly regarded Tuscan Trebbiano. It was called Trebbiano di Soave or Trebbiano di Lugana, until marketing wizardry transformed it into ‘Turbiana’. Now Lugana had its own identity. It also benefits from a genetic connection – a kind of cousin – to the well-regarded Verdicchio grape of the Marche region.

See Stephen Brook’s top Lugana dry white wines

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