The 4 Best Wines You Should Try from Lombardy
If you were not aware already, wine is a popular beverage in European countries - especially Italy, who are one of the biggest producers of wine in the world - even the Greeks once called it ‘Oenotria’ (The Land of WIne) because the soils were perfect for cultivating grapes. In this article we will be discussing the best wines from Lombardy - a region located in Northern Italy - home to economic powerhouses like Milan, natural beauties like Lake Garda, and the breathtaking Alpine mountain range. No wonder why it’s home to over 10 million people! The north of Lombardy is gifted with the majestic views of the Italian-Swiss Alps, while the South is blessed with a rich, abundant agricultural area. Just driving through the countryside and hills of the region, you will easily find vineyards scattered around. Did that make you curious what kind of wines the region produces? Maybe you are currently in Lombardy and want to inform yourself before getting yourself a glass? Look no further, because we’ve summed up some of the top well-known wines in the region. Many of the wines listed below can be found in our Hotel Winelist.
Wait a minute, What is DOCG?
Before we take you to the list, you need to be aware of some certain terminologies such as DOCG or DOC wine? This term is quite essential when you are travelling to Italy searching for the most top-quality wines. Italy is home to over 1 million vineyards across the country, and the Government wanted to make sure that their beloved and prized wine industry is protected. To do this, they invented the DOC system which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (controlled designation of origin) - a system in which it indicates the relative quality of the wines.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (or Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) is a category where the most highest quality of wines are listed. The regulations for this classification are the most restrictive, in which each wine must go through an in-depth technical analysis and tasting before it retrieves a seal of approval from the DOCG. There are only a few selected DOCG wines that are rated this quality.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (or Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines are much more commonly found compared to DOCG wines. There are regulations but are generally less restrictive than its DOCG counterparts. Some rules may include a slightly larger agricultural area, and the type of grapes used may be more relaxed.
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (or Typical Geographical Indication), this wine classification was introduced more recently compared to the DOCG and DOC - they were made to accommodate wines that were not able to achieve the higher classifications but still had regional character to them. They are often locally-made, easy-drinking wines that vary in different prices and make.
Coming all the way from the Valtellina Valley, the Valtellina Superiore is a delight from the Alpine region of Italy. The wine is made from Nebbiolo grapes, in which the Italians call it Chiavennesca. They grow the grapes in the sloping, rocky terraces of the Rhaetian Alps, where they receive all-day sun exposure while the cooling winds of the mountains slows down their ripening. According to sommeliers, the flavour profile of the Valtellina Superiore is quite light and earthy with characteristics of roses, tar, dried cherries and pencil shavings - very reminiscent of any Nebbiolo wines. The Valtellina Superiore are aged for at least 24 months, and at some time, be kept in oak barrels. This wonderful wine was given it's DOCG classification in 1998, and truly deserves the status it has.
Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy - within the Brescia region. It is a kind of sparkling wine produced by a mixture of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and and Pinot Blanc - it is often likened to other sparkling wines like Prosecco and Champagne - however, though the other alternatives are typically more well-known, it is widely accepted in Italy as the finest sparkling wine of them all considering its DOCG title. What makes Franciacorta special is its growing conditions - it is cultivated nearby the Alps and the unique variety of soils, giving it the perfect climate and land to thrive (thanks to its stoney, rich-in-mineral ground). Franciacorta wines are considered to have relatively high price tags, but this can be explained through its highly rigorous production methods. It is often described as fruity, elegant and fresh.
Lugana is a DOC white-wine vineyard area, found between the areas of Lombardy and Veneto in the East - and just up north is the beautifully renowned Lake Garda. Lugana wines comprise of dry, white wines that were cultivated in flat basins of mineral rich, clay-like soil that were produced through its Alpine climate (like many of the wines in the Lombardy region). The grapes used for Lugana wines are Trebianno grapes - which are known to have higher acidity, with characteristics comprising of citrus and sweetness, as it ages it could have notes of marzipan and honey.
Sforzato di Valtellina
If you’re looking for a strong, full-flavoured wine, then Sforzato Di Valtellina DOCG is the one for you. It considered the most unique, unusual wines produced in the Lombardy region - this is mainly through its production methods and character. Nebbiolo (or Chiavennesca) grapes are spread across straw mats to dry for several months, concentrating the sugars and increasing its alcohol content - then transferred into barrels or the bottles to be created in to wine. The aroma often gives off sweet spices like licorice and ripe fruits - with a dry and full-of-character flavour. The area where the grapes are cultivated are the same as that of Valtellina Superiore, in Sondrio where the it possesses the right soil and climate.
That’s it for our Top 4 list for Lombardy Wines to try! Many of these have DOCG entitlement, which guarantee that it is a high quality wine! But of course, you cannot judge a wine alone by its rating - at the end of the day, the DOCG rating is determined through adherence of regulations, so it should be up to the individual wine producers and personal taste. If you are travelling to Lombardy, why not come stay at our Alpine Hotel? In our Italian Restaurant, we serve all these High Quality Lombardy Wines in our Hotel Menu.
For more blog posts about cuisine in Lombardy or Northern Italy, check out our blog: