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Lugana is a wine region that straddles the Veneto to the east and Lombardy to the west in northern Italy. The name has many rumored derivations from local dialect and Latin, all essentially meaning “lake in the woods,” referring to its once heavily wooded landscape and location along Lake Garda. Given its position along a major Roman era road that connects it to Northern Europe, Lugana has historically been a magnet for invasion and warfare, dating back centuries BC. But despite this turbulence, it seems white wine in some form has been produced here all the while, at least for ceremonial purposes. Towns have names that refer to legendary saints and religious figures, such as San Benedetto di Lugana, San Vigilie di Lugana and San Martino di Lugana. Ancient writers such as Virgil, Svetonio, Strabone and Pliny all referenced the local wine. Grape seeds were even found in an excavated Medieval dwelling by the shores of the lake.
The white wines produced in Lugana contain a minimum 90% Trebbiano di Lugana, an offshoot of the more plain Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) grape. The calcium and mineral-rich, clay soils help grow the grapes which produce wines prized for their rounded, full, fruity characteristics balanced by delicate notes of spice and flowers. Some wine-makers have produced Lugana that has proven to be ageworthy. Being so close to the touristy Lake Garda, the wine and food-friendliness, especially with seafood, go hand in hand.
Lugana also produces wines in the Chiaretto style as light red or rosato. Besides Trebbiano di Lugana, these also include percentages of Gropello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera.
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