Del Lupo: Ca’ Lojera’s Reserve Lugana

The 2007 Lugana Del Lupo from Ca’ Lojera is their “Reserve” wine and is truly unique. The fruit for Del Lupo is harvested late, beginning the end of October and usually finishing by the 10th of November. Sugars get higher and the grapes may get botryticized, yet the intention here is to extract as much minerality from the white clay soil as possible. The grapes are put through a long, slow fermentation process, the juice remains in stainless steel tank for two years and then the wine rests in bottle for another two years. What emerges out of the bottle is a complex dance between ripeness and minerality to the beat of acidity. The 2007 Del Lupo is bright and fresh and though it’s been aged in tank and bottle for a minimum of 4 years, it is mind-boggling youthful. There is weight on the palate with waxy flavors of ripe Meyer lemons. The ripeness of the fruit is tempered and tamed by the mineral/acid notes on the finish. The flavors are long and layered.

It has been just over a year since TWH began importing the wines of Ca’ Lojera. We’ve plowed through a few vintages and have been seriously challenged keeping supply up with demand. In fact, at this moment we are out of both the Lugana DOC and the Superiore (no need to fret, more is sailing upon the waters). So it’s clear our customers have discovered just how delicious Lugana from Ca’ Lojera is, so it makes perfect sense to step up, so to speak, to their reserve bottling, Del Lupo, to experience another expression of the Turbiana grape. Like the Vernaccia’s from Montenidoli, the Turbiana grape, aka Trebbiano di Lugana, achieves another level of complexity and stature at the hands of Ca’ Lojera.

I received a phone call from my brother shortly after he received his March Wine House newsletter to admonish me for not making a better point of mentioning that Franco Tiraboschi, and not his wife Ambra, is the winemaker at Ca’ Lojera. Fair enough, it is true that Franco is the one who makes the wine, but it is Ambra who is the ambassador for the winery and is the one who can best translate the passion that she and her husband share for their vineyards and wine. Ambra told me once that her husband is a man of few words and prefers staying out of the spotlight. And so it is she, Ambra, who puts a face to the wine and what a lovely face it is! There is a moral to this story and it is this: a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Instead of finishing the work my brother began on my house, he and his wife decided to fly to Italy to “check up” on their daughter who was spending a semester abroad. I, foolishly, insisted that my brother go visit Ambra at Ca’ Lojera. They had a lovely visit. I knew they would! But now my brother is correcting me every chance he gets! This photo of my bro with Ambra was taken in the flat clay soil vineyards at the southeastern tip of Lake Garda. Hey AZ, nice of you to wear your dressy shorts and by the way, Happy Birthday! —Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Italy, Lugana

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