Lombardy Wine Region
Lombardy is especially famous for the production of sparkling wine. While the first witnesses of such wines date back to the 16th century, the sparkling revolution only took place between the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to forward-thinking entrepreneurs like Maurizio Zanella (Ca’ del Bosco), Franco Ziliani (Berlucchi), and Vittorio Moretti (Bellavista), who drew inspiration from Champagne to transform the Franciacorta subregion into Italy’s most famous denominations for Metodo Classico (bottle-fermented) sparkling wine.
Lying at the crossroads between the Padana plain and the pre-alps, with Lake Iseo lying at its core, Franciacorta benefits from a temperate continental climate, which allows Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero to retain high acidity while developing excellent aromatic breadth and palate richness. Sparkling wines from Franciacorta are naturally smoother than those from Champagne, requiring lower dosage to achieve balance. In fact, many cuvées are either Extra Brut or Brut Nature.
Oltrepò Pavese is the other prominent sparkling wine district in Lombardy. Lying on the southwestern corner of the region, this hilly area is wedged between Piedmont, Liguria, and Emilia Romagna. Pinot Nero has long been the key grape for sparkling wine production in Oltrepò Pavese, currently covering around 3,000 hectares (equal to 23% of the surface under vine). The Vistarino family is believed to have imported the grape from France in the 19th century.
Beyond sparkling wine, Valtellina is the region’s key destination for red wine, producing top-notch expressions of Nebbiolo from dramatically steep vineyards on valleys on the foothills of the alps and right across the border from Switzerland.
Another key wine district is the area around Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, where the Lugana DOC focuses on white wine and Valtenesi produces light rosè. The Garda DOC, instead, offers a mixed bag of whites, rosè, and reds, usually sharing lightness and drinkability as a common point. the key
Which are the main Denominations of Lombardia?
The denominations in Lombardy are numerous and complex. Here we only list the DOCGs.
- Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico, Scanzo or Moscato di Scanzo
- Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfursat di Valtellina
- Valtellina Superiore
Which are the main wine-growing areas in Lombardy?
- Franciacorta: Famous for its Metodo classico (bottle-fermented) sparkling wines.
- Oltrepò Pavese: white, reds, and Metodo Classico.
- Valtellina: The cradle of perfumed, refined and high-acid Nebbiolo-based red wines, especially Valtellina Superiore and Sforzato di Valtellina (the latter made with air-dried grapes).
- Lugana: Located on the border between Lombardy and Veneto, it produces crisp and refreshing white wines.
- Garda Bresciano: wines from the surroundings of Lake Garda.
- Valtenesi: rosè wines from the shores of Lake Garda.
- San Colombano al Lambro: The only wine-growing area in the province of Milan: Barbera, Croatina and Uva Rara produce red wine and Malvasia di Candia and Verdea yield whites
- Terre di Franciacorta or Curtefranca: Still whites and reds from Franciacorta.
- Lambrusco Mantovano: In the southern part of the region, near Mantua, sparkling red wine from the Lambrusco grape leads the scene.
- Moscato di Scanzo: rare sweet wine from the namesake grape.
- Valcalepio: Bordeaux blends from the province of Bergamo.