Turbiana grapes on vine, green and ripe, under sunlight - ideal for Lugana wine

Hidden Gem

TURBIANA grape in a nutshell
  • Turbiana is a white grape that makes fruity wines with high acidity and aromas, gentle salinity, and flavors of orchard and stone fruit.
  • Turbiana is versatile and used to make still dry, off-dry, and sparkling wines.
  • The traditional center of Turbiana production is Lugana DOC close to Lake Garda in Northeast Italy. Lugana straddles the provinces of Verona and Brescia.
  • Turbiana is known by other names including Trebbiano di Lugana, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Verde, and Verdicchio. While it’s related to some of these varieties, it has its own phenological make up.
TURBIANA wine in a sip
  • There are five styles of Turbiana in Lugana: Lugana, Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva, Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva, and Lugana Spumante.
  • Depending on the style, the wines may be light, fruity and crisp or nutty, flinty, and honeyed. Lugana Riserva is the most complex and age-worthiest example. Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva is obtained from late-harvested grapes.
  • Each typology has a different food match.

What is Turbiana?

The key grape of the Lugana DOC, which lies between Veneto and Lombardy and laps the southern shore of Lake Garda, Turbiana is a highly versatile white variety, producing a wide range of different wines. An early budder and a late ripener, its eclectic personality hints at the genetic similarity with another famous Italian grape: Verdicchio – although they are registered as two different varieties. Trebbiano di Soave and Trebbiano di Lugana are the other popular synonyms.

What are the origins of Lugana?

Pinning down the exact origins of Turbiana isn’t easy but the Venetians are likely to be responsible for its wide diffusion in the Italian peninsula. The Lugana area was a marsh known as Selva Lucana before being drained in the 15th century, so viticulture has taken root in Lugana in the following centuries.

Where is Turbiana grown?

Lugana must be made with at least 90% Turbiana. This appellation hugs Lake Garda’s clay and mineral-rich southern shores in Northeast Italy.

What does Turbiana taste like?

Entry-level Lugana is fresh and high-acid, with moderate alcohol and attractive orchard and stone fruit flavors. Lugana Riserva undergoes longer aging and develops intriguing nutty notes and hints of flint. Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva is made from late-harvested grapes: it often displays honeyed aromas and tastes off-dry rather than sweet.

Lugana Spumante is a sparkling style of wine made from Turbiana grapes. If it’s made with the Tank Method, it’s light and fruity while with the Metodo Classico, there are hints of brioche as well as signature fruity notes.

Does Turbiana age well?

Lake Garda is one of the tourist hotspots in Northern Italy, so a large proportion of Lugana is sold to visitors looking for a gluggable white that makes a good aperitif. Spending little time on the lees before release, these wines are best enjoyed within two years from harvest. On other hand, top-shelf Lugana – often labeled as Lugana Riserva – shares excellent ageability with the best Verdicchio. It isn’t uncommon to find examples that age well for over ten years.

What kind of wine is similar to Turbiana?

An entry-level Lugana may remind of a simple, gluggable and moderately herbal Sauvignon Blanc or a light and zesty Gruner Veltliner. It also shows some affinity with Verdicchio, with Lugana Riserva developing the same nutty and tertiary complexity that defines aged Verdicchio Riserva.

What food does Turbiana pair well with?

Different styles of Lugana match different dishes. Here are just some of the recommended pairings:

  • Crisp and young Lugana with seafood salad and spaghetti with clams.
  • Aged Lugana and Lugana Riserva with risotto with Garda tench
  • Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva with spicy Chinese food or fruit cake.
  • Lugana Spumante with fried calamari


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