Lombardy is a large region in north west Italy, with the industrial and financial city of Milan at its centre. Entirely land-locked, it bordered by the Alps to the north and to the more famous wine producing regions of Piemonte and Veneto to the west and east respectively.
About The Lombardy Wine Region
Whilst less well known than its neighbours for wine, the region has an impressive variety of styles, due to the differing climate and soil structures within the region. Although land-locked, the north of the region is dominated by Lake Como and Lake Garda, and benefits from the cooling influence that comes off the lakes, and down from the Alps.
Vines are grown on the steep rocky slopes, close to the Alps, by the sides of Lake Garda, and then, in greater quantities, on the flatter, warmer area of central and South Lombardy.
Wine Regions of Lombardy
The main sub regions are:
Valtellina – a small, rugged, Alpine area, with vineyards clinging to the rocky slopes, with freezing cold nights, but days that can be baking hot, and the sun reflects on the rocks. This remote region produces top quality reds, with real character, a depth of intense dark cherry fruit, but a lively acidity, due to the extreme climatic conditions. The area is famous for its reds, made from the Chiavennasca ( Lombardy’s name for Nebbiolo), and also makes Sforzato di Valtellina, a version of Amarone, where the grapes are left out to dry.
Franciacorta – also to the north, and best known for its high quality sparkling wines. Franciacorta sparkling wines are the most premium and highest quality of sparkling wines in Italy, made in the traditional Champagne style, using 85% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot nero and 5% Pinot bianco, and are aged in the cool cellars of this alpine region.
Oltrepo Pavese – best known for sparkling and increasingly for Pinot Grigio lies close to the Po’basin.
East of Lake Garda – this region produces a range of varietal wines from Pinot Grigio to Merlot.
South of Lake Garda – probably the best known wine area of the region, Lugana, which produces elegant whites, with flair and style, and one of the few regions to make interesting, quality wines from the Trebbiano grape.
Matching The Wines of Lombbardy With Food
Valtellina - is made from the Chiavennasca, the Lombardian name for Nebbiolo,
The reds have real character, and depth, despite the northern and alpine area of their production, with wild cherry and herb fruit and real concentration. Great with venison, game, and rich beef stews. The area also produces a style of Amarone, which is just perfect with mature cheese and very intense beef dishes.
Franciacorta – the highest quality sparkling wines in Italy, these are made in the classic Champagne way, and offer lively, fresh, dry flavours, with a fine mousse, and an elegant, biscuit, creamy flavour – great as an aperitif, or with delicate seafood.
Oltrepo Pavese – also known for its sparkling wines, but increasingly for good quality, crisp, yet delicate Pinot Grigio, which is perfect with fish, shellfish and seafood pasta.
Lugana – undoubedtly the white wine star of the region, lying just south of the picturesque Lake Garda and producing elegant, complex dry whites from the Trebbiano, which work well with monkfish, bream, prawns and delicate chicken dishes.