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Wines from Lombardy

Lombardy is a very heterogeneous territory that, despite the great industrial development, still preserves the most ancient agricultural and farming traditions. From the first Rhaetian reliefs to the southern strip of the Po Valley, passing through the precious morainic areas of the great Lake, viticulture plays a leading role. In the far north, in the mountains, austere reds are produced; near Lake Garda, white and rosé wines with a fresh, mineral profile are made; the province of Brescia is the home of the famous Franciacorta sparkling wines; and finally, the Oltrepò lands, in the deep south, are a production area with a wealth of exposures and soils that offer a wide variety of sparkling wines, reds and whites characterised by a typically rustic and recognisable vein. In short, thanks to the considerable regional extension and the wide territorial variety, Lombardy wines represent a flagship and a precious treasure in the Italian wine world.

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Lombardy is a very heterogeneous territory that, despite the great industrial development, still preserves the most ancient agricultural and farming traditions. From the first Rhaetian reliefs to the southern strip of the Po Valley, passing through the precious morainic areas of the great Lake, viticulture plays a leading role. In the far north, in the mountains, austere reds are produced; near Lake Garda, white and rosé wines with a fresh, mineral profile are made; the province of Brescia is the home of the famous Franciacorta sparkling wines; and finally, the Oltrepò lands, in the deep south, are a production area with a wealth of exposures and soils that offer a wide variety of sparkling wines, reds and whites characterised by a typically rustic and recognisable vein. In short, thanks to the considerable regional extension and the wide territorial variety, Lombardy wines represent a flagship and a precious treasure in the Italian wine world.

The Production Areas of Lombardy's Wines and the Most Important Denominations

This region, one of the largest in Italy, offers a very varied landscape, in which mountains, lakes and hills coexist. Over the centuries, the precious climatic characteristics have developed an excellent knowledge of viticulture, which, together with the constant and targeted commitment of an ever increasing number of producers, has ensured the success of Lombardy's wines.

This is a land of ancient roots where the introduction of vine cultivation dates back to the Neolithic period, as evidenced by some excavations in the Garda area. However, the true expansion of the grape is the work of the Romans, who, through the writings of famous authors such as Pliny the Elder and Virgil, recount how the vitis vinifera of the Oltrepò Pavese, Comasco or Bergamasco gave wonderful nectars. It was not until the 9th century that the first historical document testifying to the production of Lombardy wines was found in the north of the region, more precisely in the famous enclave of Valtellina. Wine production in the area has become increasingly widespread, expanding the area planted with vines and reaching the highest production peaks.

Today, the regulatory system includes 5 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and about 22 Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). The region's extensive physical conformation and the variety of exposures and soils have led to the creation of well-defined production zones that are limited to certain areas.

Starting from the far north, we find the first mountain production area: the Valtellina. It extends into the province of Sondrio and occupies the part of the Rhaetian slope that develops between 300-700 metres high in a valley traversed by the river Adda. Here we speak of true heroic viticulture, which requires hard work, characterised by numerous terraces that cling to the slopes of the mountains and are connected by narrow, steep steps. The main grape of the area is Nebbiolo, locally called Chiavennasca, which contributes to the production of Valtellina wines, such as the homonymous DOCG Superiore (with its sub-zones Maroggia, Sassella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella), the famous DOCG Sforzato/Sfursat (obtained from long drying of the grapes) and the DOC Rosso di Valtellina.

Near the town of Brescia is one of the most important Italian sparkling wine productions, Franciacorta, which gives rise to the DOCG of the same name (the first to be obtained in the world of bubbles) and which has become over the years the spearhead and symbol of sparkling wines made in Italy. In the same area, Curtefranca DOC is produced, which includes the production of red and dry white wines.

Proceeding eastwards we come to the morainic hills of the Garda Lake, divided between the territories of Brescia, Mantua and Verona, which give rise to the complex and rich Garda DOC denomination, which provides for a myriad of red and white sparkling wines, and Lugana DOC, produced in dry, sparkling or late harvest versions from Trebbiano di Soave grapes.

Another particularly interesting and lively area for the wines of Lombardy is that comprising the small slice of land that stretches south of the river Po in the province of Pavia, namely the Oltrepò Pavese. This is an area of very ancient origins, made up of different types of land planted with two important international grapes, such as Pinot Noir and Riesling, alongside local varieties such as Uva Rara, Barbera, Ughetta, Croatina and many others. The Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG provides for the production of sparkling wines from a variety of local grapes, but there are also a large number of DOCs for reds and dry whites.

Other smaller but equally important production areas are those of Valcalepio, where a rare sweet wine, Moscato di Scanzo DOCG, is produced, and Mantua, where Lambrusco Mantovano DOC is made.



Local Pairings with Typical Dishes

Lombardy wine lends itself to many great combinations, which vary according to the area and the type of wine.

The reds produced in Valtellina go perfectly with the intense and flavoursome dishes of the regional tradition, such as pizzoccheri, Bitto cheese, wheat pancakes filled with stringy cheese, known as sciatt, polenta taragna with venison stew or the famous sliced meats of slinzega.

Sparkling wines from the city of Brescia, on the other hand, accompany more delicate dishes such as vegetable risottos, pasta with fish, low-fat or unripened cheeses or raw meat or fish.

The Oltrepò bottles have a strong gastronomic power and highlight rich and tasty dishes, such as gnocco fritto with local salami, risotto with ossobuco, soups, first courses with meat sauce, stews, boiled and braised meats of Pavia cuisine.

The classic accompaniment for the wine of the "Great Lake" is freshwater fish, grilled, roasted or as a sauce for first courses.

Would you like to delve into the fascinating world of Lombard wines? Check out Callmewine's wine shop and discover Franciacorta online, Oltrepò sparkling wines, Sforzati and many other bottles at competitive prices, complete with information sheets and pairing suggestions.