The Wines Of Lombardy
When many people think of Lombardy, their first thoughts are of Milan, opera, fashion and gastronomy . . But rarely to wine. Lombardy has always produced wine, the Milanese are big wine drinkers and Lombardy also produces base wine to supply to sparkling wine producers all over Italy, but very little of its wine, with the exception of the Spumante of Franciacorta, is rarely seen outside the region.
Grapes are grown all over the Lombardy region, from the narrow Adda valley to the western slopes of Lake Garda. The largest winegrowing area in Lombardy is on the hills of Oltepo Pavese in Pavia. Mainly red grape varieties, such as Barbera and Croatina are grown along these hills. The soils are also excellent for growing Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) which as well as being part of regions blended wines , is also being made into some very fine elegant single varietal Pinot Noirs. The use of careful barrique agony develops some fantastic aromas and deeply rich, full-bodied wines. Alas, over recent years many Lombardian wine growers have opted out of the labour of love that is good single varietal Pinot Nero in favour of producing bulk blending wines for Franciacorta. All to often Pinot Nero is produced here to blend with Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc to make Italian sparkling wines. It is interesting to remember that these base wines produced in Lombardy are distributed to other regions of Italy to produce some of the finest sparkling wines of Piedmont and Trentino for example, but Lombardy's own sparkling wines rarely achieve any recognition for their quality.
The regions white wines at mainly produced around Lake Garda and the wines produced here are mainly made for local consumption. The best known white wines from the area are Lugana, which is probably in all honesty the best white wine produced here. The white wines of the region are produced in so low quantities that they only just meet local demand, as a result they are rarely seen outside the region.
The Lambrusco of Emilia Romagna is better known than those of Lombardy. However, lovers of fruity, light bodied, sweet, sparkling wines should try the Lambrusco's of Lombardy if they can.
Terre di Franciacorta