We are greeted in front of the winery during a glorious sunset, the golden sun melting against a pink, purple, and gold sky.
Fabio Zenato, the third generation of winemaker, is a warm and enthusiastic person. He welcomes our group by explaining that the winery was first created in 1955, but renovated in 2013 in its modern current space.
The philosophy of the winery is based on respect for the environment but also the latest technological advances, such as the development and observation of new clones.
The initial tasting, before the tour of the winery, included the basic 2016 Lugano white wine made from the Trebbiano grape. very rich and concentrated, and the 2015 Lugana Benedictus Le Morette aged in some French oak.
Lugano white wine is characterized by high acidity, and a fresh and sapid (Italians use this word to reflect a salty minerality) sensation. The 2016 entry level is nice, with the 2015 Benectus more sophisticated with a touch of French oak. The 2013 Lugana Riserva Le Morette is packaged in a different bottle, with a wax cap, and aged in oak for three years.
Next we tried a Bardolino Classico, with the pale color that is the new trend among the Chiaretto of this area. It is very crisp and mineral driven.
The Le Morettte Bardolino Classico 2016 is jammy with ripe rich fruit, When you see the designation “Classico” on the label it means it is from a specific DOC approved region. The maceration time for this wine was six days and the fermentation temperature was 22 – 24 degrees C in stainless steel tanks.
After this tasting, we went to visit the reconstructed cellar, which is new but deliberately made to resemble an a ancient roman cellar with vaulted ceiling.
Afterwards, as a special treat, we were given a presentation on how the winery performs the grafting of the vines in the nursery. Grafting is very important to the winery because in 1927, the family patriarch vowed to create a nursery to grow healthy plants after phylloxera devastated his winery. Grafted plants are delicate – only 75% survive and have to be treated with tender loving care before they are strong enough to be taken out of the nursery and into the vineyard.
After the presentation, it was time for dinner. We were first given the opportunity to taste the Lugana 2010 to see how it aged. And for a basic wine, it was rich and delicious, a testament to the winery and the elegance of the grape.
Many thanks to our gracious hosts for their generosity.