28 June 2023
Zenato is a winery with "its soul in Lugana and its heart in Valpolicella". This is the story of how Zenato turned Trebbiano di Lugana, a native grape variety from the shores of Lake Garda, into a great wine
"The soul of Lugana and the heart of Valpolicella": this motto perfectly describes Zenato. Lugana is where the story of Zenato began in 1960. The family would play an important role in enhancing the extraordinary potential of a local grape variety, Trebbiano di Lugana, turning it into a great white wine known all over the world.
We are on the southern shore of Lake Garda, in San Benedetto di Lugana: this is a hamlet of Peschiera del Garda, a cru of the Lugana denomination. We are in an extraordinary territory where the native grape variety, the morainic origin of the land – prevalently clayey and rich in minerals – and the mild climate influenced by the lake, create ideal conditions for viticulture, which has ancient origins in this region.
BETTING ON TREBBIANO DI LUGANA
In 1960, Sergio Zenato decided to invest in Trebbiano di Lugana, a grape that was exclusively reserved for the humble tables of farmers. He wanted to focus on quality, experimenting with the variety’s versatility and longevity. This is how Lugana San Benedetto and Lugana S. Cristina came to life. The wines come from the most historic vineyards of the estate and reveal harmonious bouquets with floral, fruity, and citrusy notes, supported by a characteristic savory and mineral hint that is typical of the terroir. Aware of the potential of Trebbiano di Lugana and its versatility, in the 1980s, Sergio Zenato started experimenting with the “champenois” method, yielding what we now know as Lugana Metodo Classico Brut.
“Based on the extremely positive results, starting from the 2007 vintage, we decided to set aside some bottles and wait for their evolution – says Nadia Zenato – "After 6 years, we realized that we had a wine that was already perfect, one that didn’t need added sugar. Three thousand bottles were disgorged by eight people in spring, releasing scents of jasmine and lavender. And so, our first label of Lugana Pas Dosè was born: disgorgement in 2013, after resting for 120 months on the lees. The 2008 vintage, disgorged in 2022, is now available on the market".
THE BIRTH OF THE RISERVA
In 1993, Sergio Zenato decided to experiment with the longevity of Trebbiano di Lugana and show how Lugana grapes could give rise to great wines suitable for aging and maturation in this unique territory. Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato, the label bearing Sergio Zenato's signature, represents the utmost expression of the importance that the Zenato family gives to the land, to respecting nature’s rhythm and to the work in the vineyard and cellar. The “Riserva” designation was included in the DOC regulation starting from the 2011 vintage. The wine draws its balance from the oldest vineyards of Podere Massoni: low yields, fermentation carried out partly in large barrels and partly in steel and aging in tanks, bring out an intense and multifaceted aroma with floral and citrusy notes. A wine with a full flavor, great depth and balance.
From the "soul" of Lugana, we now move on to the "heart" of Valpolicella, where outstanding red wines come from: Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Amarone, Amarone Riserva Sergio Zenato and Cresasso, a 100% Corvina that brings out the ultimate expression of Valpolicella.
But this story will be for another day…