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La Rifra Libiam Lugana 2016

Gold with greenish reflection, the wine is still young enough for good drinking. The nose revealing ripe, high-quality citrus fruit, floral, with notes of fruit with white pulp starts excellent as an aperitif. Not bad. A reasonably good DOP.  But behold, lurking behind is a new dimension of the tropical, mandarin orange fruit, pink grapefruit, orange peel, a hint of marzipan and green herbal. Aren't these taste benchmarkers more likely to find in  “Lugana Superiore”, or even better as “Lugana Riserva”,  the official classifications that require the wines to age in the wineries before release, to show their potential? 

You might have known Lugana(southern end of Lake Garda and roughly midway between Brescia and Veron) is the land of just one grape: Turbiana.  The common belief is that Turbiana wines won’t age but also because this wine had held its years beautifully, the past four years in bottle adding a gold colour and a finish with a hint of licorice from the skins of the almonds and hazelnuts. 

So when Ian d'Agata argues thatTurbiano is Italy’s greatest native white grape variety, he is not saying Turbiano produces the best wine, but the potential is there as it can make many different styles of wines and can age. If you allow me to personify Turbiana, I would say this grape might have been a Catherine Deneuve of the wine world taking on different characters, and manifested this bottle of La Rifra Libiam Lugana 2016 , they maintain an attractive freshness, a lightness but also a robust and stony elegance that in many ways improves with age. This Deneuve is pure at heart, tasty with an umami bite along with harmonious acidity and structure still soft and delicate to taste.

The quality level is DOP. The local Consorzio changed the name of the grape to the local name “Turbiana” to differentiate the Lugana wine from Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and the other numerous Trebbiano wines grow in 80 of the country’s wine regions, says Wine Opener. No score other than our conviction for DD91. 

(Catherine Denueve image is from Facebook; any issues and unintended consequences please contact Editor)

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