Lugana San Benedetto 2018 $28

What's the Deal

If you ask even casual wine drinkers to name a red wine from Northern Italy, you'll get a treatise on Barolo, maybe Barbaresco, definitely Amarone. Ask them to name a white and likely get a shrug, maybe a mention of Pinot Grigio, a wine so ubiquitous that It's tough to imagine it hailing from any one place. But It's an area where, if you scratch the surface just a little, there'sa hidden world of wonderful vibrant wines, with lovely veins of acid running through them and often dripping with savouriness and salinity. The best part? They’re a fraction of the price of their red brethren. Exhibit A could be this bottle from Zenato€”a Trebbiano grown on the south shore of Lake Garda that the company has been making since 1960. The word classic doesn’t even cover it here.

What's in the Bottle?

This is a case of buying the producer€”and maybe the region€”more than the grape. The Trebbiano grape (many B.C. wine lovers will know it from the wonderful version grown by Hester Creek that we’ve gushed about in the past) is widely grown in Italy for large scale bulk wine, but this is a very different Trebbiano. It has none of the grape’s frequent dullness when grown en masse€”instead it has a racy, vibrant character that dials up the citrus peel and crisp pear. But there’s also an appealing savoury side too, one typified by fresh grated ginger and wild sage and salted almonds. 

Should I buy?

Well, Trebbiano€”even great Trebbiano€”isn’t for everyone. Some complain about a banana flavour, but I don’t get any of that softness here. This is a benchmark wine: try it and you can form an opinion on North Italian Trebbiano at its zenith. My guess is that you’ll be smitten as I am. And for under $30, that’s a coup. (Order a benchmark Barolo and see where you end up $$$ wise).