Located between Piemonte to the west, and Veneto to the east, Lombardia lies in the centre of Italy’s North. It consists of very different geographical zones.
The Alps occupy the very north of Lombardia. This is where you’ll find Valtellina DOC – a denomination dedicated to red wines from Nebbiolo (here it’s called Chiavennasca). All vineyards are planted on steep mountain slopes, at altitudes of up to 800 metres. The valley essentially is a 45 km glacier path. Due to the enormous hardship, vine-growing in Valtellina is called “heroic”. Nevertheless, Valtellina manages to turn out almost 2 million bottles of wine per year!
Franciacorta DOCG is in the centre of Lombardia, between lake Iseo to the north and Prealps to the east. It was the first DOCG for metodo classico sparkling wines, which are often thought of as the best ones in Italy. The main grape here is Chardonnay, though sparkling rosé versions must be not less than 35% Pinot Nero.
Oltrepò Pavese (literally “the other side of the river Po”) is famous for the best sparkling wines made from Pinot Nero. Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG is the Italy’s second DOCG dedicated to metodo classico sparkling wines – but in this case the wine must be not less than 70% Pinot Nero. Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC is dedicated to the local red grape Bonarda (Croatina), and it’s Lombardia’s largest DOC in terms of production volume.
In Garda Lombardo, the part of Lombardia surrounding lake Garda, the main grape is Turbiana (Trebbiano di Soave). Lugana DOC produces white refreshing wines with flavours of orange blossom and tropical fruits as well as age-worthy Riservas. These wines are matured in oak, and offer remarkable aromatic complexity. Lugana DOC is located in Lombardia, and part in Veneto.