Ca' dei Frati | Lugana
The Dal Cero family has transformed their Ca' dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large area of prime vineyard sites in 2008, they have over 200 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality, and today they remain the best producer in Lugana.
The quality of the wines is attributable directly to Igino Dal Cero's obsession with detail. All their fruit is picked by hand and he ensures there is no skin contact as he wants to retain the delicate perfumes and enhance the supple texture of the whites. Igino has changed his mind on malolactic fermentation and now inhibits it in order to give the wine the lift he feels it benefits from. He is now convinced that a period of ageing on lees post fermentation gives him greater richness on the palate as well as the wonderful flintiness on the nose that makes his wine so Burgundian in character.
The 'I Frati' Lugana is lively and scented, and continues to offer superb value. Made solely from the Turbiana variety (related to Verdicchio, it was formerly known as Trebbiano di Lugana and then Lugana), the wine has depth and zip that few wines from this area demonstrate. Their single-vineyard Lugana, the 'Brolettino', is barrel fermented and aged for 10 months. The oak is nicely integrated with the fruit to give a wonderful texture and complexity to the wine. 'Pratto', a blend of Turbiana, Chardonnay (both of which are barrel fermented) and Sauvignon Blanc (fermented in tank), has an exotic passion fruit character while maintaining the characteristic freshness of the Ca' dei Frati wines.
The 'Ronchedone' is a blend of Sangiovese, Marzemino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Like the whites, it is ripe yet elegant. Their 'Rosa dei Frati', pale pink in colour, dry and scented, is a stunner. A blend of Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera, there is no better wine to bring to mind summer on the shores of Lake Garda.