Tasting Room Revelations – 2015 Ca’Lojera

Monday, February 20, 2017 11:49 AM

As I was taking out the week’s recycling this morning, I couldn’t help notice that the four wine bottles going into the bin were all Italian! This doesn’t happen very often. Though we do import and sell wines from Italy, we have soooo much else to choose from, that the odds of each week’s collection of half-poured, taken home samples to all be from the same country are big. Though considering that this week pretty much was Italian week around here, it does make sense.




Italian week. Yes, Gambero Rosso’s annual tre bicchieri tasting took place this past Wednesday at Fort Mason. Our friends, Enrico Pierazzuoli and Gianlorenzo Picollo were in town for it, as Enrico’s 2013 Carmignano Riserva was included in the tasting. Before they arrived, on Monday evening, we all found ourselves in a tasting room with a lineup of red wines from a Sicilian producer for whom we had high expectations. This is one of the ways we decide whether or not to import/carry a producer’s lineup. You can’t learn to swim from a book; and the same can be said about a wine’s tasting experience. Well, expectations being the harbinger of disappointment and all, it was a shame that the wines weren’t up to our standards. After taking in the aromas, Chris decided to not even taste the last wine. That’s how it goes sometimes. But as we often say, “We taste a lot of bad wine (okay, that may be a bit harsh in this case), so you don’t have to.” Many of the half-poured sample bottles didn’t even make it to any of our homes that evening.


Then Tuesday came, and with it, two of our pals from Italy. We tasted through their wines and they were all showing very well. There were no leftover samples on Wednesday morning! We tasted a few more of their wines on Wednesday, and ditto, nothing was left behind. Not even Enrico and Gianlorenzo. They were off to the east coast on Wednesday evening. Thursday came and went without incident, and then on Friday, the expectation/disappointment paradigm went the other way!


Winemaker Tiziana Settimo of Aurelio Settimo fame suggested we taste a lineup of wines made by some friends of her’s. The wines were shipped from Italy via air freight, and when Anya pulled them from the box, she exclaimed, “Ooh. The whites are from 2016 – these folks mean business. I’m really looking forward to tasting these!” First, David and Anya went through the lineup, then Chris and I had our turns. The consensus? We like them. A lot. As a matter of fact, we love them. Not only did all the samples disappear from the tasting room, there was noticeable tension among us while taking turns choosing which wines to take home. You will hear about them someday, when they get here; but for tonight, a similar yarn about an Italian producer whom we hold in high esteem: Ca’Lojera from Lugana.


Franco and Ambra Tiraboschi’s Ca’Lojera was David’s discovery. And as Anya wrote about years ago, he is not the kind of man who jumps up and down and screams, “Read all about it!” That’s more of what we do. David happily signed Ca’Lojera to our roster, and the rest is delicious history. Samples were shipped across the country for our staff to taste, and back at our old location, after we closed one day, we tasted the wines. Our reactions were very much like our reactions this past Friday, we loved them and could barely wait for them to arrive! With 5 successful vintages under our belts, we are pleased to announce the arrival of the Ca’Lojera Lugana from 2015!



A reminder: Ca’Lojera’s Lugana is made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana, or Turbiana, as the locals call it. The vineyards are on the southern shore of Lake Garda, and the winery is located in the commune of Sirmione. (Um, if you search images of Sirmione, you may want to travel there soon). The 2015 vintage was a good one in the region, with healthy ripeness levels and well-balancing acidity. The 2015 Ca’Lojera Lugana has you at “hello.” Its fresh, clean aromas of rich yellow fruit, blossoms, and mineral greet you like a fresh breeze off a lake surrounded by orchards. The palate is harmonious and lively, the complexities abound, all threaded together by the buoyant acidity. The intertwined components all fade slowly on the crisp, yet somehow fleshy, finish. All in all, I have a lot of ideas as to what to pair this wine with. It seems to be as versatile as can be!


Well, Italian week has come and gone. We laughed, we cried. We tasted some wines with great promise, and we tasted some wines to which we will politely say, “No thank you.” We said, “Ciao,” more this week than we will over the next few months combined, and the thought of pairing Osso Bucco with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo will haunt me all day tomorrow. No matter what happens next week, I can be assured of one fact: there will be not one, but at least two bottles of Italian wine in next week’s trip to the bottle bank. For I am taking two bottles of 2015 Ca’Lojera Lugana home tonight to enjoy over next week! – Peter Zavialoff

2010 Lugana Superiore From Ca’ Lojera

Monday, August 31, 2015 10:58 PM

 Ca’ Lojera
 
 
The Consorzio Tutela Lugana held an event in San Francisco exclusively for the wine trade this past July. On behalf of Ca’ Lojera,The Wine House participated in this tasting. Even among wine trade professionals, Lugana is a bit of mystery and for many, a new discovery. Not so for TWH customers, who have wholeheartedly embraced the delicious white wines (and reds) of Ca’ Lojera. We know andyou know how special Ca’ Lojera Lugana is, so you can imagine what a pleasure it was to introduce their wine to wine trade unfamiliar with the region. Ca’ Lojera stood outin the room, during the tasting portion of the event, and at lunch, where it was served with the appetizer course. I heard over and over again from the participants that Ca’ Lojera was their favorite. What appealed to most tasters is how Ca’ Lojera Lugana combines rich fruit with a forceful mineral drive.
 
A view of the vineyards from the winery
 
In order for Lugana to be labeled Superiore, the wine is required to be aged or mature for one year after harvest. Ca’ Lojera’s 2010 Lugana Superiore spent 18 months in large 25 hectoliter barrels. The large barrels allow the wine to comfortably mature without imparting strong oaky notes to the wine. At an impromptu staff tasting, we reacquainted ourselves with the 2010 Superiore and found it to be showing beautifully.
 
The winery
 
The 2010 Superiore has a lot of WOW! factor; explosive, layered aromatics, weight and opulence on the palate, and a long, long finish. I tasted a ripe core of fruit, golden almond notes and a thread of intense minerals that effortlessly piggy-backed the citrus-soaked fruit. The oak aging showed in the round mouthfeel. I remarked that the Superiore is a perfect example of how Turbiana (the grape variety in Lugana) can express itself in many ways depending on how it is vinified, not unlike Chardonnay. David was quick to point out that theSuperiore has a very different flavor profile than Chardonnay but agreed it does indeed compare in sophistication. Together we concluded that the 2010 Lugana Superiore is a wine geek wine without being weird or strange. Only thing lacking at that moment was a roast chicken or a simply prepared fresh fish fillet to go along with the wine.
 
 
The 2010 Lugana Superiore is by all means more than capable of being a centerpiece wine at a special meal. At $20.99 per bottle, I’d say for a wine like that – complex and sophisticated from a little known wine region – it’s an unbelievable bargain. But just to make it even more irresistible to try, the 2010 Lugana Superiore has a special sale price of $16.95 per bottle, valid through Labor Day.
 

I took the last vestiges of the 2010 Superiore home with me last night and finished it off with a baked breadcrumb-crusted fillet of sole topped with lemon slices. Delish! While savoring the last drops, my daughter gave a play by play description of her day at school with the Giants’ game droning on in the background. Turns out middle school is not as awful as she expected. I am keeping my fingers crossed, and saying a lot of prayers, that she continues to feel that way for the next three years. – Anya Balistreri

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