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

More love for Lugana

Thursday, March 3, 2011 5:32 AM

If it seems like we’ve been using the word “love” a lot lately, it’s because we have…. but with good reason! As recent posts will attest, TWH is abound with exciting new wines and producers. You may recall Anya’s write-up on2009 Ca’Lojera Lugana, which illustrates the truly ubiquitous passion and dedication to quality going into the wines from this once under-appreciated nook of northern Italy.  Not surprisingly, it appears we’re not the only ones getting all in a tizzy about Turbiana from Lugana (hey, that rhymes:) ).  Check out thisbeautiful 2-page spread about the evolution of a brilliant white wine region, complete with nod to Ca’Lojera, in the most recent Decanter Magazine.  Cheers ~ E

2009 Lugana From Ca’Lojera

Monday, February 7, 2011 4:21 PM

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The way I look at it, when TWH brings in a new producer, it’s like picking teams at school; you want only the best players. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you. Our last container of wines from Italy has had nothing but first round draft picks rolling off the pallets, joining our already “loaded” team. And yet a curious thing can happen and it is this: The producers we import may begin as “teammates”, but quickly become something more like family. Such a magical transformation happened to me with Ca’Lojera. As I mentioned a few weeks back, the staff was eager to taste all the new stuff from Italy.Ca’Lojera, a producer from the Lugana DOC within Lombardy, is David’s discovery. David had warned us that they make terrific wines and that he couldn’t wait for us to taste them. For those of you who come by the store regularly, you know that David isn’t one to stand on his head shouting, waving his hands and making a fuss. No, that’s what I do.David is a Gentleman and when he makes a commitment to a producer like he did with Ca’Lojera, you know the wines have to be something special.And something special is what Ca’Lojera wines are.


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My first encounter with the wines of Ca’Lojera left me speechless and struggling for words. My cryptic notes simply had big smiley faces and exclamation marks. Seems I was so busy enjoying tasting (drinking) the wines, I couldn’t be bothered writing anything coherent nor profound. The2009 Lugana from Ca’Lojera is 100% Trebbiano di Lugana, or Turbiana as it is known locally. I couldn’t believe how good it was. You see, Trebbiano is a widely planted varietal and up to this point, I had never tasted wine from it that was, well, worth noting. Isn’t it amazing how it always comes down to the right varietal with the right soil and climate? The 2009 Lugana is a wine of distinction and refinement.Though no oak is used, there is a rich and round texture to the wine.Ca’Lojera is situated at the southern tip of Lake Garda about 20 miles due east of Verona, where it once was the bottom of the lake. Now flat clay soils chock full of minerals impart a unique flavor of salinity and savoriness to the vines grown on it. It is this unique microclimate that assists in creating a full, complex wine from Turbiana.

My next encounter with the wines of Ca’Lojera came over a week ago when I had the good fortune of visiting New York City during an epic blizzard for an Italian wine conference. I had contacted Ambra Tiraboschi from Ca’Lojera to tell her I’d be at the conference and as luck would have it, so was she. Ambra immediately took me under her wing and we had supper the very first night there. It became instantly apparent that all the qualities I found in her wines, like the refinement and distinction, etc., were a reflection of herself. Ambra is that producer who works the ground, touches the grapes, and produces wine that outperforms for price and quality. A few words in and I knew that making wine for Ambra is not a business but a passion and way of life. And lest you think I’m easily swayed, I was not the only one whom I witnessed come under her charm, wit and wine mastery. I spied other producers, buyers, restaurateurs and jaded wine biz types come by her table and address her with the kind of reverence saved only for a select few. Taste her wines and you’ll get what I mean. Ambra works side by side with her husband, Franco. Their long marriage and twenty year partnership in making wine from the 14 hectares they planted has made it impossible to delineate who does what. This is a true collaboration.

Here is a link to a post by a wine blogger who out of the hundreds of producers at this Italian wine conference singled out Ca’Lojera wines:http://biggerthanyourhead.net/2011/01/29/vino-2011-a-little-learning-in-lombardy-part-one/

I returned home from NY with a miserable flu, but more importantly I came back with great memories of drinking beer at Grand Central Station during the storm with my nephew (I’m getting too old for these types of adventures!), reacquainting with many of our Italian producers and finding a few promising new prospects from Italy…so stay tuned!!!

Anya Balistreri

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