I met Cà Lojera's Ambra Tiraboschi, who looks rather like Maria Callas in the photo she puts up in her stand at Vinitaly, many years ago at Bordeaux's Vinexpo: It was the end of a very long day, my feet wished they belonged to someone else, and I had stopped to say hi to Paolo Abbona of Marchesi di Barolo. Sat down too, and found myself sipping a rather nice sparkling wine that turned out to be a Lugana from the southern shores of Lake Garda.
When I asked whose it was, Ambra raised her hand and smiled. Much has happened since then; they've redone their cellars and added a restaurant, which is open for dinner during the summer months, and Ambra's daughter Alessandra has had two delightful children. I make a point of stopping by her stand at Vinitaly every year, usually managing to catch her husband Franco too (he prefers to stay out of the limelight), and have noted with considerable pleasure that since I began liking their wines others have too. In fact, AIS, the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers, declared their wines the best of the Brescano area (Lake Garda's western shore) for 2009. And well they might:
Cà Lojera Lugana DOC 2007
Last year's wine: Delicate brassy yellow with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with minerality and some white berry fruit laced with greenish accents and moderate acidity coupled with spice. Graceful. On the palate it's full and bright, with graceful warm yellow plum fruit supported by clean acidity and savory accents that flow into a clean bright gunflint laced finish. Quite pleasant and will drink very well with fish or vegetable based first course dishes (and also creamy risotti in general), fish, and white meats that aren't too fatty rich -- a chicken pot pie for example.
Cà Lojera Lugana DOC 2008
Pale brassy white with greenish reflections and white rim. The bouquet is fresh and very young, with moderate honeysuckle supported by spice and savory notes. Nice depth in its youth. On the palate it's rich and full with yellow plum fruit and acidity supported by hints of minerality that flow into a clean slightly bitter finish. Quite pleasant, though it's going to be much better in a year's time,and is worth waiting for. Beautiful wine.
Cà Lojera Lugana Superiore DOC 2004
Lively brassy gold with brassy reflections. The bouquet is fresh and deft, with clean mineral accents and spice mingled with gunflint and moderate acidity. Pleasant, and mature. On the palate it's full and quite rich, with deft yellow plum fruit supported by slightly greenish acidity that flows into a clean fresh mineral finish with greenish tannic accents that become quite savory. Quite nice though not a wine to drink far from the table; it will instead nicely complement rich fish dishes, e.g. grilled sea bass or even grilled salmon. Very nice, and has a great deal to say.
Cà Lojera Lugana Riserva del Lupo DOC 2004
Deep brassy gold with greenish highlights and brassy reflections. The bouquet is rich, with greenish gunflint accents and barest hints of butterscotch and bitterness mingled with yellow peach, and savory notes. Quite a lot going on, and it opens very well. On the palate it's full, and rich, with powerful minerality supported by clean fresh tart berry fruit acidity that flows into a spicy finish with lasting warmth. Quite elegant and rich, with considerable depth; it will drink very well with grilled fish, or other rich flavorful foods, and also has the capacity to age nicely for several more years.
Cà Lojera Lugana Superiore DOC 2001
Lively charged brassy gold with brassy reflections that have brilliant golden hues; it looks its age. The bouquet is fresh, impressively so considering the wine's age, with clean lemony fruit supported by some greenish accent and deft spice with hints of butterscotch. On the palate it's full, rich, and clean, with fresh lively white berry fruit supported by considerable savoriness and by sweet tannins that flow into a clean slightly greenish finish. Pleasant and has kept very well, furnishing further proof -- if any was needed -- of Lugana's ability to age.
Cà Lojera Garda DOC Chardonnay 2006
Forgot to note lot number
Brassy gold with brilliant greenish brassy reflections. The bouquet is bright, with tropical fruit laced with some hardwood ash and greenish spice, and supported by alcohol as well. On the palate it's full and rich in a rather seductive key with swank citric fruit supported by deft acidity that flows into a clean slightly overripe tropical fruit finish. Pleasant, and has considerable life, though it doesn't display the tight control of the Lugana.
Cà Lojera Garda Chardonnay DOC 2001
Brilliant lemony yellow with brassy reflections that pale to white at the rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with clean fresh savory white fruit supported by minerality and spice, and some pungency as well. Quite pleasant. On the palate it's ample and rich, with tropical fruit -- honeydew melon and some pineapple -- supported by warm savory accents that flow into a clean bright rather citric finish. Impressive for an Italian wine this old, but then again I have come to expect this sort of performance from Ambra's wines.
Cà Lojera Vino da Tavola Rosato
Lot not apparent.
Lively salmon with pink rim paling to white. The bouquet is fresh and bright, with fairly rich raspberry supported by bright greenish acidity. On the palate it's full (for a rosée), with lively righ red berry fruit supported by acidity and light smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fresh raspberry finish. Quite pleasant and approachable.
For more information on Cà Lojera, check Ambra and Franco's Site
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