Lombardy region is one of the most important Italian wine area.
Lombardy’s viticulture has always been characterized by a great diversity of production areas with different climatic and geographical conditions. A richness that extends from the terraced slopes of Valtellina to the morainic areas of Lake Garda and Iseo, down to the Apennine hills of Oltrepò Pavese and lower Po Valley.
In Lombardy 30,000 hectares of vineyards are spread over the 24,000 sq km of the regional surface. The various wine-growing areas are relatively far apart and have different characteristics.
Thanks to a hard work of research and experimentation, first in the vineyard and then in the cellar, Lombardy’s wine scene has evolved over the years, now reaching levels of excellence among the most interesting in Italy:
- 5 are the DOCG wines (controlled designation of origin guaranteed);
- 23 DOC (controlled designation of origin);
- 15 IGT (high-quality wines that do not fit DOC/DOCG regulations).
3 are the main vineyard areas in Lombardy: Valtellina, Oltrepò Pavese and the area between Lake Garda and Lake Iseo.
The vineyards of the Valtellina are located on the slopes of the mountains, on the right bank of river Adda, where the sunlight is able to ripen the grapes, with the vineyards grown in terraces.
The main wine variety is Nebbiolo, here called Chiavennasca, that gives the Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG, a wine obtained by the partial drying of the grapes, and Valtellina Superiore DOCG. Other native wines are Pignola Valtellinese, Rossola and Brugnola (all red wines).
Valtellina is also famous for 2 other important local specialties of guaranteed origin: the cheese Bitto della Valtellina DOP and Bresaola della Valtellina IGP.
Oltrepò Pavese lies to the south of the river Po, as its name suggests (‘oltrepò‘ means beyond the Po river). It is the largest wine production area in Lombardy. This hilly area, located between the provinces of Alessandria and Pavia, on the border with Piedmont, has always been known for massive production of red wines but has recently emerged as a region of excellence also for white wines.
The most common wine varieties are Barbera, Croatina, Bonarda and Uva Rara, all red wine varities, and especially Pinot Nero, used for the production of sparkling white wines (Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG). White wines are made from Riesling Italico grapes, as well as with Moscato and Malvasia grapes.
With its smooth hills scattered with wineyards, castles and panoramic views Oltrepò pavese is often called “the Tuscany of the northern Italy”.
Located in the area of Lake Iseo, near Brescia, it is well-known for the cultivation of Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay wines and is among the main viticulture areas in Italy. This is also an area known for the production of classic method sparkling wine (Franciacorta DOCG). With the same varieties, and possibly also Cabernet Franc and Cabernet, Curtefranca DOC is produced. Berlucchi, Bellavista and Ca’ Del Bosco are among the most famous wine producers in the area.
With its rolling hills, shaped by glacial action, close to the beautiful Lake Iseo and not far from Lake Garda, Franciacorta is the ideal place for a short stay or a weekend. From there you can reach the city of Brescia in 20 minutes, Bergamo in 40 minutes and Verona in one hour by car.
Other Lombardy’s wine varities are Lambrusco mantovano DOC and Lugana DOC, both white wines. Instead other important production areas are in San Colombano al Lambro DOC, between Pavia and Milano, with the same wine varities cultivated in Oltrepò Pavese, and Valcalepio DOC, between Bergamo and Lake Iseo. In this area native red varities like Moscato di Scanzo and Moscato di Scanzo DOCG are cultivated too.