Tommasi Lugana Le Fornaci – Introducing a lakeside masterpiece

The vineyards of Tommasi wines on the southern shores of Lake Garda, Italy
The vineyards of Tommasi wines on the southern shores of Lake Garda, Italy

Sooner or later, wine drinkers seeking to get to know Italian wine, in all its diverse flavours and styles, always come to hear of the renowned Tommasi family. Their history speaks for itself: after Giacomo Tommasi purchased a small parcel of land in Valpolicella Classica in 1902, the firm gradually expanded to all corners of the peninsula. Today, on the southern shores of Lake Garda, Tommasi produces Le Fornaci Lugana, yet another jewel in the family’s viticultural crown.

The dynamic Lugana DOC is the birthplace of some of Italy’s most intriguing and distinctive dry whites. Turbiana, the area’s traditional grape, has won many fans with its orchard and tropical-fruit flavours, fine structure and vibrant freshness. It should come as no surprise that the Tommasi family, consummate professionals with over a century of winemaking experience producing site-specific, authentic wines across the whole of Italy, took note of the potential of both the variety and the region’s distinctive terroir.

Giancarlo Tommasi, head winemaker at Tommasi Family Estates

Giancarlo Tommasi, head winemaker at Tommasi Family Estates

A special terroir

Yet quality winegrowing is anything but straightforward. It requires a magical combination of terroir, climate and tradition – a union between the plant, the winemaker and the landscape. Lugana, sitting in the far east of Lombardy, on the border with Veneto, is a place where this special combination can be found. With a relatively small area under vine, the production zone spans Lake Garda’s southern shore, from the historic Desenzano del Garda in the west to Peschiera in the east.

Despite Lugana DOC’s small size, there are few vineyards in northern Italy that can compete with its geographical – and geological – advantages. With a decidedly favourable aspect and sub-Mediterranean climate (with mild winters and temperate summers), the vines are cooled by fresh breezes that blow in from the waters of the lake. Meanwhile, calcareous soils, rich in minerals, yield small berries of highly aromatic fruit. The very best of these raw materials are used to make Lugana’s seminal white: Tommasi Le Fornaci.

Tommasi Le Fornaci's Le Fornaci Lugana wine

Lugana’s seminal white: Tommasi Le Fornaci

A pure reflection of the land

The wine is expressively aromatic, racy and complex – a product of the diverse terroirs (certain parcels are grown on clay-rich soils, while others are planted on more sandy and silty terrain) and the exceptional winemaking skill found at Tommasi. Purity of fruit expression is the overriding goal; to this end, hand-harvested berries are fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel, with lees ageing thoughtfully used to enhance texture and mouthfeel. The result is a harmonious balance of fruit, minerality and verve.

In the 21st century, Tommasi Le Fornaci has established itself as exemplary in the annals of Lake Garda; without a shadow of a doubt, this is a region, and family, in the ascendant.

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The post Tommasi Lugana Le Fornaci – Introducing a lakeside masterpiece appeared first on Decanter.

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