As high summer draws to a close, we are usually granted a spell of late summer sunshine and I, for one, will be making the most of those sunny days or hours. I have promised myself that this year I will plant bulbs for the short, dark days of February – lots and lots of muscari grape hyacinths – so that I can enjoy their vivid, uplifting shades of blue in my bare, wintry garden.
Next, I intend to savour the sunshine with a couple of our recently arrived Italian summer white wines that you may or may not have heard of. The first is Lugana from an area found hugging the southern shores of Lake Garda and shared by both the Veneto/Lombardia regions. Hot and flat, with heavy fertile soils, you can expect wonderful floral notes of acacia and dandelion with a touch of acidity that lends this wine a kinship to the mountain wines of Alto Adige. If you have been to Verona and sat in a piazza drinking chilled white wine, chances are that it was a Lugana. The Italians love its refreshing quality. The second is Vermentino, which is more widely grown than Lugana, with the most obvious bottlings coming out of Sardinia, Tuscany and Liguria. Varying in styles, Sardinia and Tuscany are generally more complex and round with herbaceous and floral notes from Mediterranean shrubbery that's synonymous to both these regions, whilst the Ligurian Vermentino tends to be a lot leaner and fresher with a bracing acidity. Due to vineyard plantings being so close to shore, there's a natural sea-salt 'kick' that could easily transport you to a coastal taverna where the dish of the day would be the freshest of fish. Fingers crossed we get to enjoy them in their natural habitat of 'plenty of warm sunshine'.
Very enthusiastic wine lover who loves a party!