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WSET Diploma: Unit 3: Italy > Lombardy > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lombardy Deck (45):

Oltrepo Pavese DOC

Largest production area in Lombardy. Calcareous clay soil at the Apennine foothills from the river Po reaching toward the border of Emilia. Large range of wines produced, uninteresting red from Barbera dominant.


Valtellina DOC

Grapes grown on steep slopes of the river Adda. Long summer days and cool nights. Predominately Nebbiolo grown, local wine style from Nebbiolo is Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG. This is a high quality, dried grape red similar to Amarone. Wine for Valtellina Superiore DOCG must reach 12% abv, 1% higher than standard Valtellina.


Terre di Franciacorta

Grapes planted on low hills south of Brescia. Microclimate moderated by Lake Iseo. High quality red, white and sparkling produced. DOC regulations have restricted yields to 10 tonnes/ ha and have banned tendone and Geneva double curtain trellising to improve quality. Mainly international varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon planted.


Oltrepo Pavese

Lombardy’s most sizeable viticultural area, administratively part of piemonte from 1741 to 1859, extends across the hills of a series of communes in the province of Pavia south of the Po river where the land begins to rise towards the Ligurian Apennines (the name means ‘beyond the Po, in the Pavia region’). In 2012, vineyards totalled 11,657 ha/28,792 acres, of which 9,457 ha were registered for doc wines. Oltrepò Pavese is also the name of an extensive, over-arching DOC, encompassing six DOCs and one docg, which lack true significance because production regulations and the permitted grape varieties are practically identical to those of the Oltrepò Pavese DOC. This is especially true of the DOC Pinot Grigio dell’Oltrepò Pavese and the DOC Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese. Of real significance, however, is the DOCG Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico for traditional method sparkling wines based on at least 70% Pinot Noir with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and/or Pinot Bianco, and a minimum of 15 months on lees, 24 months for vintage-dated wines. Oltrepò Pavese has been producing base wines for sparkling winemakers since the 19th century and the large spumante houses of Piemonte have long relied on this neighbouring zone in Lombardy for varieties not cultivated in their own region. Significant amounts of bulk wine have always been sold in nearby Milan, encouraging abundant production at extremely low prices; the quality of Oltrepò wines has thus gained little from its proximity to Italy’s largest and most affluent urban market. The small size of the properties (1.8 ha per grower) and the significant role played by co-operatives have also tended to reward quantity over quality. If the vast majority of the Oltrepò’s production is not particularly interesting, there is no doubt that good, and occasionally very good, wine is made in this zone. One of the most interesting is the blended red Oltrepò Rosso, which is based on barbera grapes to which croatina (confusingly called Bonarda, the name of a quite different, generally inferior grape variety here) adds spice and body and uva rara gives sweetness and aroma. Regrettably this blend accounts for only a small fraction of the total DOC production although there is a total of about 2,000 ha of each of Barbera and Croatina planted. Together with Uva Rara they form the blends for the DOCs Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese and Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese. The bland Riesling Italico (see welschriesling) is the most significant white wine grape with a total of 1,172 ha planted. Many of these wines, both white and red, come in a lightly sparkling version, while Pinot Noir is principally used for spumante, most of whose production is controlled by the co-operatives and most of which is correct but hardly inspiring. An occasional good bottle of Oltrepò spumante and an occasional bottle of still Pinot Noir, given a Burgundian treatment and aged in oak, indicate that the variety has real, if as yet unrealized, potential in the zone, although it currently lags far behind franciacorta.



- northernmost wine zone in the alpine far north of lombardy where the nebbiolo grape (here called Chiavennasca) is cultivated,

- has a relatively privileged climate (not unlike the warmer wine regions across the border in switzerland) with a high percentage of sunny days and moderate and evenly spread rains throughout the year.

- Nebbiolo, do tend to be rather lighter, with more perceptible tannins and acidity than the wines of the langhe or those made from spanna in the Novara-Vercelli hills. Although Nebbiolo seems well adapted to Valtellina, it arrived relatively recently: the detailed works of Francesco Saverio Quadrio in the 17th century make no mention of the grape and the beginning of its cultivation in Valtellina appears to date from the early 19th century, when more than 6,000 ha/15,000 acres of vineyards were registered here, more than a third planted with Nebbiolo. In the early 2010s the region had just 850 ha of vineyards planted on a thin 45 km strip of terraces on the right bank of the Adda. This isolated zone has been sensibly demarcated, with the whole region classified as DOC Valtellina Rosso, whose maximum yield of 10 tonnes/ha is unlikely to be achieved in practice. A step up is Valtellina Superiore (215 ha) from separate demarcated areas, and one of the region’s two DOCGs, where yields are restricted to 8 tonnes/ha and the wine must be aged for at least 24 months, of which 12 in oak cask (36 for Riserva). At the pinnacle of quality are five subzones which lie within the Superiore area, each with a distinctly different style of Nebbiolo: delicate Maroggio (25 ha), elegant and mineral Sassella (114 ha), harmoniously precocious Grumello (78 ha), earthy and powerful Inferno (55 ha), and fresh and fruit-driven Valgella (137 ha). All these DOCs must contain at least 90% of Nebbiolo. The handful of international varieties planted here, among them Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, may be sold as IGT Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio. The zone’s only other DOCG is reserved for the sforzato di Valtellina (or Sfurzat in local dialect), a full-bodied, dry red made from Nebbiolo grapes that have been dried for three months, and which must be aged for at least 20 months. The vineyard area has declined significantly because of the increasing cost of working the narrow terraces which are impossible to mechanize. The region’s vineyards are extremely fragmented with many small smallholders whose produce was traditionally bought and bottled by négociants who, together with the four local co-operatives, were long the dominant economic force in the zone. However the dynamics in the region are changing, with négociants now playing a much more active role in grape growing, and more and more producers bottling their own wines, often from single vineyards. Ar.Pe.Pe, founded in 1984, has achieved virtual cult status while other notable producers include Rainoldi, Fay, the négociant Nino Negri, the stalwart of Valtellina, Rainoldi and Mamete Prevostini, and it is becoming difficult to find a mediocre bottle of wine from Valtellina.



Dry white Italian wine the same as trebbiano di soave, so akin to verdicchio produced to the south and south west of Lake Garda in the province of Brescia, straddling the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto. The region, comprising some 1,000 ha/2,470 acres of vineyard, turns out a sizeable 127,000 hl of wine, made possible by yields of more than 120 hl/ha. The resulting insipid wines, often bottled outside the production area, obscure the fact that genuine Lugana comes from a narrow band of strikingly white, clay-limestone soils on the south shore of Lake Garda known locally known as menadel. The DOC can be divided in two parts, of which the first is this narrow strip and the second, south of the Strada Provinciale 11, in the hills near San Martino della Battaglia, with sandier soils and less expressive wines. However, any differences of terroir are obliterated by high yields, and in the blending tanks in which most of the wine ends up. However, ageworthy versions of Lugana were not uncommon in the past. Proof is available in the form of Ca’ Lojera estate’s version which is aged for five years and has inspired the official creation of a Riserva category.


Lombardia- Climate and Weather

Varied climate but overall cool with humidity


Lombardia- Typography and Soils

Reasonably flat topography w vast fertile plains but some slopes of granite and granitic sand


Lombardia- Barbera

Productive & versatile red grape

Found mainly in Oltrepo Pavese

Produces good yields for everyday wines

Deep ruby colour, low tannins, full bodied, hi acidity
plummy wines


Lombardia- Nebbiolo

Small thick-skinned black berries that produce both high tannins & acidity w typical aromas of tar & roses

Best in soils hi in calcareous marl. Ok in sandy soils


Lombardia- Pinot Nero

Growing in popularity in Oltrepo Pavese and also use in Franciacorta sparkling & still wines


Lombardia- Bondara/ Croatina

Produces plump berry-flavoured reds.

Blended with Barbera in Oltrepo Ross


Lombardia- White Grapes

Chardonnay: Dominant in Franciacorta for sparkling and still whites but also grown in Oltrepo Pavese

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Bianco: 2nd dominant grape in Franciacorta

Riesling Renano & Riesling Italico
- Different Rieslings both found in Oltrepo Pavese
- Renano considered superior quality
- Wines w peachy flowery aromas


Lombardia- Production

24,000ha of vineyards for 1.1ml hl/yr (40% whites 60% reds) with most of the production consumed locally.

Most of the viticulture is away from the main towns with no signature grape to help the development of the
region in and outside of Italy.


Lombardia: Oltrepo Pavese DOC (R/W)- 17,000 ha

A few kms south of Milan; at the Apennine foothills from the river Po reaching toward the border of Emilia o Calcareous clay soils for a large range of wines of little interest; some interesting

Oltrepo Rosso: blend of Barbera w Croatina (for spice and body) and Uva rara (for sweetness & aroma) oDOC allows hi yields on Barbera and Bonarda. Also some Pinot noir.

15% of production is made from Riesling Italico (Welschriesling) followed by Moscato (9% of total).


Lombardia: Terre di Franciacorta DOC (R/W)

East of Milan; vineyards on the low hills south of Brescia; microclimate w moderating effect from Lake Iseo

Superior quality appellation of the upcoming Franciacorta area w regulations around yields (10t/ha), trellising
systems (Tendone & Geneva double curtain banned) to improve quality. No Pinot Grigio allowed.

Mainly international varieties e.g. Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay (made in Burgundian style) and Cabernet
Sauvignon (made in Bordeaux style). DOCG for sparkling


Lombardia: Valtellina DOC- 1,200 ha

In the far north of Lombardia; the northernmost zone w Nebbiolo grapes (doesn’t always ripen)

Narrow east-west valley formed by river Adda with vineyards on steep slopes along the river

Privileged climate w high percentage of sunny days, long summer days & cool nights

Very rocky soils that retains heat during the day and redistributes at night

Mainly Nebbiolo grown with wines w less body, roundness and more tannins and acidity vs. Piemonte.

Valtellina Superiore is DOCG (min 12% abv vs. 11% for DOC) and Sforzato di Valtellina is a DOCG wine
made from dried grapes in similar style to Amarone



Red grape variety from the borders of the piemonte and lombardy regions of northern Italy. The vine buds and ripens late but yields good quantities of fruity wine with a certain bite, designed to be drunk relatively young. Its common synonym is Bonarda, under which name it has an appetizing red varietal doc in the oltrepò pavese zone of south west Lombardia. The variety is quite distinct from bonardaPiemontese. Total plantings of Croatina were 5,684 ha/14,045 acres in 2010.



Interesting, late-ripening red grape variety grown in northern Italy, from Lombardia to Friuli but mainly in trentino. dnaprofiling at san michele all’adige revealed parent–offspring relationships with both teroldego and refosco dal pedunculo rosso, thus anchoring the genetic roots of this variety in northern Italy. Once much more famous than now, it does not have particularly good resistance to fungal diseases, and is often allowed to over-produce, but it can yield lively wines, some of them lightly sparkling. A big-berried clone dominated plantings with just over 1,000 ha/2,500 acres in Italy in 2010


Barbera- Elsewhere In Italy:

Barbera dominates much of Lombardy, in particular the vineyards of Oltrepò Pavese, where it makes varietal wines of varying quality and degrees of fizziness, some fine and lively, as well as being blended with the softer local Croatina or bonarda Piemontese grapes. It is a minor, and decreasing, ingredient in Terre di franciacorta and is found, as elsewhere in Italy, in oceans of basic vino da tavola. Barbera is also much planted immediately south east of Piemonte in the Colli Piacentini, the hills above Piacenza, of emilia-romagna. Here too it is often blended with Bonarda, particularly in the Val Tidone for the DOC red Gutturnio. It is also planted in the Bologna and Parma hills, the Colli Bolognesi and Colli di Parma, where it may also produce a varietalwine which rarely has the concentration of Piemonte’s best and is regularly fizzy. The variety was planted in Argentina, many years ago, and in California and Australia more recently, thanks to a fashion for Italian varieties. It can also be found in Slovenia. Barbera del Sannio is known in Campania while Barbera Sarda is grown in Sardinia, but neither is related to the Barbera of Piemonte


Barbera- Piedmonte

Barbera was once known as ‘the people’s wine’ of Piemonte for its versatility and its abundant production. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, a proportion of Barbera underwent a significant metamorphosis as producers, in a parallel development to the Sangiovese-based supertuscans, experimented with barrel maturation. The prototype was Giacomo Bologna’s Bricco dell’Uccellone. New oak substantially modifies the character of Barbera, adding a real spiciness to its rather neutral aromas and a certain quantity of ligneous tannins which firm up its structure and soften the impact of its acidity. In addition, the extra oxygenation of the wine has helped to curb the variety’s natural tendency to reduction. Today Barbera comes in a bewildering range of styles, from the young, cheaplight, and spritzy to powerful, intense, highly priced wines that need extended cellaring, reflecting both variation of producer vision and the extreme heterogeneousness of the soils and mesoclimatesof the zones where it is planted.
Certain characteristics are constant none the less: a deep ruby colour (the wine was frequently used in the past to ‘correct’ the colour of Nebbiolo grapes grown in barolo and barbaresco); relatively low levels of tannins; pronounced acidity which is aggravated by over-production, Barbera being a variety of exemplary vigour and productivity. The DOC regulations, which regrettably permit generous yields (70 hl/ha in Alba, 63 hl/ha in Asti), relatively low alcoholic strength (12% in Alba and Asti, 11.5% in the Monferrato), and high minimum acidity in relation to the alcohol and body of the wines, do little to restrain yields or exalt quality. alba, asti, and the monferrato give their names to the three DOC zones of Piemonte, although the zones tend to sprawl across vast extensions of territory: there are 171 townships in the Asti DOC and 215 townships in the Monferrato DOC (with the two zones overlapping to a certain extent). The hills immediately to the north and south of Alba and Monforte d’Alba in the Alba DOC and, in the province of Asti, the area from Nizza Monferrato north west towards Vinchio, Castelnuovo Calcea, Agliano, Belveglio, and Rocchetta Tanaro are considered classic zones for Barbera. The finest wines tend to come from the DOCG Barbera d’Asti, where it is given serious attention while the DOC has been subdivided in three subzones of which Nizza is expeced to attain its own DOC. Historically, Nizza, because it is one of the warmest parts of the Asti zone, has produced the ripest and best Barbera. In Asti, Barbera is given the best vineyard sites, whereas in Alba these sites go to Nebbiolo. An apparently unrelated Barbera Bianca was grown on 181 ha/447 acres, mainly in Acqui and Alessandria.



Productive and versatile red grape variety widely planted in northern Italy where total 2010 plantings were 20,523 ha/50,692 acres, a dramatic decrease since the nearly 50,000 ha/123,552 acres in the 1990s. No genetic link can be found with other Piemontese varieties, suggesting that it was imported into the region relatively recently.
Barbera ripens relatively late, as much as two weeks after the other ‘lesser’ black grape variety of Piemonte dolcetto, although in advance of the stately nebbiolo. Its chief characteristic is its high level of natural acidity even when fully ripe, which has helped its popularity in hot climates (it is also grown to quite an extent in Australia, Argentina, and, especially California).


What is the town that is far away from the Lombardy wine making regions, but still buys enough wine to keep it in money?



What type of wines are made in Lombardy?

It is renowned for its sparking wines. But also makes still wines.


What is the most famous DOCG of Lombardy?

Franciacorta DOCG. It is the only true rival to champagne in Italy.


What is the still wine DOC for producers of Franciacorta who don’t make sparkling?

Curtefranca (it used to be called Terre di Franciacorta) DOC or Sebino IGT


Who are the two famous men who made Franciacorta famous?

Guido Berlucchi who’s house released the first commercial sparking wines in the 1960s and Maurizio Zanella (Ca’Del Bosco).


What is Ca’Del Bosco’s premium Franciacorta which is held in the same regard as champagne?

Annamaria Clementi


What year did Franciacorta get it’s DOCG?



What are the varietal used for the production of Franciacorta?

Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Noir) and a maximum of Pinot Bianco


What are the aging requirements for Non Vintage Franciacorta?

18 months on lees and can’t be released until 25 months after harvest


What does saten mean on a Franciacorta?

It can only be white grapes and are bottled at less than five atmospheres, lower pressure than the five to six atmospheres required for standards bottlings


Franciacorta Rose?

25% Pinot Noir grapes and is blended instead of saignee


Vintage (millesimato) Franciacorta?

May not be released until after a minimum of 37 months, but many producers age them longer


What is different between vintage Champagne and vintage Franciacorta?

Only 85% of the grapes need to be harvested in the stated year


What is riserva Franciacorta?

It is aged a minimum five years on its lees, with release after 67 months.


What is the other traditional method sparkling wines of Lombardy?

Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG. It is produced in the southern reaches of Lombardy. The wine must contain a minimum of 70% Pinot Nero. The aging regime is shorter than Franciacorta. NV must spend 15 months on lees and vintage wines must spend 2 yrs on lees. The still wines from the region are Oltrepo Pavese DOC.


What is the most important zone for red wines in Lombardy?



What is known as in Valtellina?

Chiavennasca. It is lighter and more angular than Piedmont.


Although Valtellina is the most northernmost outpost in Italy, and despite its alpine location and high altitude, what helps to ripen the Nebbiolo vines?

An abundance of sunshine.


Although Valtellina is a DOC what are the DOCGs within it?

Valtellina Superiore DOCG and Sforzato Di Valtellina


What are the subzones of Valtellina Superiore DOCG?

Valgella, Inferno, Grumello, Sassella and Maroggia


What is interesting about Valtellina Superiore wines?

They are labelled Stagafassli if made in Switzerland and they must be aged for a compulsory 24 months (with 12 months in cask). Reserva wines must be aged for 3 years prior to release.


What style of wines is made in Sforzato Di Valtellina?

Sforzato, which is similar to recioto, these are grapes that are dried prior to fermentation. It is then aged for at least 2 years, is dry in character and has a minimum 14% alcohol.


What is produced in the Moscato Di Scanzo DOCG?

It’s a sweet passito red wine from around the town of Bergamo. It’s produced from the red Moscato grape. They must be aged for a minimum of 2 years and can’t be aged in wood. It’s often in a slender 500ml bottle- like Innisillin icewine.