Lombardy is a large region located in the middle of Northern Italy. With its 10 million people (one-sixth of Italy's population) and about one-fifth of Italy's GDP, it is the most populous and richest region in the country, as well as one of the richest in
Europe. Despite being mainly associated with fashion business and trade, wine production in Lombardy plays quite an important role, too. On the other hand, with its 26,951 hectares of vineyards producing 1.6 million hectolitres of wine per year, the region is not able to achieve the same number of high-quality wines as, for example, Tuscany or Piedmont.
The most important wine-making areas in Lombardy are Valtellina, Oltrepò Pavese, San Colombano al Lambro, Valcalepio, Franciacorta and Riviera del Garda. In the Valtellina area, each vineyard is located on steep slopes leveled by man and skirted by stone walls, the so-called "terragne". These artificial terraces reach up to 1000 m altitude and require a lot of hard work in maintenance and processing of the vineyard. This heroic land produces DOCG Valtellina Superiore and DOCG Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfursat di Valtellina, both from the Nebbiolo grape variety, locally called "chiavennasca".
The Oltrepò Pavese (where Oltrepò means “beyond the Pò” river and Pavese stands for “Pavia area”) is a hilly territory enjoying a favourable micro-climate and producing nearly 70% of all Lombardy wine. The Spumante Classico, a white sparkling wine made with the Pinot Noir grape, is among the Oltrepò wines worth mentioning. Other grape varieties cultivated in this area are Moscato, Croatina, Uva Rara, Ughetta, Riesling, Malvasia, Cremant, Rosé and, above all, Barbera. The San Colombano al Lambro area, at 40 km distance from Milan, lays on gentle hills rising 70m above the plain. Clayey soil rich in calcium carbonate, iodine and iron favours red grape varieties such as Croatina, Barbera and Uva Rara. The Valcalepio wine-making area, North of Bergamo and up to the shores of Lake Iseo, has clayey-calcareous terrains with good exposure and thermal excursions.
Further west, where mainly clayey soils are found, the wines are more colorful and structured. The remaining areas give ready-to-drink wines. The Scanzo Muscat DOC is worth mentioning as a sweet and structured dessert wine. The origins of the Franciacorta name is not known with certainty. Varieties as Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio cultivated in this area produce excellent elegant and refined white sparkling wines. Red wines made with varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet are of lower quality.
The Riviera del Garda is the largest viticultural zone in Lombardy, where different vines are cultivated, including Groppello, Sangiovese, Barbera and Marzemino. This area produces six high quality DOC-recognized wines. The Lombardy production is characterized by a great variety of high quality wines and boasts 5 DOCG, 21 DOC and 15 IGT wines (where DOCG stands for Denomination of Controlled Origin Guaranteed, DOC means Denomination of Controlled Origin and IGT is short for Typical Geographical Indication).
Typical Red Wines
Valtellina Superiore, Sforzato (or Sfursat) di Valtellina, Moscato di Scanzo, Bonarda dell'Oltrepò Pavese, Botticino, Buttafuoco, Capriano del Colle Rosso, Colli Morenici Mantovani del Garda Rosso, Cellatica Superiore, Garda Barbera, Oltrepò Pavese Barbera, Oltrepò Pavese Moscato Liquoroso (dolce/secco), Oltrepò Pavese Sangue di Giuda, Garda Bresciano Rosso, Valcalepio Rosso, Valtenesi Rosso, etc.
Typical White Wines
Franciacorta (spumante), Franciacorta Millesimato, Franciacorta Riserva, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico Bianco, Capriano del Colle Trebbiano, Colli Morenici Mantovani del Garda Bianco, Garda Garganega, Garda Pinot Bianco (spumante), Garda Riesling Italico, Lugana, Lugana Spumante, San Martino della Battaglia, several Oltrepò Pavese types, Curtefranca Bianco, Valcalepio Bianco, Bianco di Lierna, Sabbioneta Bianco, Terre Lariane, etc.
Typical Rosé Wines
Franciacorta Rosé, Oltrepò Pavese Rosato, Colli Morenici Mantovani del Garda Rosato, Garda Rosé, Garda Bresciano Spumante Rosé.