Save Lugana. Please.


TAV is an Italian acronym for “treno ad alta velocità,” or high-speed train. Italy should start construction on a high-speed railway between Turin and Venice, in northern Italy, connecting the cities of Brescia and Verona.

I say “should.” That’s because conditional verbs are always necessary when talking about public works in Italy.

Here’s what’s at risk: the destruction of more than 200 hectares of vines. In one opinion, that number is “only” 80. But in either case, it’s a wide area.

In either case, the vines that are likely to be destroyed are part of an Italian wine appellation called Lugana. It’s a white wine that’s experienced terrific growth in the past decade in production, sales, and pricing.

Lugana extends, in total, over 1,200 hectares. Almost half of those were created in the last ten years. Should 200 hectares be deleted, nearly one-sixth of Lugana’s vines will disappear.

The local winegrowers consortium is trying to propose an alternative route for the railroad. They’ve created a hashtag on Twitter: #savelugana.

Lugana is made from Trebbiano, locally called Trebbiano di Lugana or Turbiana. Its territory is south of Lake Garda, and the soils are rich in clay. Centuries ago, the area was a vast swamp.

When it’s young, Lugana shows typical fruit scents of pear (if the grapes come from the white clay) or apple (if the grapes come from the black clay).

After a few years, petrol flavors emerge, in addition to the fruit.

It’s worth noting that Lugana wines can age very well. In my opinion, the best bottles should be drunk after four of five years.

My favorite Lugana producer is Cà Lojera. The owners are Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi. She seems like a robin. He is a bear.

Try their Lugana Riserva del Lupo. In my opinion, it’s the quintessence of Lugana.

Cà Lojera means “House of the Wolves.” Once upon a time there were wolves here. Now there are vines and a lot of tourists.

They don’t fear for wild beasts, now, in Lugana. They are afraid of a train, because soon a high-speed train could arrive.