We happened on this wine at our favorite Italian trattoria in Sarasota – Cafe Epicurean – when we asked for a white wine that would work with a large variety of flavors coming to our table.  The waiter brought us Lugana from San Benedetto (2011), and we loved it.  The price was modest for any restaurant ($28), so we set out to find some for our selves.  We found a few bottles at the Total Wine at $15.
Lugana is not an area we knew – it sits on the border between Lombardy and the Veneto on the south end of Lake Garda, part of the fertile Po Valley plain which is just a stones throw to Northern Italy’s lake country and the glacial foothills of the Alps.  The major grape of this region is Trebbiano – which is not a very well regarded varietal in Italy.  Trebbiano is mostly used to add to other white grapes such as Garganega.  However, when cultivated properly, and when not over-produced, this grape can easily be used to make some exciting wines.
What makes Lugana so special is its food-friendly quality – it worked well with crisp calamari, then somehow matched with a spicy arrabiatta sauce.  One of our guests also had some beef short ribs in a red wine and tomato sauce – the bright acidity from the Lugana was able to match with even this strong flavor.
Others to try:  Ottella (about $25), Alpha Zeta (about $16), and Olivini (about $17).

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