The local Groppello grape stars in this delightful, quaffable red from the shores of Lake Garda. Beyond being a lot of fun to say, Groppello offers a light-bodied frame and energetic, bright fruit flavors that provide the elemental pleasure we seek in wine. Giacomo Tincani, the current winemaker at La Basia, concisely summarizes this Groppello-based blend as “Mediterranean flavors on a mountain structure.” Notes of wild herbs and shrubbery mingle with fresh, ripe, dark fruits over soft and cozy tannins, lifted by a bright acidity. A bargain everyday quaffer from an unheralded region, this wine is also exceptionally versatile at table. At the estate, it was served alongside fettuccine tossed with fragrant porcini mushrooms and a sprinkle of chopped parsley, but this is truly a vino da tutto pasto: a red you can pop open for whatever reason you damn want. –Anthony Lynch
La Basia was founded by the late Elena Parona, an agronomist who transformed the humble country estate into a vibrant farm producing many other artisanal products in addition to wines made from indigenous grapes. Elena’s son Giacomo, who now runs the winemaking operation, is equally passionate about preserving local traditions and continues to bottle hand-crafted wines from the western shores of Lake Garda. These straightforward, pleasure-filled wines are a testament to the potential of this unheralded region as well as to Giacomo’s passion for the family farm.
Italy’s most populous region and the home of its most influential wine critic, the late Luigi Veronelli of Milan, Lombardia holds its share of enological secrets. Dominated by the vast expanses of the Po Valley, the region encompasses Alpine peaks in the north, along the Swiss border, as well as Apennine foothills in its southwest where viticulture plays a major role.
The metodo classico sparklers of Franciacorta, plus Oltrepò Pavese’s still and sparkling wines, enjoy the most renown, yet Lombardia’s richness of different soils and microclimates mean there is much more for the curious palate. The Alpine Nebbiolos of Valtellina are certainly of note, while the region’s picturesque lakes (Maggiore, Como, and Garda, to name a few) provide a moderating effect on climate favorable to high-quality wine production.
The southern shores of Lake Garda in particular boast a number of interesting wine zones. Indigenous grapes like Groppello and Marzemino thrive in these soils of glacial deposit, creating unique reds (plus the ubiquitous Chiaretto rosé) from the Garda and Valtènesi DOCs. The wines of our first and only Lombardia producer, La Basia, are delicious representations of this middle ground between plains and mountains, and perfectly complement the region’s famous cheeses and other local specialties.