Garda DOC

The first time I researched Lake Garda, it was to see if it was possible to wakeboard on what looked to be the perfect conditions. But all is not what it seems when it comes to Lake Garda. Despite what perhaps some of us assume, in the grand scheme of things, Lake Garda is a narrow lake, it’s long, and it’s very deep, a big watery vein in the Earth’s core. It also has a pretty unique current for its size. What’s important about the current of the lake is the way it affects the transfer of oxygen between the water surface and the deepest layers of the lake. Without going into too much detail about something I understand very little of, what you need to know is that it was quite unexpected that there would be this scale of a secondary current and in turn, the Coriolis effect in Lake Garda. It’s not big enough to show this pattern, but it’s acting like it is. For instance, between February and April, when the lake’s water temperature is the lowest, the effect of all these currents moving around causes water to mix all the way to the bottle of the lake, at a depth of 350 metres, amazing right? 

What else do you think of what you think of Lake Garda? Maybe just the stunning scenery, the fact you’re within canoeing distance of some of Italy’s finest food…and, Garda’s very own wine. Garda was awarded DOC status in 1996, it is in the region of Lombardy in Verona. 

Here are some snippets of information to get you clued up on Garda DOC:

  1. The Garda DOC is a predominantly hilly area, surrounding the lake. It extends from Valtènesi to Valpolicella, from the banks of the Mincio River to Verona. Here’s a map so you can visualise how sandwiched it is amongst other great regions: 

2. Garda DOC production allows the use of grapes to make sparkling Italian wine known as ‘Spumante’.

3. These sparkling wines (Spumante) can undergo second fermentation either in bottles (Metodo Classico) or in autoclaves (Charmat method)

4. Garda enjoys a Mediterranean climate and is in a great location to benefit from warm strong winds. Wind helps to keep things dry which means there is less of a risk of disease. The vineyards receive extra light from the reflection of the lake, a bit like when you get sunburnt if you fall asleep on a lilo. Gently sunkissed bunches of grapes ripen in favourable conditions where balmy temperatures allow olive trees, lemons, and capers to thrive.

5. The perfectly ripened fruit from Garda has even inspired poets, in 1786, the famous German writer Wolfgang Goethe stayed in Torbole and Malcesine. He too was particularly captivated by the lemons, writing in his journal: “What I enjoy most of all is the fruit.”

6. Garda DOC covers 31,100 hectares, 3,340 of which are dedicated to Pinot Grigio (11%)

Which brings me perfectly onto my next point, wine tasting! I tried three wines from Garda DOC, including a Pinot Grigio, here are my thoughts:

I was very kindly sent samples of the Pinot Grigio, Spumante and Chardonnay from Garda DOC. The most obvious thing about all of these wines is the perfect freshness on the nose. I don’t know if I’ve ever had my nose in a Pinot Grigio with this beautifully refined pear drop characteristic. Similarly, the Spumante has this almost sweetness to it, but a mineralogy too to balance things out, it actually has notes of banana leaf on the nose, super tropical and one to savour. Finally, the Chardonnay, one of my favourite grapes, has an abundance of tropical fruit but without being cloying, it’s again, supple and fluid and very satisfying on the finish.

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