Although one of Italy’s largest and most populous regions, Lombardia only has two wine styles of particular note: red Valtellina and sparkling Franciacorta. The majority of its wines are produced under lesser-known DOC titles, or under one of the region’s various IGT titles.
Located at the heart of northern Italy, Lombardy is entirely landlocked, bordered by Piedmont to the west, Emilia-Romagna to the south and Veneto to the west. To the north are the mighty Central Alps, and the Swiss region of Ticino. The region is not entirely without the cooling influence of large bodies of water, however: lakes Como, Iseo, Maggiore and Garda dominate its northern half.
A large and geographically complex region, Lombardy is well placed to offer a wide range of wine styles, and is home to five DOCG and 20 DOC titles. The Oltrepo Pavese zone stands out among these as one of the larger, better-known regions, not only for its sparkling Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG, but more recently for its Pinot Grigio, which since 2008 has had its own independent DOC. Franciacorta, the second of Lombardy’s two sparkling DOCG wines, is from the rapidly developing and well-regarded vineyards between Brescia and Lake Iseo.
The remote, alpine Valtellina has two DOCG wines to its name: Valtellina Superiore and the distinctive, dried-grape amarone-style Sforzato di Valtellina, which are based on Chiavennasca, the Lombardian form of Piedmont’s Nebbiolo.
Both Valtellina and Franciacorta have been gaining momentum and recognition in recent years thanks to devoted producers and exceptional quality.