Lombardy (Lombardia) is an area full of contrasts. The snow-capped peaks of the Alps merge southward into the expanse of the Po Valley, and the industrial activity around the major cities, with Milan at its center, contrasts with the small hamlets overlooking the large lakes such as Lago di Como, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Garda and the smaller Lago d'Iseo. It is precisely these lakes that offer an excellent micro-climate for wine growing. The varying alpine climate (cold winters and warm summers) is tempered by the presence of the water. Regional wines have long had to compete for recognition within their own region.
The Lombardians preferred the great wines from other famous wine regions (Tuscany and Piedmont) over local production. This has changed in recent years. Not least because of rigorous improvements in local wine production, which led to the award of 2 DOCGs to sparkling wines from Franciacorta and red wines from Valtellina. In addition, the region currently has 12 DOCs and as many IGTs. The total vineyard area covers 27,000 hectares. One of the DOC areas in the southernmost tip of Lombardy, the Oltrepò Pavese is the most productive of all. Much of the red and white wine produced here disappears in bulk to other regions. Only a small part of the wine produced is sold as DOC and often also at low prices. Not rightly, because there are really some very good wines made, not only from the Pinot Nero but also solid wines from the Barbera and Bonarda and fruity wines from the Riesling and the Moscato. In addition, the Oltrepò is the largest producer of Pinot Nero grapes in Italy, but unfortunately most of it is still sold to other regions to produce Spumante. This is slowly starting to change. Valtellina is located in the north of the region.
The DOCG is assigned to the red wines of the Nebbiolo, here called 'Chiavennasca', which are produced in the Valtellina Superiore and its four sub-zones: Sassella, Inferno, Grumello and Valgella. The vineyards are located on terraces against the steep mountain walls, making optimal use of sunlight and wind. The grapes are harvested manually and brought down in traditional shoulder baskets, the so-called 'gerle'. The red wines of the Valtellina Superiore are dry, slightly tannic, but generally velvety. The wines are very suitable as companion of various meat dishes, rabbit and various matured cheeses. Also in Valtellina, a beautiful sweet wine is made from dried Nebbiolo grapes, the Sfùrsat. In the area of Franciacorta, between Brescia and Bergamo near Lago d'Iseo, the traditional Spumante is produced, which has now obtained DOCG status. The wine is made from Pinot nero and / or Pinot bianco and / or Chardonnay and is excellent as an aperitif but also goes well with various risottos, oysters and parmesan.
Under the DOC Terre di Franciacorta, good red wines from the Cabernet, the Barbera and the Nebbiolo are made and pleasant white wines from the Pinot Bianco and the Chardonnay. Beautiful red wines from the Brescia area are the Capriano del Colle, on which the Sangiovese grape forms the basis, and the Cellatica, including the Barbera grape, from the province of Brescia. South of Lake Garda, finally, lies the Lugana where very delicate, fresh and harmonious white wines from the Trebbiano come from.