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It appears that the Dal Ceros have once again outdone themselves as the 2006 Ca dei Frati I Frati Lugana is the finest I Frati Lugana we have ever tasted: it even eclipses the other worldly 2004 I Frati. It is no mean feat to best oneself, especially when one considers the overall quality and consistency we have come to expect from this estate. Certainly, the outstanding 2006 vintage lent its support to this year's effort, but we attribute equally the success of the 2006 I Frati Lugana to the Dal Ceros' penchant for pushing the envelope on quality; this is the rare winery that believes that "the best can always get better." And they have demonstrated just that in the 2006 Ca dei Frati I Frati Lugana. This is a wine that brings all of the beautiful characteristics of Lugana to the fore: breed, elegance, flavor, and a tremendous visual appeal. The 2006 I Frati sports the hallmark hue of Lugana, a pale yellow robe that glows like the luminescent aura of the rising sun. In the nose the I Frati's aromatic profile is redolent with the fresh heady scents of spring, a mélange of flower blossoms, and the first fruits of an awakening land. In the mouth, this satin textured wine caresses the senses and coats the palate with the pure rarified fruit of Lugana, and then explodes with an infusion of mineral and subtle earth. Concentrated and long on the finish, the enthralling 2006 I Frati finishes with true tenderness and panache. We suggest serving this outstanding Lugana around 40° F and as often as you can, if you can find it.
The 2006 Ca dei Frati I Frati Lugana is joy in a glass and a feast for the senses. Moreover, it conjures the romance of the terraced, flower-bedecked balconies and stately villas above Lake Garda, not to mention the charm and allure of nearby Verona – the city that provided the world the lore of love in the guise of Romeo and Juliet. Considering this Lugana's many attributes, we have always felt that food accompaniments with the I Frati are strictly optional. Nonetheless, the 2006 Ca dei Frati I Frati complements a variety of light fare, especially fish and the fruits of the sea. Freshwater fish, including perch and trout, provide excellent choices. From the sea, flounder, fluke, grouper, halibut, and sea bass provide superlative companions, too, to complement one of the world's most charismatic white wines. Canapés, light hors d'oeuvres, stuffed mushroom caps, grilled vegetables, salads, and cheeses offer other outstanding choices. Although full-flavored and ready to stand up to more robust cooking, the glory of this I Frati Lugana remains, in our opinion, its subtle, complex flavors and haunting charm, which shine most evidently in the company of simple, uncomplicated fare. Buon Appetito!
For four generations the Dal Cero family has grown premium grapes and fashioned wines of legendary status from their modest 44-acre estate in northern Italy that lies nestled in the stunningly beautiful hills above Lake Garda. From these sunny shores, Igino, Franco, and Ana Maria Dal Cero run this impeccable azienda agricola. They combine the joys of tradition with the benefits of modern viticulture. Recently, the family has modernized the old cellar and introduced new equipment. They have also developed a new trellis system for their grapes, which has further improved the estate's impeccably tended vineyards. Unfortunately, Ca dei Frati's wines are available only in strictly limited quantities, but the Dal Cero family has consented to selling a small portion of their outstanding Lugana outside of Italy, which allows us to offer a limited number of our club members one of the wine world's most unique and venerable white wines.
And like most Lugana producers who work along the precipitous shores of Lake Garda, Ca dei Frati makes a small amount of charming red wine and a tiny bit of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, too, to complement its more famous offerings of Lugana. Nevertheless, it is the estate's legendary Lugana I Frati, made from low yields of the Lugana grape (the local name for the region's particular clone of Trebbiano), that has bestowed nearly cult status upon this otherwise modest family run winery.
In addition to Ca dei Frati's hallmark Lugana I Frati, the Dal Ceros fashion another outstanding but less traditional Lugana: Brolettino. Unlike the I Frati, the cru Brolettino is aged in small 225 liter oak barrels, which gives it an international style and an almost Burgundian character. It is fully mature upon release, but it will retain its rich intense flavor for many years. Not surprisingly, it, too, is produced in very small quantities.
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