The Dal Cero family has transformed their Cà dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 160 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality and today they remain the best producer in Lugana.
Pale yellow in colour with a concentrated but fresh perfume of white flowers, peaches, spice and candied fruits. This wine has an excellent depth and balance, and a crisp, saline finish.
This is a deep, dark wine showing a rich, fruit-forward bouquet of ripe blueberries, cherries, freshly-made jam, a touch of balsam and some herbal notes, which follow through to the palate. The savoury characters are balanced with rounded tannins and a freshness on the finish, which is typical of the area.
The trio of Turbiana, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc gives to this wine a lively aromatic quality on the nose with aromas of tropical fruit and a great minerality. On the palate, an initial hint of sweetness is followed by a well-balanced blend of fruit and savoury notes, ending with a hint of stony minerality.
This wine is a deep ruby red colour with intense aromas of cherries, chocolate and sweet spices on the nose. As the wine breathes, balsamic notes emerge to reveal aniseed and wild mint aromas. This wine has great body and acidity, remarkable mineral elegance and prominent yet supple tannins. The finish is long and rounded with delicate hints of coffee and sweet tobacco.
This is a golden yellow sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse. The fragrant nose shows notes of biscuit, hazelnut, hay and ripe tobacco. A silky creamy fizziness gives way to fresh acidity with notes of biscuit and hazelnut.
Ca Dei Frati Italian Winery
When it comes to Italian wine, everyone talks about the big names, Barolo, Chianti and the likes. Still, with hundreds of DOCs in the country, there are more than a few exceptional wines to be discovered — one of them is the wine from Lugana, Lugana is a fantastic wine region between Veneto and Lombardy, Northern Italy. Here, extraordinary producers craft memorable wine, and our favourite is, without a doubt, Ca’ Dei Frati.
Here’s all you need to know about this remarkable Italian producer, its philosophy,
terroir and wine repertoire. This is the lesser-known face of Italian wine, and it’s
This historical estate in Lugana was founded in 1939 by Felice Dal Cero, and it’s still a family-owned winery, now run by the third and fourth generations. Cantina dei Frati takes its name from a local convent, where monks cultivated grapes in the Middle Ages, as far back as the 1400s. “The winery of the friars” has undoubtedly put Lugana back on the map. In fact, the Dal Cero family was instrumental in creating the Lugana DOC.
The winery has vineyards on the southern shore of the Lake Garda. It’s the lake which makes the shores ideal for viticulture — its breeze keeps the wines fresh in summer and not too cold in winter. Most vines are planted in the Lugana di Sirmione district and around the tower of San Martino della Battaglia. These are the ideal conditions to grow the local grape Turbiana.
Turbiana is also known as Trebbiano di Lugana, and Verdicchio Bianco; it loves
the region’s calcareous soils and the lake influence. This is the main ingredient in
Ca Dei Frati wines. Other grapes include Marzemino, Sangiovese, Cabernet,
Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Let’s explore Lugana in-depth and uncover its
mysteries. The secret is out; Lugana is a reliable source of fine wine.
Lugana DOC covers just over 600 hectares of vines in the provinces of Brescia and Verona, at the border between Lombardy and Veneto, and on the southern shore of Lake Garda. Lugana comes from the Latin “lacu lucanus”, or the lake in the woods — this was already a premium wine-growing region during the Ancient Roman Era.
The region has always been prized for its viticulture. Monks tended the land in the Middle Ages, and the tradition lives on in wineries like Ca Dei Frati. Tradition and customs are part of Lugana’s terroir.
This is a cold-climate region, but the lake’s influence keeps the temperature in check. The soil is calcareous here, and white soils have always been ideal for growing white grapes — proof of it is the French Champagne and Sherry in Spain. The pale soils give minerality to the wines made with Trebbiano di Lugana, which must comprise at least 90% of any white wine labelled as Lugana DOC.
The DOC rules allow for the production of regular Lugana wine made with
Turbiana, a Riserva wine aged two years, and a sweet Late Harvest. Some local
producers make sparkling wine as well.
Ca Dei Frati produces ten different wines, offering something for every palate, food pairing and occasion. These are some of their most exciting wines. One of the most attractive wines in Ca Dei Frati’s catalogue is its Rosa dei Frati, a pretty-pink wine made with Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera. The winemaking team ages this salmon-hued wine in steel on the fine lees for added textural depth.
I Frati is a beautiful white wine made with the local Turbiana grown in limestone clay soils. This wine is also aged in stainless steel on the lees, and it offers a pure rendition of Lugana’s terroir.
A few red wines complement the winery’s collection. The Ronchedone is made with Marzemino, Sangiovese and Cabernet, and it’s pretty hearty and bold. Fourteen months in oak give the wine alluring brown spice scents. Ca Dei Frati also produces sparkling wines.
The most interesting is their Dosaggio
Zero, a bone-dry sparkler made with Turbiana and Chardonnay, aged two years on
its fine lees and four more months in bottle. This is a celebratory wine, and the
estate’s sparkling rosé is equally charming. Ca Dei Frati has mastered both still
and sparkling wines.
Wine to Try
Ca dei Fratti Brolettino
This 100% Turbiana is a bold white wine from the estate’s finest vineyards on limestone and clay soils. The winemakers vinify the wine in stainless steel and barriques, and malo-lactic fermentation is encouraged. The wine then spends ten months in barriques and three more months in bottle. The result is glorious.
Brolettino offers apple scents with hints of citrus peels, followed by hints of flowers.
The palate is dry and crisp, with a pleasing minerality running through the back
palate, extending long into the refreshing aftertaste. This is, without a doubt, one of
the best wines made in Lugana DOC.
Ca Dei Frati offers wine in all styles, meaning there’s a label for every occasion. Lugana’s famous Turbiana grape produces wines that shine with oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
The estate’s red wines are light and fruit-forward, so they’re best served with roasted poultry and white meat. As for the delightful selection of fizz, Ca Dei Frati’s sparkling wines are lovely aperitifs, but they’ll also shine with seafood.
There’s more. Ca Dei Frati produces a sweet wine, Tre Filer. This golden beauty is
sweet but balanced, and it offers dry fruit and honey scents on the nose and
The Winery at the Lake
Ca Dei Frati is a beautiful winery, not only because they do everything right but also because they’ve put Lugana on the map. Northern Italy has more than a few legendary wine styles, but Lugana is steadily rising in the popularity ranks.
Lugana is a special place on the shores of one of the most gorgeous lakes at the feet of the Alps. It’s only natural the wines made in the area are just as splendid. Ca Dei Frati is a winery to follow, and its wines are worthy of any cellar and wine list.