In a nutshell: A lively and aromatic Italian white from the shores of Lake Garda.
The lowdown: Ca' dei Frati's flagship 'Pratto' is a luxurious blend of Turbiana (aka Trebbiano di Lugana), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with the first two matured in oak barriques for a year. The Dal Cero family keep very high quality vineyards with low yields to preserve the intensity of the flavours in the grapes. This trio of grapes gives the naturally minerally wine a lively aromatic quality and an elegant mid-palate, finished off with the creaminess of the chardonnay coming through.
When to drink: A wine with great concentration of fruit, well balanced, and a touch of savouriness. Poultry or fish would be go to food choices here.
The Dal Cero family has transformed their Ca' dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Led by Pietro Dal Cero and his wife Santa Rosa 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 140 hectares. Pietro sadly died in 2012, but in the hands of Santa Rosa and the children Igino, Gian Franco and Anna Maria they remain the best producer in Lugana. The increase in the size of the estate has been matched by an increase in quality.
The quality of the wines is attributable directly to Igino Dal Cero's obsession with detail. All their fruit is picked by hand; he ensures there is no skin contact as he wants to retain delicate perfumes and enhance the supple texture. Igino has changed his mind on malolactic fermentation and now inhibits it in order to give the wine the lift he feels it benefits from. He is now convinced that ageing on lees from end of fermentation gives him greater richness on the palate as well as the wonderful flintiness on the nose.