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La Meridiana

Fabio and Roberto Leali

La Meridiana Chiaretto

La Meridiana Chiaretto

About

Owners: Roberto Leali, Fabio Leali, & Katia Amonti
Winemakers: Roberto Leali & Fabio Leali
Vineyards:
12ha, of which about 75% is estate-owned and 25% is rented
Vineyard management: Certified organic since 2021
Soils: In Lugana, mainly clay with some limestone. In Valtenesi, sandy with lots of rocks and some clay.
Grapes grown: Turbiana, Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese, Barbera, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Viognier
Annual production: 60,000 bottles

Quick facts:

  • “Rosato” (rosé) is known as “Chiaretto” in this part of Italy, to emphasize how unique and different it is from rosés made in the rest of the country.
  • The Leali family feels that the local thin-skinned red grape, Groppello, has only begun to be properly appreciated in the last 10 years, as chillable and mineral reds have taken over the big bold “Cabernet Sauvignon” standards.
  • The main threat to the vineyards is hail, which is becoming more frequent due to climate change.

La Meridiana owns vineyards in both the Lugana and Valtenesi areas. Despite the fact that both regions are found around Lake Garda, the conditions are completely distinct. Lugana encompasses the flatter areas south of the lake. The climate is more mild, although the humid conditions make farming more difficult. (La Meridiana is one of only eight certified organic estates in the region.) Here, they produce mainly white wines from Turbiana. The Valtenesi region is situated in the hills to the west of the lake, where the rich soils and slopes are perfect for red grapes. It’s the home of the famous “Chiaretto,” made from the local Groppello grape.

The Leali family has owned vineyards and olive groves in Valtenesi since the early 1900s, and expanded to Lugana in 2013. The winery is still both functioning farm and family home–all of the family members still live above the cellar, as was traditional in northern Italy. Fabio and Roberto grew up in this farming/family environment, so taking over the family project was natural. They’ve since been joined by Fabio’s wife, Katia, and their son, Mattia. La Meridiana wants to make good and easy to drink wines, humble and honest like the family. The respect for the soil, for the local tradition, and the family history is what motivates Fabio, Roberto, and Katia. Most of the work and passion is dedicated to the vines, and they keep the winemaking simple, with no fining, filtration, or added sulfites.