Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soave: The Wine and its Origin

This coming week we'll be reviewing two Soave wines, but before we did, we thought we'd acquaint ourselves with a little more about the wine and its region.

There are three different types of Soave:

• Soave DOC, which includes the sub-zones of Soave Classico and Soave Colli Scaligeri;
• Soave Superiore DOCG (2001) which also includes wines with the "Riserva" designation; and
• Recioto di Soave DOCG (1998) a dessert wine not often found in the US at present.

Soave must be composed of a minimum of 70% Garganega, although many of the Classico wines contain up to 100%. Many winemakers utilize Trebbiano di Soave, typically about 10%, for its enlivening acidity, and although Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco are permitted their use is becoming increasingly rare. Most of the wines are vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks. Some winemakers use wood for ageing, in particular for the Classico wines, but they focus on older oak that merely adds roundness to the wines without being too prominent.

Soave Italy

For centuries, the Garganega grape has produced noble, elegant and harmonious wines that have countless mentions in historical documents and Italian literature. Today Garganega — when it is grown in optimum locations and conditions with low yields and when the grapes are allowed to ripen fully — produces wines with delicate flavors of pear, pineapple, and apricot that become fuller and more luscious with age.

Garganega thrives in Soave, where the terroir yields superb quality white wines. The Soave production zone is situated in the eastern part of the province of Verona in Italy's Veneto region. The Soave zone — characterized by gentle rolling hills — includes parts or all of the areas belonging to the municipalities of Soave, Monteforte d'Alpone, San Martino Buon Albergo, Lavagno, Mezzane, Caldiero, Colognola, Illasi, Cazzano, Roncà, Montecchia and San Giovanni Ilarione. The majority of the vineyards are in the hills including the historic "Classico" zone, which lies between the charming medieval town of Soave and Monteforte d'Alpone, the oldest original zone. Beautiful centuries old castles, churches, bell towers, and aristocratic villas are all part of the rich history and traditions of this area, and indicative of the region's principal product, Soave wines. Eons ago, the Soave area was covered by a tropical sea as evidenced by saline sediments in the soil that are expressed in Soave wine, with its rich mineral quality and distinctive fresh, clean and fruit-forward flavors. The tufaceous volcanic terroir of this area also lends to the development of complex and multi-faceted white wines.

We'd like to thank the Soave Consortium for providing the above information to us and Colangelo & Partners for providing two samples of wine from this region for review.

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