Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Soave - An Amazing Italian White Wine

Virtual wine tasting events are no stranger to me, especially in the era of COVID-19.  Get the box, open the box, log on and taste from home.  No social distancing to strain the process, no mask needed.  I was pleased to be invited to take part in a Zoom gathering recently along with two dozen other wine writers.  

Most of the wines in the virtual events have achieved the Tre Bicchieri - three glasses - status of Gambero Rosso International, the wine guide’s highest accolade.  The interactive event was hosted by Lorenzo Ruggeri, the wine guide's international editor, with comments along the two-hour journey from each winery’s representative.  Ruggeri spoke at sunset in Rome, which was mid-morning in Los Angeles.

I Campi Soave Classico Campo Vulcano 2018

This wine shows off its volcanic origins in its name, its aromas and its flavor.  Flavio Prà says his winery's name - I Campi - means "the fields," and is a nod toward how important the land is to winemaking.  He says his job is to "put the right wines in the right soil."  His first vintage of Soave Classico was 2006, and it is still one of his more popular wines.

This Soave was made from 85% Garganega grapes and 15% Trebbiano di Soave, grown in the hills of Monteforte d'Alpone.  Alcohol is a restrained 12.5% abv and it generally sells for around $18.

The wine has a yellow-gold glow in the glass and a mineral-laden nose, with zesty lemon, lime and orange aromas in addition to the smell of wet rocks, a nutty element and a faint florality.  The palate follows suit, with salinity being the watchword.  The finish is lengthy and dominated by a nutty apricot feel.  Pair it with shellfish, other seafood or a mushroom risotto.

Leonildo Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino

Leonildo Pieropan founded the winery which bears his name in the late 1800s, although the land is watched over by a medieval fortress.  It is now run by his great-grandsons, Andrea (grower) and Dario (winemaker).  Calvarino is a hillside vineyard from which the grapes came - 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave.  It was the first single-vineyard Soave Classico to be produced.

This wine was fermented and aged in cement, not steel tanks.  Andrea says the cement allows for more purity in the fruit.  The leader of an online discussion about this wine said it is like "a person speaking in a low voice, with a lot of stories to tell."  Alcohol sits at 12.5% abv and the average price is $29.

This Soave Classico has quite a yellow-gold color in the glass.  The nose has aromas of apricot, Meyer lemon and minerals, but with an overriding earthiness to it.  The palate delivers great minerality, apricot and lemon zest in the full mouthfeel.  Acidity zings and leaves its calling card on the lengthy finish.

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