The cool, typically crisp, slightly fruity and balanced, surprisingly fuller flavored than anticipated Soaves, often with welcome minerality, paired extremely well with the very warm Italian summer and the Italian version of air conditioning. Thanks to its evident acidity, these are very capable and versatile food wines, as Suckling wrote, more so we found with lighter fare. We drank quality versions readily, as an aperitif, with the pasta course and even at the end of the evening.
Soave does not feature a well-known varietal. It is made with a minimum of 70% Garganega and a maximum 30% Trebbiano di Soave, which is Verdicchio in the Marche region, and possibly also up to 5% of Chardonnay. Pronounced gar-GAHN-eh-guh, Garganega came to the Veneto, where it is almost solely grown, centuries ago from Sicily where its antecedent is known as Grecanico.
The Soaves we quite enjoyed there were: Ca’ Rugate Soave Classico 2021 San Michele; I Campi Soave Classico Campo Vulcano 2020; Le Battistelle Soave Classico 2021; Pra Otto Soave 2021; and three different expressions from Pieropan. I was hooked, but it can take some effort to find these are similar quality Soave here. There are seven Soaves at the closest Total Wine to me, including the terrific, mineral-laden Calvarino that regularly garners a prestigious Tre Bicchieri rating from Gambero Rosso and the richer, La Rocca that is aged for fifteen months in fairly large barrels then in 500-liter tonneaux, both that I really enjoyed both at the winery and afterwards. The big Spec’s on Smith Street has only five, but the base bottling from Pieropan, the Soave Classico, which is still quite nice. Be sure to check the vintage dates at Spec’s, which can’t really be trusted, especially for its Italian white wines. From Houston for Soave, it might be easier to order from out of town.
At the new Pieropan winery in June in Soave.