Soave, along with Pinot Grigio , is one of the 2 most famous white wines from Italy, and similarly to Pinot Grigio, produces some delicious and some absolutely dreadful wines. It is responsible for over 30% of the total production of the Veneto, and is responsible for scaling the heights of gloriously elegant Soave Classico, to plumbing the depths of fruitless, acidic, cheap white, which has also flooded the market.
What Is Soave
Soave, along with Valpolicella is one of the two most famous names to come out of the Veneto. Before the rapid rise in fame of Pinot Grigio, it was by far the best known and highly produced white wine in Italy, but is almost better known for its high volume and low price, than the high quality end of the scale that it can reach.
The vineyards cover an area lying between Verona and Vicenza, which has broadened by over 3 times over the years, with the result that only the original area designated for Soave, can produce Soave Classico. Much of the production is made by local co-operatives, and quality can vary widely, therefore selection , from a reputable producer is important, although general quality has improved in recent years.
The Soave Classico region produces richer, more complex wines, and its laws are tightly governed. Within this region, is also produced Recioto di Soave.
The Style of Soave
Because of the proliferation of cheap, at best innocuous, at worst, fruitless dry white in the latter decade of the 20th century, Soave has developed a reputation for cheap, uninteresting plonk. However, with a bit of careful selection, there are some terrific Soaves on the market, from entry level to the more premium.
Soave – a dry, crisp white, with a characteristic aroma and flavour of baked apples and almonds, a hint of marzipan and a lemony tang. Soave Superiore is from a smaller region, which has been classified with the highest appellation DOCG.
Soave Classico – this is where Soave really comes into its own, especially when made by some of the best, and careful producers in the region. Elegant, smooth, rounded dry whites, with a richness of flavour and texture – warm, yet intriguing.
Recioto di Soave – a sweet wine, made from grapes that have been dried in the sun, and then crushed, once the grapes have shrivelled and the sweet juice of the grape concentrated to just a few drops. Intensely rich and sweet, these wines have a supreme elegance and structure, with the powerful caramelised and honeyed sweetness of the almondy fruit offset by a lively fresh citrus tang. Unusual and intriguing.
Soave Grapes & Food Matching
All Soave is produced from a minimum 70% Garganega grape, and up to 30% of Chardonnay and Trebbiano.
Lighter styles of Soave are great with seafood pasta, grilled fish, mezze dishes, and also lively prawn or tuna salads.
Soave Classico is a more serious wine, with lots of depth, and far more complexity. With some delicious nutty character, it works very well with richer fish dishes, herby chicken, and creamy seafood.
Recioto di Soave – liquid gold, divinely rich; try with poached peaches and cream, almond cake, apple and almond tart and all manner of other desserts. Also great with Italian blue cheese.