The Soave 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, Calidero, Colognola, Illasi, Cazzano, Ronca, 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. Centuries-old castles, churches, bell towers and aristocratic villas are all part of the rich history and traditions of the 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 volcanic terroir of the area also lends to the development of complex and multi-faceted white wines.
There are three different types of Soave:
• Soave DOC, which includes the sub-zones of Soave Classico and Soave Colli Scaligeri.
• Soave Superiore DOCG, which also includes wines with the “Riserva” designation.
• Recioto di Soave DOCG, a dessert wine not often found in the United States.
There are about 16,000 acres under vine in Soave, extending from the southern slopes of the Lessini Mountains on the southern margin of the Italian Alps to the alluvial plain below. The climate is influenced by the Mediterranean’s warm temperatures, but has less humidity than surrounding coastal areas due to its elevation.
In the western part of Soave, the soils are calcareous, while in the eastern part, known as the Alpone Valley, soils are composed of volcanic basalt. The former generally enhances the delicate, floral qualities of Soave, while the latter lends itself to fuller, spicier wines.
Tomorrow: Travels along the “Soave Route.”