Soave wines are known for their fresh, delicate character that emphasizes the aromatic qualities of its main varietal, Garganega. Most of the blends also include 30 percent or less of Trebbiano di Soave, and fermentation in stainless steel brings out the lively acidity and fresh fruit notes.
There are four types of Soave:
- Soave DOC — Designed to be consumed within a year or two of the vintage. Offers a clean fragrance, appealing freshness and delicacy, and good value for the money.
- Soave Classico DOC — This is a more ambitious white wine, with a firm structure intended to provide excellent aging potential. In good vintages, the top producers craft Soave that can age and evolve positively for up to a decade. Its floral and fruity quality is often complemented by a slight mineral note, and renditions fermented and/or aged in wood develop a creamy undertone.
- Soave Superiore DOCG — Its production zone is limited to the hillside sites noted in the regulations for the production of Rocioto di Soave DOCG. There also are relatively new regulations for new plantings regarding trellising systems and density of the vines, as well as yields. These wines may be released no earlier than Sept. 1 of the year following the harvest, and must be bottle aged for at least three months prior to release. Wines aged a minimum of two years may be labeled “Riserva.”
- Recioto di Soave DOCG — This is a sweet version of Soave, similar to “late harvest” or “dessert” wines made in the United States.
Recioto di Soave pairs beautifully with fruit-based dishes, while Soave makers recommend their dry versions of the variety with pasta and vegetables, salumi and cured meats such as sopressa from Verona, roasted or grilled white meats such as chicken and pork, grilled white fish such as halibut and arctic char, shellfish such as scallops and shrimp, fresh salads, and mild hard and semi-soft cheeses.
Soave is a wine region… and a wine… worth exploring. Even so, Italy remains best known for its red wines. Especially at this time of the year, when frigid temperatures become the norm, nothing beats a bottle of red Italian wine served with a heaping plate of pasta smothered in a rich meat sauce.
Check out this Vinesse collection, featuring three delicious red wines from Italy.