For this wine, we stay in the Tre Venezie, this time with a white. The Soave DOC is tucked away in western Veneto, among the many wine regions in the neighborhood of Verona. It is one of the more common Italian white wines found in the US; along with Gavi and Roero it is one of the most recognized Italian white wines and may even be the most recognized of the bunch (not counting Pinot Grigio, which of course is a grape, not a wine, but has become synonymous with Italian white wine). Soave wines are often listed as Soave Classico, a sub-region of Soave which indicates the grapes were grown on the slopes above the towns of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone which are considered the “classic” Soave areas. This distinction is the same as that made between Chianti and Chianti Classico, though unlike Chianti, Soave and Soave Classico are technically not two separate regions at this point – both fall under the Soave DOC. However, there is a second Soave region, the Soave Superiore DOCG, which differs from the Soave DOC slightly in region, allowable grapes, and required aging time. Confusion is understandable (if not expected).
Wines produced in the Soave DOC are made primarily from the Garganega grape, which must make up at least 70% of the blend. The rest is typically composed of Chardonnay or/and Trebbiano di Soave (which is sometimes called Verdicchio, and is often confused with Trebbiano Toscano, a grape that typically produces blander wines). The name should be an indication of it’s reputation (soave is suave in Italian); it is known for being light, fresh, and smooth. It’s reputation has wavered a bit over the years for the same reason as Chianti (which is sometimes described as Soave’s red-wine counterpart) – large amounts of cheap, bland Soave has reached the US during the last few decades and, at times, saturated the market. However, good Soave can certainly be found, and Soave Classico is a good place to look.
This wine is a Soave Classico from Prà. It has a very light, pale yellow coloring. The nose is very fresh, giving off aromas of cut flowers and citrus, reminiscent of a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The body is dry and has a lot of life, making it seem a bit spumante. It has very nice acidity and is crisp and refreshing. There are flavors of green apple, pear, and grapefruit on the palate, along with a hint of some floral notes. It has a nice finish, clean and refreshing with lingering grapefruit notes.