Flavors from the World of Wine,Wine

Refreshing Italian Whites Wines That Just Rock ~ From the Soave Consortium

[Lyla Diaz is in the foreground, with Melanie Hoffman in the background.]

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I was recently asked by Georgia Maloney (representing the Soave Consorzio) if I’d be interested in wines from Italy. My current learning curve is embracing wines from Portugal, in an every continuing arc that continues to spread outward. I thought that it might be interested to also taste what Italy is currently offering. (I don’t see myself having many of these opportunities going into 2010, as I want to stay focused on Portuguese wines, and really develop my palate with them. This is just a year end jaunt down international waters for the sake of learning; comparing and contrasting.

From the Soave Consortium: the fresh white wine of Italy’s Veneto region – has undergone a period of change and revitalization and is poised to become a favorite of American wine drinkers. Today Soave (pronounced SWAH-vay) is among Italy’s best white wines; it’s versatile with a variety of foods and has a fresh, delicate character that emphasizes the aromatic qualities of its main variety, Garganega (gar-GAH-nih-gah). With rigorous new production standards that encompass everything from trellising methods to crop management, Soave is now reaching unprecedented heights of expression.

After tasting the wines, I heartily agree that they’re wines that are aromatic and expressive… very food friendly. After tasting these wines with my tasting panel (Melanie Hoffman, Lyla Diaz, and moi), we were able to take our favorites home to enjoy with our meals… No wine was left behind, all was enjoyed.

These are also great brunch wines, as we head into New Year’s Day.

The following is a list of my recent Italian wines tasted that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

2007 Guerrieri Rizzardi Costeggiola Soave Classico (SRP $15.94 )

This wine was a bit more mineral and acidic than the next two, so if you were to taste all three, the following list is the  most logical tasting order. This Soave has a bright, citrus nose with white cranberry, strawberries, lemon, and presents a touch of petrol. On the palate, we tasted the sweet spice of nutmeg, cranberry compote, Valencia orange, lemon, and grapefruit. It was extremely refreshing, and was a natural first wine to taste. (It was our third wine, but now we know where it fits in a tasting with others.)

2007 Vigna dello Stefano Soave Classico (SRP $11.99) 

This wine has a very interesting nose of melon, floral honeysuckle, Fuji apple, and nectarine. The palate delivered pink pineapple, nectarines, and grapefruit. The finish segued into the realization that this is a very well balanced wine with subtle hints of mineral, herbaceous thyme, and orange zest.

Castello Soave Classico, Cantina del Castello (SRP $19.50)

A bright nose of kiwi, mineral, clover and rosemary, this beautifully soft wine on the palate is a viscous (extra virgin olive oil) wine that fills your mouth with flavors of white peach and white grapefruit, with a touch of petrol. It finishes with the essence of brown sugar and gooseberries.

“The world is starting to embrace this complex yet easy-to-drink, food-friendly white wine,” said Aldo Lorenzoni, director of the Soave Consortium. “Enjoyed and highly regarded for centuries in Italy, we are eager to educate wine drinkers in America about the quality, elegance and romance of Soave wines.” Working in concert with producers, the Consortium is dedicated to ensuring that quality continues to improve and that all the wines under their control strictly adhere to the new guidelines.

Scattered across the hillsides of the Veneto east of Verona, the vineyards of Soave include part or all of the lands in the towns of Soave, Monteforte, San Martino, Lavagno, Mezzane, Caldiero, Colognola ai Colli, Illasi, Cassano, San Bonifacio, Roncà, Montecchia, and San Giovanni Ilarione. With a long viticultural history dating back to the Roman era, the area’s principal variety, Garganega, is referred to frequently in Italian literature. Soave is one of 20 DOC areas in the Veneto, and was one of the first in Italy to achieve this status in 1968.

There are three different types of Soave:

  1. Soave DOC, which includes the sub-zones of Soave Classico and Soave Colli Scaligeri
  2. Soave Superiore DOCG (2001) which also includes wines with the “Riserva” designation
  3. Recioto di Soave DOCG (1998) a dessert wine not often found in the US at present.

Flavors from the world of wine… They’re ours to learn about and enjoy. Cheers!

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6 Responses to “Refreshing Italian Whites Wines That Just Rock ~ From the Soave Consortium”

  1. Ben Simons says:

    Great post. I’ve really been enjoying a lot of Italian reds recently, but I honestly haven’t really tried as many of the Italian whites. I’ll have to give these a try.

  2. Jo says:

    Thanks, Ben. I also just discovered your story that includes Maynard James Keenan. You’ve inspired me to bring back my blog post on Rockers who have segued into the world of wine. There’s a ton of them, and I possibly have created the most comprehensive list… which continues to grow. I’ll have that one back very soon, with Maynard as an addition!

  3. Loweeel says:

    I’ll have to give these a try — my experience with Italian whites (some post-prime soave, vernaccia, and verdicchio) has not been overwhelming.

  4. tom merle says:

    Reading your post, Jo, it’s time to revisit Soave. Many of us have less than favorable recollections. Glad to read that there is a marketing/quality promotion group seeking “change and revitalization”. I’d love to have the Bay Area Wine Society assess some representative wines as the Diaz family did to determine if indeed the new breed have moved beyond the too light and minerally wines of yore. FYI: your link to the Consortium seems to be broken.

    Much peace and joy in 2010 to you and the family.


  5. Jo says:

    Hi, Tom,

    Thanks for the tip off on the broken link. It’s now fixed (I tried it).

    Thanks for your comment. Ready for D&D 2010? Let me know and off we go.

    I can also put you in touch with the right folks for these wines.

  6. Vinogirl says:

    I cut my teeth on Italian whites as a teenager in England. The scarcity of good Italian whites in Napa wine stores is somewhat distressing to me. I can get a Soave by Inama in ‘JV’ on the Silverado Trail…but where is the Frascati? Do I just need to look harder?

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