One of the greatest gifts that this blog has given to me is that it’s opening up the world.

Having a Portuguese client come into my life is the best and single most important life changing experience along my wine career’s path. Enoforum Wines of the Alentejo region of Portugal has not only opened my eyes to fabulous flavors and values coming from Europe, but it’s also enriched my life by allowing me to travel abroad. Prior to that, my international travels included the tropical islands of Puerto Rico and Barbados. These were also great cultural experiences, but they didn’t involve visiting ancient wine regions. Portugal dates back to the Romans invading their land and bringing grape vines with them in the early BC days.

And so, I’m going to stay in Europe with this wine posting. I’ve been very lucky to have wine companies from the Soave region of Italy contacting me, wanting to know if I would like to sample their wines. I know very little of Italy, but what I do know I’m learning from these companies. They, too, are enriching my life experiences.

My latest learnings comes from the two wines listed below.

  1. 2009 Soave Re Midas, Cantina di Soave 1898
  2. 2009 Castello Soave Classico DOC

2009 Soave Re Midas, Cantina di Soave 1898

The 2009 Soave Re Midas is a golden straw colored, white wine. It’s beautifully dry, has characteristic aromas of apricot and nectarine on the nose; followed by melon, peach, slight flavors of filbert nuts and nectarine on the palate. The finish is as lovely as crisp autumn air after a string of Indian summer days. It’s just that great. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and found myself wondering why I had stayed as long as I did at the Chardonnay party, before finally breaking far away from the madding crowd.

This blog has had a lot to do with my breaking away, and this variety is really worth checking out. It will certainly satisfy the explorer inside of you. The 2009 Soave Re Midas won’t disappoint, as you enjoy your new adventures.

Re Midas comes from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy. Their winemaking history dates back to 1898. The myth that we all know about King Midas… everything he touches turns to gold… holds true for Re (Italian for king) Midas.

The white grape variety associated with the Soave wine region is Garganega (Gar-gah-nay-gah). The best of the best Soaves are said to be 100 percent of the variety. This wine is one of those classic examples. The vines from this region are grown along a hillside in the village of Soave. The vines are cultivated in volcanic soil that ranges in elevation from 300 to 1,600 feet. Traditionally harvested between mid-September to mid-October, the grapes experience a soft pressing, and are naturally decanted, which means that no machinery is used. This explains for me why the fruit is so expressive.

This is also a lot of wine for the money ~ SRP $9.99.

[This image is borrowed from the Cantina del Castello Website, and is of winemaker Arturo Stocchetti, as he walks through the vineyards.]

2009 Castello Soave Classico DOC

The 2009 Cantina del Castello Soave Classico DOC is a fairly small production of about 83 cases of wine. This wine is 90 percent Garganega and 10 percent Trebbiano di Soave. Trebbiano di Soave is supposed to be the second most widely planted grape in the world (who knew?), and is known for its high acidity.

When I opened this bottle of wine, I found myself really wanting to smell the cork. This honestly has been a first for me. Usually I want to get the cork out of the bottle neck and pour the wine right into a glass. My sense of sight has always taken over. Yesterday was different, though. I wanted to smell the wine from Soave that had been touching this cork until I opened the bottle.

It was so welcoming and earthy. A nice beginning. The wine poured is a gorgeous golden straw, like the hills of California in July and August… bright, sunny and clear… The nose of this wine gave me terroir, the dry volcanic rock that the vines and fruit grows in… acidic as the rock is, the fruit takes on minerality and bright, clean aromas. The palate was rich and tasty. The perfect balance of the fruits citrus and lush melon flavors are very appealing. A bit of toasted nuts are on the finish, as it lingered long enough for me to write this from first sip, and savor its flavors the whole while.

The suggest retail for  this wine is in the $15-$18 range. It’s worth every penny. This wine process that although I wrote above, “The best of the best Soaves are said to be 100 percent of the variety,” is one instance when the blend is mightier than the sum of its parts. This one would be a really lovely dinner party wine. I image it with a creamy, fresh oregano, asparagus soup, or light cheeses with crackers. black olives, exotic olive oils and caramelized pecans.

[Thanks to The Wines of Soave for this map.]

The Soave Wine Production Area

(Information to follow is slightly edited from marketing materials sent to me for these wines.)

The Soave region is situated in the eastern part of the province of Verona (this map). The area is characterized by gently rolling hills, and includes the towns of Soave, Monteforte d’Alpone, San Martino Buon Albergo, Lavagno, Mezzane, Caldiero, Colognola, Illasi, Cazzano, Roncà, Montecchia, and San Giovanni Ilarione. The majority of the vineyards are in the hills, which includes the historic Classico zone. This area lies between the charming medieval town of Soave and Motne d’Alpone, the oldest, original zone.

If you visit you will see beautiful centuries old castles, churches, bell towers, and aristocratic villas. These are all part of the rich history and traditions of this area, and showcase the region’s principal product… Soave wines.

Eons ago, the Soave area was covered by a tropical sea. This is evident in soil’s saline sediments, and are expressed in Soave’s wines, with their rich mineral quality and distinctively fresh, clean fruit flavors. The tuffaceous* volcanic terroir also lends itself to the development of complex and multifaceted white wines.

[tuffaceous = developing on rocks composed solely or primarily of volcanic materials]

This region is about 30 miles long and passes through 13 wineries. The road showcases historic landmarks and cultural attractions, so bring your cameras. You’ll find restaurants for fine dining, museums for the history buffs, and the landscape is resplendent with beautiful landscapes of the Verona hills, as well as olive and cherry trees. Get ready for artisan foods: Monte Veronese cheese, Vialone Nano rice, and Veronese Radicchio, and San Mauro chestnuts. Doesn’t this all sound like the trip of a lifetime?

For now, if you can’t get there, have a glass of Soave Re Midas, Cantina di Soave or Castello Soave Classico DOC, and toast to your future vacation!

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