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Have you ever had a taste of Italy’s silkiest and finest white wine? If not, Soave is the wine to try.  Soave wine is probably the most famous and most exported Italian white wine of all time. This light-to-full-bodied unoaked white is made from the Garganega grapes. These wines are grown on ancient volcanic rock-based soils of the Soave region in the Northeast of Italy, in the Veneto area that has existed since the Roman times.

Soave Wine and Garganega Grapes

The Garganega grape variety is one of the oldest in Italy grown on different sub-zones of the Soave region, which is about 20 kilometers east of Verona in the region of Veneto, Italy. Soave Classico and Soave Colli Scaligeri account for 99.5% of production. These makes Italy the biggest wines producer and exporter of Soave wines. 

Soave is pronounced as such-way.” This name is derived from its place of origin-village of Soave, which means “smooth.” It has been produced in many flavor ranges of Citrus Zest, Peach, Sweet Marjoram, Honeydew, and subtle notes of saltiness. This wine is also known to have oil like the richness that adds a little extra punch.

If you are looking for a seductive yet gentle, refreshing, tangy, and substantial wine, Soave meets your description. It has citrusy melon-and-orange-zest flavors with a hint of peach and slightly musky white flowers. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative for winter wines. It is praised for its ability to improve taste and flavor with age. After tasting both freshly produced and aged Soave wines, one can attest to the fact the former has a green bitter almond finish. On the other hand, the aged one is flagrantly rich in weight, flavors, complexity, and texture.

Trebbiano di Soave, which is another grape found in the region, has also been used in the grape blend of these wines.

Production and Styles

The major misconception surrounding Soave wine is that the Italian region is vast and the majority of the grapes grown there are of a considered mediocre quality. That these are aimed at high quantity yields rather than for purposes of quality production. What most people don’t understand is that there are different styles of this wine. These styles depend on the region of production and, ultimately, the depth of flavors in each one of them.

The most important vine in Soave production is the Garganega grape. It is quite versatile and is now grown in other parts of Italy, outside the Soave village, where it was first grown. In recent years, it has been introduced to northern Italy. However, its authentic expression and excellence remain in the Soave region.

In the market, there is a lean kind that is commonly aged in stainless steel tanks. It thus lacks the rich nutty taste. Also, there is the kind that has been aged in old wooden barrels. The latter is full in Vanilla and nutty flavor, a taste that can only be acquired from the oak barrels. The common types of this wine include;

1. Soave Classico

This is an original “Classico” and a complex wine from the Garganega grapes. These are from the hills above the il Castello di Soave, a region known for high-quality wines.

Some of the well-known brands in this category include; Soave Classico Tovo al Pigno 2018-Corte Mainente, Soave DOC Classico “Vigneti di Carbonare” 2016- Inama.

2. Recioto de Soave

This sweet style dessert wine is made from drying Garganega grapes in special racks in lofts of wineries for a short period (about three months). After that, they are squeezed and slowly fermented. This particular brand was the first wine in Veneto to achieve a guaranteed and controlled origin brand. It usually has a honey-like color.

3. Soave Colli Scaligeri

This is a wine made in the Scaligeri hills that are outside the Classico zone of Italy. It is named after the place of production. 

4. Soave

Soave is the most affordable and most straightforward style made from grapes that are predominant in the flatlands of Italy.

5. Soave Spumante

This is the sparkling form of Soave wine.

Food Pairing

Just like other northern Italian white wines, Soave wines have  relatively high acidity level, and for it to be enjoyed, one needs to pair it with food. Soave wines are characterized by a non-invasive personality and great, rich consistency and freshness that makes it a perfect combination for a variety of foods.

Soave Wines are tempered by creamier flavors like creamy pasta and chunky grain dishes, smoky dishes like grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, and shortbread that gives it a lovely depth. The citrusy rich taste in it can be good with mild curries and Italian seafood like squid, gnocchi, clams, scallops, and risotto as well. 

Final Thoughts

Soave wines are an export brand with a larger percentage of its production exported to places outside Italy. Whereas it is identified as a dry wine in some regions, the United States mainly, it is not limited to that. It actually can be crafted to sparkling wine (as Soave Spumante) as well as sweet wine (Recioto de Soave) in its region of production. 

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