Soave - from invigoration to hedonism. The different faces of Soave wine.
The rise in casual dining has been a saviour for the new generation of high-quality Soave, because diners love wines that they can drink at the bar, and that will also taste great with their meal. Soave has the perfect flavour profile for that: lively and fresh, with friendly acidity, and then with great textural interest.
There is a range of styles resulting from the different terroirs, and also different winemaking philosophies. The Garganega grape in Soave can give a really deep, creamy texture, especially in warm vintages and from volcanic terroirs. And some winemakers work with this textural richness – using skin contact, lees-ageing, or light ageing in barrique – to make very sumptuous, seductive whites that are great in a fine dining context.
The other side of Soave makes us think of “Chablis living la dolce vita”. The limestone terroirs give a fine texture, a delicately herbal, lemony quality, and pristine white fruit. In Verona they serve in May a dish of risotto with the seasonal radicchio, blue cheese and walnuts. A glass of Soave is heaven with that – it has a really useful acidity balance for that type of food because it’s fresh but rounded.
It’s interesting that Trebbiano di Soave is having a bit of a restoration of reputation. It brings freshness and lift to Garganega’s flesh and moody aromatics.
You also have sparkling Soave being made by a few producers – it’s a niche wine but very delicious and quite rich on the mid palate. And then there’s Recioto di Soave, the luscious wine made from air-dried Garganega grapes. It is a great sweet wine – tangy and complex. Recioto is fantastic with almond tart, and almond-based patisserie in general. It’s a sweet wine with a difference, and with useful freshness. Sommeliers seem to have a lot of fun with Recioto pairings, and so can you!