The Name Says It All: Soave Classico #ItalianFWT

Who Wouldn’t Like Suave and Classic?
Charming, confident, elegant, classic. Great descriptors and wouldn’t you love to drink a wine you thought of that way? Unfortunately, Soave, a white wine from the Veneto region in northern Italy had its’ roller coaster ride to the top of Italian wines in America in the 1970’s. And, of course, the same roller coaster ride down.  Just like so many Pinot Grigio’s today, Soave was popular and many rushed in to fill the need. Unfortunately profit won out over quality and the wine suffered. So much Soave was simply cold, refreshing and inoffensive.  Also, unfortunately easily forgotten. But it needn’t be that way!

A Bit About Soave
Soave is a wine region located in the Northeast of Italy, in the Veneto. The Soave region is close to the city of Verona.  The region is perhaps most famous for Valpolicella wines, especially Amarone della Valpolicella. For Soave, Garganega is the main grape and the wine must be at least 70% Garganega, the remainder can be supplemented with other white grapes.

When you look for a Soave wine, you can find Soave, Soave Superiore, Soave Classico and Soave Classico Superiore.  All these designations actually have a meaning! “Classico” in an Italian wine name is usually the original zone where the grapes were grown. In Soave, this is hillside locations, often on volcanic based soil. When a wine gets popular, the zone is expanded but it loses the “classico” label. Superiore refers to a higher standard of ripeness in the grapes and other restrictions to produce a more intense wine.  For the Soave region, not everyone feels these are the best restrictions for Soave, so I suggest you look for Soave Classico.  Classic and Suave!

There are several Soave wine designated zones. For your first Soave, try to find a Soave Classico.  (graphic courtesy of: Casa del Vino – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40198527)

What to Expect and Soave Classico to Search Out
Soave Classico ranks very high on my list of Italian white wines.  Looking back over my previous notes, I see recurring themes of fresh mid-weight white wines with little or no oak influence. I get aromas and flavors of ripe pears. Flavors usually include a touch of bitterness in the finish (think almonds), which is a good thing! The Italian palate appreciates a touch of bitterness, so the wine reflects that taste.

Some Soave Classico producers have never given up the search for high quality wines.  These producers are widely available and you can be assured of a representative sample. Count on Soave Classico and these wines to be winners.

Pieropan has been producing wine in the Veneto since 1880. They have a number of Soave Classico vineyards and produce both a basic Soave Classico and single vineyard wines. In a previous post, I tasted a Pieropan Soave Classico alongside an Inama with a fun bitter flavor pairing here.

Inama – I’ve enjoyed Inama Soave Classico wines and posted on several occasions. I had fun reviewing my old tasting notes and they matched up well with my current experience! Here’s a tasting with bitter radicchio and Soave Classico & here’s a tasting of the single vineyard Vigneti di Foscarino

Here’s a lesser known winery –Azienda Agricola Nardello . Again, pears with a touch of bitterness are hallmarks of good Soave Classico. My post is here

Inama Soave Classico with crabcakes

Soave Classico will pair nicely with any kind of seafood dish. It’s perfect all summer long

Inama Vin Soave Soave Classico DOC 2016 ($17 at France 44, or online here)
Eye: Clear, pale lemon yellow
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity vibrant fresh Bartlett pear. White flowers and tarragon in the background
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavor, medium body, medium alcohol. Lively medium acidity but well balanced by the moderately rich texture. Pears and lemon notes in the flavor with floral hints. Fruit flavors linger in a medium+ finish. Just a hint of a bitter note of almond in the finish. A real favorite among Italian white wines for me.

Crabcakes with Farro salad and fresh asparagus

Farmers markets are open in Minnesota now, so we pack as many fresh local veggies on the plate as possible. Crab cakes, however, are delicious but not local!

Crabcakes – What’s Your Favorite Recipe?
I love crabcakes but I’ve never made them for myself. Now I’ve started a search for what will be my favorite recipe. Not “the best” but my favorite.  In my first attempt, I went with Andrew Zimmern’s favorite, here. On day one, we followed Andrew’s instructions closely.  Since we were only two for dinner, we decided to save the mixed up crab and try a slight variation on day two, with an egg wash and quick dip in crushed bread crumbs before hitting the cast iron skillet. Both were very nice, I confess I liked the crustiness of the bread crumb version a bit better. Even though Andrew would not approve! What’s your favorite?

Italian Food Wine & Travel Writers Share Soave Treasures
Our group of Italian wine enthusiasts will bring you lots of great ideas for your next or first bottle of Soave. If you see this post soon enough, please join our chat on Twitter on Saturday, June 2nd at 10am CDT. Just look for the tag #ItalianFWT and you’ll find us!

Soave Classico & Crabcakes at www.foodwineclick.com

 

Comments
12 Responses to “The Name Says It All: Soave Classico #ItalianFWT”
  1. Jeff, you’re right. Soave can be unforgettable or not…. I was in Soave earlier this month and my new favorite winery is Mainente. It’s family owned and run and they were just… unforgettable! A super friendly, down-to-earth family. We tasted six wines, plus a sparkling! I LOVED the sparkling! So unexpected! 100% Garganega, fresh, crisp, and delicious! My suggestion is that if you want to try something from this region, just keep trying. You never know what you’re going to get. Just keep tasting! 🙂

    • Thanks Karin! Good Soave rates very high in my favorite Italian whites, I’ll always try more. I’m looking forward to a future (not yet scheduled) trip to the Veneto.

  2. I visited Pieropan last year and was really impressed with their wines.

  3. Lynn says:

    Really enjoy Pieropan and Inama Soave, the later has been a favorite for years. I get the sometimes bitter (almond) finish. On to the crab cakes- fabulous pictures Jeff! I can imagine the taste comb. I do have a favorite way to make them but haven’t written it down. Perhaps it’s time 😉

  4. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    OMG I loved watching that old commercial! Wonderful addition. And I agree with you across the board–in addition to having used the same wine–Soave is on of my go-to’s for its versatility!

  5. I have some Inama wines coming with 2 of them being soave. I haven’t had it in awhile so I’m looking forward to it. Such a great suggestion with the crab cakes.

  6. Li Valentine says:

    Jeff, those crabcakes look like they’re to die for! I’m sure they were amazing with Inama Soave. I have yet to try that one, but its on my list.

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