As a self-described wine nerd, it is very difficult to sum up in a single answer to the question, “What is your favorite wine?” There are wines I love that I rarely get a chance to drink, and there are wines that I drink much more often because they are affordable and just downright good. I tend to lean towards the latter, since affordability is a major factor in my wine enjoyment.
This brings us to my favorite summer wine: Soave. Not to be confused with the jug wine on the bottom shelf. There are some serious wines coming from the Soave Classico region that will definitely impress.
Soave is made up of at least 70% of Garganega (gar-gahh-I dunno). The grapes are mostly grown in the Verona area. The Classico zone was established in 1927 and consisted of the hillside vineyards within the Soave region of Italy. The western part of the Classico zone (nearest the commune of Soave) is made up of a large amount of limestone. This retains the warmth of the afternoon sun and produces fuller, more fruit-forward wines. On the eastern part, near Monteforte d’Alpone, the soil is composed of volcanic rock. This soil composition creates “steelier” wines.
The other 30% of Soave can be made up of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco or Trebbiano di Soave, along with other varieties. However, many of the best Soaves are made up of 100% Garganega, with others containing a small amount (around 5%) of Trebbiano di Soave.
One of my favorites, La Cappuccina Soave ($11.99), is made by the Tessari family. They have been growing grapes organically since 1985, long before it was a trendy thing to do. The grapes are grown on the volcanic side of the region which imparts a firm minerality, releasing the fresh citrus and pear notes. There is enough acidity in the wine to handle a pasta or poultry meal. La Cappuccina also offers a Fontego ($14.99), which contains a small amount of Trebbiano di Soave (5%). This small proportion of Trebbiano gives the wine a boost in aroma and flavor. It also allows for maturing in the bottle, which allows us to enjoy this wine for years to come.
Another newer wine on the shelves at your local ABC features a slight twist in the traditional soave. La Cappuccina Nadia Bianco is made up of 80% Garganega and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc adds even more crispness to the wine, with green apple and quince among aromas of white flowers. This is the perfect wine for Florida summers.
I hope during this hot summer, readers here consider an alternative summer white. Soave is an awesome addition to the wine fridge and, even if unfamiliar, is always a hit when brought to a dinner. Summertime is a wonderful time to change things up and try something different. Soave will definitely be a new favorite for you, like it is mine.
Bill Dahl, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine consultant
Follow me on Twitter! @abcwinebilld