What is Soave Wine?
Soave (“swah-vay”) is an Italian white wine made of Garganega (“gar-GAN-nehgah”) grapes grown around the medieval village of Soave in Northern Italy. Soave wine is known for its melon-and-orange-zest flavors as well as its ability to improve with age. As good as Soave has become in recent years, the region is still very undervalued. You can pick up a stupendous bottle of Soave wine for under $13!
How it Tastes
The most common flavors of Soave wine are Peach, Honeydew, Citrus Zest, Sweet Marjoram, and a subtle note of saltiness. Soave is a dry, light-bodied wine, much like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, but it often with a smooth oily like richness that adds a little extra punch. Cheaper Soave wines will often have a green bitter almond finish. If you ever get a chance to taste an older quality bottle of Soave (maybe around 5 years of age), you will be surprised and delighted by the intense flavors of marmalade, honey, fennel seed, beeswax, and preserved lemon. Delicious!
SOAVE FOOD PAIRING: Soave pairs incredibly with rich Italian Seafood. Think along the lines of clams and gnocchi, squid ink linguini, scallops, and risotto. This will guarantee you’ll find a perfect match!
What Makes Soave Wine Special?
- Soave is a very old region with grown grapes in the volcanic hills near Verona since Roman times.
- The primary grape of Soave, Garganega, is considered one of the great white wines of Italy.
The Common Styles of Soave Wine
You’ll notice 2 styles emerge when tasting dry Soave wines. There is a simple lean style, which is commonly made aged in stainless steel tanks, and another style with that is rich and subtly nutty, which usually means the wines were aged in old wooden barrels. Generally, the more aged styles will be labeled with the Superiore classification or as ‘Soave Classico.’
Soave vs. Soave Classico
Most agree that the best vineyards are located in the Soave Classico zone. However, some have found excellent wines from Soave Colli Scaligeri (meaning “Scaligeri hills”). Either way, all agree that the best Soave wines are grown in the volcanic hills around the village. The main Soave appellation includes grapes from the valley, which typically do not have the same complexity of flavor but are great for things like camping trips, using for cooking, and counting your calories (you can find 10% ABV Soave, a great low-cal option).
Soave Classico Wine Map
The Consorzio of Soave created a detailed map of the Soave Classico region showing all the vineyards and producers. This is a great place to check for a list of producers that are known for quality.