Pieropan Soave Classico 2015
When you think of Italian white wine, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people I know, you probably think of Pinot Grigio. (Although, if you’re a regular reader of this blog and you didn’t immediately think of Fiano or Greco di Tufo then we should really talk.)
Pinot Grigio has infiltrated North America like a bland, high-acid vermin and done a real injustice to the grape, Italian wine, and women (don’t even get me started on all those Pinot-pun women-centric memes that circulate on the regular). It’s become one of the popular white wines in the world precisely because it’s so simple and drinkable. Fine. I get it. But enough is enough.
While most Italian whites fall do into the high-acid and relatively neutral flavour family, in the right hands, they can produce some lovely, delicate, thirst-quenching wines that are actually worth writing about.
That can be said for Pinot Grigio, sure, but I’m not here to talk about Pinot Grigio. I’m here to talk about Soave. Because it’s better. (Okay yes, there are some great expressions of Pinot Grigio and when it’s made in France and called Pinot Gris it can be very delicious, but the stuff we normally see on LCBO shelves – the stuff those memes are about – is dry and lemony and that’s about it.)
I first came to Soave in 2009, as a ripe young publishing professional with few dollars and many woes to drink away. I was looking for an alternative to the cheap Pinot plunk I was putting away at an alarming rate (as is customary for young publishing professionals). Enter Soave. Specifically, $9 Soave. It was light, it was lemony, it was easy to drink and I seemed cool and knowledgeable whenever I pulled out this new (to me) wine.
Over the years, as my income and insights have increased, I’ve been able to explore Soave in all its glory. And its glory is great.
Made from the Garganega grape (with the occasional touch of Trebbiano di Soave or Chardonnay blended in), Soave is a region near Venice that’s spread across both volcanic hillsides and flatlands (whereas Pinot Grigio is a grape that can be made anywhere). It’s a terroir-driven wine, that can take on a wide range of flavours and styles – and it can even age.
This is actually the most I’ve ever spent on a bottle of Soave and, can I tell you? It was worth it. I actually would’ve paid more. While it’s an entry level bottling, it’s still ranked Classico (think village-level in Beaujolais with slightly more rules) so it’s more than a step above the cheapo stuff I was drinking in my 20s. And it’s made by the Pieropan family who have been making wine in the area since 1880. So it's got pedigree to back it up, not that it needs it – it stands pretty well on its own.
Oh, and did I mention? It’s totally organic, unbelievably delicious, outrageously food friendly, and ridiculously undervalued.
And if you ever see anything else by them, pick it up, give me a call, and I’ll be right over.
Nose: Lemon-lime, minerality, herbs, apple blossoms
Palate: Lovely high-acidity with a really rich mouthfeel that balances the whole thing out. That lemon quality follows through but it’s like the most delightful lemon tart garnished with tarragon, sea salt, and a touch of cream that you eat in the middle of an orchard on the best kind of sunny summer day. It’s got a bit of stone fruit, a bit of pear, a bit of flowers, a bit of everything great and right about crisp white wine.