September is here and it’s time once again for Italian Food, Wine and Travel. This month we are exploring the world of volcanic wines. When this topic was announced by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla I immediately which wine region I wanted to explore. This article will explore the wonderful Italian wine region of Soave, as well as provide a wine review and food pairing suggestion.
Back in February I attended a fascinating presentation on the volcanic wines of Soave by enologist Giovanni Ponchia at Vinisud. Along with the presentation I tasted some delicious Soave wines and received a highly informative book put together by the Consorzio di Tutela del Soave on the uniqueness of the Soave region and its volcanic soils. There are a few patterns that hold true to my wine palate, two of significance here are I prefer wines of higher elevations, and I prefer wines crafted from grapes grown in volcanic soil. Apparently these two taste preferences of mine do not make me unique at all.
Through the efforts of the Consorzio they determined “the most sought after wines for communicators and trade professionals almost always derived from terroirs of volcanic origin and from grape varities that were long-established in their respective areas.”
Soave is quite possibly the most famous white wine DOC in all of Italy. Located in the Veneto wine region in northwest Italy, Soave is crafted primarily from the Garganega grapes that grows on the hillsides east of Verona. Soave wine is known for its dry, crisp flavors of stone fruit, melon, citrus, savory herbal notes, and salinity. Soave is crafted into five different styles of wines including spumante (sparkling) and Recioto (sweet dessert). Soave Classico region contains the best vines grown in volcanic soil on the hills above Il Castello di Soave.
Interestingly the Consorzio’s research indicates that the soil of the Soave region, as opposed to other Italian volcanic wine regions, has undergone “a great deal of evolution and acquired complex structural features” that are characterized by a modification in the minerals. This is significant because generally old soil is characterized by a “certain acidity and low nutrient content;” however, in the case of Soave’s volcanic soil virtually neutral pH levels exist.
Dama del Rovere Tremenalto Soave Classico DOC: This wine was crafted of 100% Garganega from grapes cultivated in the Soave Classico zone on the hill of Tremenalto in Monteforte d’Alpone area from vines planted between 1945 and 2008. It poured a soft golden yellow into the glass with a slight effervescence; characteristically fresh aromas of peaches, apricots, honeydew melon, lemon curd and herbacious notes were also met with a touch of soft jasmine and crushed stone; racy on the palate with mouth-puckering acidity that made my mouth water like crazy, really awesome minerality foundation with lots of tart citrus resting on top, what a great food wine; Fermented in stainless steel tanks; 12.5% ABV; SRP $ 15.99
Soave is a versatile, food friendly wine. It pairs well with a multitude of cuisines including Thai, Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Furthermore, Soave pairs beautifully with seafood, shell fish, poultry, vegetarian dishes, and many cheeses. Try Soave Spumante as an aperitif. I went round and round deciding on a food pairing to feature with the Tremenalto Soave Classico DOC. I could not decide whether to demonstrate the versatility of Soave by pairing it with non-Italian cuisine, or to stick close to Soave’s home and pair it with a seafood or pasta. My conclusion was a primi and secondi dinner.
For the primi course I found a dish that not only highlights Soave’s ease in pairing with shellfish, but also features some different flavors that demonstrate Soave’s versatility. Mussles in Saffron Coconut Broth was not only an easy and delicious dish, the flavors were an easy blend with the Soave.
Another dish that loves Soave is gnocchi. No one knows the true origins of these decadent pillows of delight but it is believed they originated somewhere in northern Italy. The Veneto region is one of many that lay claim. Regardless of where gnocchi originate it made a perfect pairing with Soave. I wanted to keep the gnocchi simple so I topped it with fresh pesto, peas, chopped toasted walnuts, and a dusting of parmesan cheese. The Soave’s creamy texture and savory herbal notes was a lovely companion to the gnocchi.
More about Dama del Rovere from their web site:
Dama del Rovere” was born with 2003-vintage in Brognoligo di Monteforte d’Alpone, a historical Soave Classico zone in the province of Verona. Its name comes from the small Statue of the Madonna that lies in an oak-tree in Tremenalto area where we own 4 vineyard-hectares. Not far from the village of Soave in Tremenalto cru, lie the vineyards of Garganega. From these grapes we produce the Soave Tremenalto, Redavide the Recioto di Soave DOCG and IGT Veneto Spinaje only Garganega grapes.
The particular East/North-east exposure of vineyards together with the deep and fertile soil of volcanic origin gives many peculiarities to wines: the taste is full-bodied, sapid and with a trace of bitter almonds; the bouquet reminds of fine and strong fragrances. In the vineyards all the agronomic practices are performed by hand, giving highest importance to the health of our territory and our grapes.
Check out more Italian volcanic wine and food pairings by my fellow #ItalianFWT friends:
- Scorched Terroir and Explosive Wines by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Etna Rosso: Wine from the Slopes of an Active Volcano by FoodWineClick
- A Beginners Guide to Volcanic Wines by L’Occasion
- Crazy Good Wines on Mount Etna by Undiscovered Italy
- Campania Food & Wine ABC’s: Favorites by Vineyard Adventures
- Campania’s Volcanic Wines with Fratelli Urciuolo by Vino Travels
- An Erupting Surprise from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Do you like volcanic wines? What is your favorite volcanic wine region? Have you had Soave? What is your favorite Soave food pairing?
My Song Selection: I love this song! I realize it features a river and not a volcano but it certainly erupts in a deep soulfulness that is fresh and authentic yet rustic and penetrating…like Soave.
Please join us this morning at 10CST today on Twitter using #ItalianFWT to share your thoughts on volcanic Italian wine.
Get your own bottle of Soave and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!