Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca 2006
A characterful white, the color is an intense, brilliant, sunny yellow, the nose recalls exotic fruit and nuts. On the palate, it is structured, layered, intense, velvety and persistent, with perfect balance of fruit and acidity.
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Enclosed by the original town walls and dominated by its medieval fortress, Soave has a peaceful, timeless quality about it. In the heart of the old town is the winery of Leonildo and Teresita Pieropan, which goes back to 1860. The present Leonildo ("Nino")'s grandfather, Leonildo Senior, founded the estate and 'invented' Recioto di Soave, a concentrated dessert wine applying a system similar to Tuscany's governo to the indigenous, white Garganega grape.
Today, the estate's 74 acres under vine include three single vineyards, all within the historical backbone of the Soave appellation (Soave Classico): Calvarino, La Rocca and Le Colombare. Terrain is respectively clayey/basaltic, calcareous/clayey, and clayey/marly/tuffaceous, yielding small crops of highly concentrated Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. The range is crafted by Leonildo himself, whose wine-making genius, constant research and innovative methods have carved a unique niche for these exceptional, extract-full and long-living whites that go far, far beyond their own appellation.
Among Italy’s classic whites capable of great potential, Soave is named after the medieval village and surrounding hillsides from whence it comes. The original, historical Soave zone, delimited back in 1927, covers the eastern, volcanic hillsides of today's general Soave zone and is called Soave Classico.
Garganega, the indigenous grape responsible for great Soave, produces medium bodied white wines with fine acidity. Typical in the best Soaves are lively flowery and fresh herbal aromas and flavors such as orange zest, peach, melon and marjoram. The best can take some age and in so doing, develop notes of chamomile, marmalade and honey.
By the 1960s and 70s, Soave was enjoying such a glorious global reputation, that its demand forced growers to push beyond the zone's original borders. Expansion led west out of the hills and onto the alluvial plain of the Adige River. This, coupled with an increase in yields and allowance of additional varieties such as Trebbiano, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, met demand but created a softer, fruit-forward, everyday Soave. Today the broader region can be the source of charming and value driven whites. But those labeled as Soave Classico or in rare cases, as Soave Colli Scaligeri (nearby hillside vineyards abutting the Classico zone), will be the best quality and age-worthy Soaves. These are often 100% Garganega.
Flourishing in the rolling vineyards surrounding the medieval village of Soave in the Veneto region, Garganega is one of Italy’s classic white varieties. By law it makes up 70 to 100% of the white wine of the area, aptly and simply known as, Soave, with the remainder traditionally finished off by Trebbiano di Soave for its crispness. More recently international varieties like Chardonnay are being used to create softer and fruitier Soave.
The best Soave wines, measurably elegant and vibrant, come from the Soave Classico zone, in the center of Soave, where the hills are made of decomposed volcanic and granitic soils. The remainder of the zone tends to give rounder and fuller versions of Garganega.
Garganega’s best white wines are steely and delicate with yellow peach, melon, almond, Herbs de Provence and lime zest flavors and aromas. Its simpler versions can offer great values and make wonderful quaffers. If you like Sauvignon blanc or Pinot gris, try Graganega for something a little different.