Suavia Soave Classico 2008
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
It probably would never occur to the Tessari Family to concentrate on anything other than Soave and its two native white grapes-Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. The name Suavia harkens back to the pre-modern day references to Soave. (The Svevia-later Suavia-were a Germanic tribe that settled in this part of northeastern Italy after the fall of the western Roman Empire.) Vineyards have been in the Tessari hands since the late 1800's, but it wasnt until the early 1980's that the family redefined what growing quality grapes could be-tying clonal selection to site-specific areas, lowering Garganega's prodigious yields, and making the wines in tune with the terroir. Rigorous clonal research into the two white varieties has resulted in mono-varietal examples of each, both grown on pure extrusive basaltic ( black volcanic) soil; Monte Carbonare (Garganega) and Massifitti (Trebbiano di Soave). The vineyards of Suavia are located in the center of Soave's Classico zone. This the traditional, hillside terroir that has produced Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave for centuries. Elevations of roughly 1,000 feet and ancient, volcanic soils yield wines of structure and character. Garganega from this area is known to generate some of Italy's most exciting white wines. In youth, the wines have pure aromatic focus of ripe fruit, hay, a flicker of florality and a minerality veering toward whetstone sensibilities. As Garganega ages, these traits transform into wines where delicacy and complexity take center stage. The tale of Trebbiano di Soave is historically linked to the Veneto and genetically bound to the older variety Turbiana, grown around Lake Garda. Trebbiano di Soave offers significant acidity and sapidity, epecially when partnered with Garganega. Without exception, Suavia is one of the leaders in quality and terroir expression in this small, hilly zone to the east of Lake Garda. Although the family has been growing grapes in the hills of Soave Classico since the 1800's, it was only as recently as 1982 that the Giovanni and Rosetta Tessari began crushing grapes and producing their own wine. The couple built a modern and efficient winery in 1990 underneath the building that has been the Tessari family home since 1887. This facility was designed specifically for the production of white wine with the most advanced technology available. Now run by Giovanni and Rosetta's daughters, Meri, Valentina, and Alessandra, Suavia's focus is on using their state-of-the art facility to express the nuances of their native terroir through the lense of only those two grapes native to the zone; Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave.
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.