Allegrini 2018

Soave knows how to age well and longevity was the star in the Soave Stories and in WineNews glasses

Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave: the first ingredients are volcanic and limestone soils, cru mapping and intense field research

Soave knows how to age well, and of the many stories told during Soave Stories, this is definitely the one that gave a strong and clear message. And, it is thanks to the soil (volcanic and calcareous, rich in marine and ferrous residues), two profoundly rooted vines in this area (Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave), the geo-climatic conditions but, above all, the increasingly attentive choices wine producers are making, who in the last 20 years have found the courage to distance themselves from the old concept that shielded the denomination as well as from the short-sighted choices of many to focus on quantity instead of quality. Since then many stories have been told demonstrating the great dynamism of the territory and its Consortium. Research has been promoted in collaboration with various Universities to study both the old and new approaches of cultivating vines (such as, enhancing the pergola, or the Itaca vineyard that is “self-growing”), the territory has been mapped, and divided into 33 crus (or Geographical Units), awaiting the approval of the institutions which should arrive at harvest time to be put on the label, and received FAO recognition as GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems), agricultural heritage of global significance.
This growing awareness, covering various issues, relating particularly to the aging potential of Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave, started in the early 2000s during the “All colors of white” event. That event laid the foundations to create an informal network of experts, enthusiasts and researchers from all over Italy, who since then have been working diligently to create opportunities and study the most suitable varieties and soils to make white wines last over time. The volcanic soils are certainly part of the equation (to the point that they have even intrigued the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, which will be publishing a detailed map of all the volcanic soils in Italy), and equally so are the characteristics of the vines. The structure and softness of Garganega together with the fragrance and flavor of Trebbiano di Soave have proven they have all the credentials to face the challenge of an optimum evolution, as they also present unexpectedly complex but sincere and interesting outsource services.
Specifically, Trebbiano di Soave was the protagonist of an in-depth study conducted by the agronomists Ermanno Murari and Paolo Menapace which the Consorzio del Soave was dearly interested in and commissioned as a moment of reflection relating especially to the little attention the producers of the territory pay to this vine and its undervalued potential. As a matter of fact, only 100 of the 7.000 hectares of the vineyard denomination are dedicated to it, while instead many companies focus more on pure Garganega for high-end wines. Nevertheless, the DNA of Trebbiano di Soave speaks for itself – it is rich in flavonoids, it corresponds genetically to Verdicchio (an outstanding wine among aging whites) and it has a very solid historical link with the volcanic terrain of the area. Today, in fact, due to the absence of biotopes selected from the original production area, we are focusing on mass selection, precisely to return to preserving biodiversity, as well as expressing identity and originality. This renewed attention has found a favorable response in all those (still too few, it must be said) companies that have invested in this vine, making wine in purity with surprising results.
Soave Stories offered three occasions to test the aging ability of Soave in the glass. One was the Soave Seven tasting, in which about thirty companies presented a current Soave vintage and an older one (at least seven years old). The second occasion was tasting Soave from 10 different Crus over the arc of 15 vintages (from 2017 to 2002), directed by Kerin O’Keefe, Italian editor of “Wine Enthusiast”. And, finally, a blind tasting that compared 14 wines from some volcanic areas of Italy, directed by the Master of Wine John Szabo.

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