The magical world of Soave
11 May 2019
Soave: a word with many flavours
Pleasing, sweet, exquisite: this is what the word “soave” signifies in Italian. However, “Soave” means a lot more!
First of all, it is an antique wine, probably the most famous white wine in Veneto: its story is rooted in history. The cultivation of Garganega (the grapes it is mainly made of) in the area and on the hills around the small town of Soave, on the eastern side of the Veronese province, dates back to thousands of years ago — some say even millions!
Its peculiarly poetic name gave life to a flourishing of fantastic explanations; the most widely accepted is the one connecting this area with the Suevian people, a German population that followed Longobard king Alboin when he came down to Italy during the VIth century. They settled on a hill overlooking the plain, in a strategic position, right on the East/West communication route. Nowadays, the town is principally famous, in addition to its homonymous wine, for its medieval castle, probably one of the best examples of castle architecture in the whole region.
There is no official document showing the origins of this monumental fortification, however it probably dates back to the early Xth century, on a site where Roman remains have been found. The counts of San Bonifacio were the first feudatories to own this stronghold, which was then conquered by the Scaligeri at the end of the XIIIth century. In 1375, Cansignorio della Scala decided to strenghten it, adding the impressive boundary walls that still today enclose the whole village, giving it a unique “olde worlde” atmosphere. Nowadays, you can visit the castle — with its drawbridge, high central tower, courtyards and frescoed salons, while its keep and the boundary walls offer one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Lessini mountains and the Po valley, as well as of the seemingly endless fields full of vineyards that surround this incredible place.
The success of Soave wines
One of the most renowned wines in Italy and abroad, it can be dry and still, slightly sparkling or, in its Recioto version, even sweet. The Soave DOC (guarantee of origin) includes various wines produced in this area, placed on the hills between the provinces of Verona and Vicenza, such as Soave Classico DOC, DOC Colli Scaligeri, Superiore DOCG and Recioto di Soave DOCG. The oldest production site is on the hills of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone, which is where Classico DOC comes from; the hills between San Martino Buon Albergo up to Roncà give life to DOC Colli Scaligeri; the flat areas of the valleys represent a third wine production site.
According to the procedural guidelines, Soave DOC has to consist of at least 70% of its core grape — local Garganega with its fairly big bunch, hard, golden-skinned grapes and high output — while the remaining 30% can include Trebbiano di Soave, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay grapes. However, winemakers’ prevailing tendency is to use Garganega in its purity, as it is a grape that adds all those characteristic mineral fragrances coming from the volcanic hills it grows upon. Soave wines tend to be light to medium bodied, light enough to enjoy on their own or with some nibbles: maybe this is why you will find it is one of our go-to wines for aperitivo!
Join one of our dedicated wine tours to explore this magical land with its history and to discover all of its secrets! You can book our “Soave and Amarone tour”, choosing between a private or a group visit; alternatively, you can decide to spend a whole day around Valpolicella and Soave with our “Soave, lunch and Amarone tour”, to become a real connoisseur of both red and white local wines! Lastly, find more about our private all-day-long specific “Soave tour”. Or, create your custom tour: just contact us and we will design the perfect wine experience for you!