The Wine Region
Veneto is the largest of Italy's vineyards covering a large part of NE Italy from the Alps to the north to the fertile plains of the Po River basin in the south. It is no surprise the the best vineyards are on the slopes with the industrial wine coming from the flats. This region is the home of some of the country's most famous DOCs Soave, Valpolicella and Prosecco to name a few. Soave and Valpolicella are next door neighbours and are both composed of limestone and basaltic formations. Soave is potentially one of Italy's great white wines: a regions that is exploring its zones in developing a cru system. Valpolicella is already established as one of the great sources of red wines in the north of Italy reaching its peak with the very best producers of Amarone.
Prosecco has undergone one of the biggest booms to occur anywhere in the world of wine. From humble beginnings which was essentially just two communes, Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, Prosecco has spread like wildfire across the plains and hills of NE Italy.
Pieropan has been producing Soave since 1880 and was the first producer to put the name 'Soave' on a label back in the 1930s. The attention to detail is staggering, only top vineyard sites in both the volcanic and limestone sections of Soave, with yields are kept very low. Although they are mostly known for their single vineyard wines, we at Noble Grape love their Soave Classico which is a blend of Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave
Soave sits on the border of the pre-Alps and fertile plain of the Po basin, with those coming from the hillsides the only ones that we would consider stocking at Noble Grape. Here in the hills, there is a split between those on limestone formations and those on volcanic, but either way Soave is a thoroughly interesting wine for the adventurous wine drinker. Garganega is the main variety, but there can be small additions of other varieties such as Trebbiano di Soave (recently identified as being identical to Verdicchio), and the lesser Trebbiano Toscano.
The Soave consorzio has been very smart and forward thinking in identifying its subzones and encouraging producers to label their wines according to their specific origins. Testament to the potential for quality that can be found here.
Other Regions of Veneto
The major factors that influence how a wine tastes are its grape variety, climate and the human factors of winemaking and viticulture, but it all begins with the soil, the dirt from which the vine is nourished. Varying soil types, their fertility, water retain capacity and mineral content all play a part in the wine's quality and style.
The world of wine is dotted with little pockets of volcanic regions, whether active or long extinct, and these soils impart their own distinctive character in the resulting wines. Generally speaking, volcanic regions are low in fertility, which is great for grapevines as this encourages the vine to produce sweeter and richer berries. The wines from these regions certainly do echo the drama of volcanoes and many wine drinkers seek out the wines for their distinctive minerality, and crisp acidity.
For further reading, we thoroughly recommend John Szabo's comprehensive book on the topic, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power.