Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy
Pieropan’s estate covers 58 hectares of vineyard which are situated on the stony hills of Soave Classico. The Pieropan family has been producing wines in Soave since the 1890s. Indeed, they were the first producer to bottle a wine with the name Soave on the label in the early 1930s. Nino Pieropan took over from his father in 1970 and was the first producer to make a single-vineyard Soave, ‘Calvarino’, in 1971. Nino’s two sons, Andrea and Dario, took over the running of the estate in 2017 when Nino fell ill and before he passed away in April 2018. From the 2015 vintage onwards, all Pieropan wines are certified organic.
The Soave Classico has the richness and zest that makes this such an attractive wine. It is scented and beautifully defined, with hints of honeysuckle and almond on the finish. Pieropan is most famous for their two single-vineyard wines: ‘Calvarino’, owned by the family since 1901, is on the classic volcanic basalt of Soave Classico; while ‘La Rocca’ is situated on the only limestone outcrop in the zone. The former is unoaked and mineral and reminiscent of good Chablis, while the latter, fermented in 500 litre barrels, is rich and opulent. ‘La Rocca’ has won seven gold medals at the International Wine Challenge over the years. Such consistency is rare, but what we would expect from Pieropan.
While renowned for their whites, the Pieropan family is also making some of the best Valpolicella and Amarone from their 16 hectare property in the Val d‘Illasi (to the west of Soave Classico) which they bought in 1999. Thanks to the vineyards’ altitude at 40 metres above sea level, the wines produced here have a particular ethereal character. Their ‘Ruberpan’ Valpolicella Superiore is fresh, scented and attractive, while their ‘Vigna Garzon’ Amarone is similarly elegant and perfumed. Both are getting better each year, as the vines mature and the hand in the cellar acquires greater certainty.