April 2, 2008

Soave Classico - "Le Bine de Costiola"

Garganega / Veneto
Italy / $20

It has been a long time since I have tasted an Italian Soave. This wine is generally made from Garganega grapes that are prevalent in the Veneto growing region of Italy. Soave was most often a inexpensive bottle of wine that was made by the village cooperative. All the towns growers would pool their annual harvest and make wine out of the blended juice.

Pio and Gaetano Tamellini always felt as though their vineyards were producing juice that was far superior to neighboring vineyards. In 1998 they risked it all and decided to keep their own juice to make their own wine. They hired veteran winemaker Paulo Caciorgna to oversee the wine making process. Their gamble paid off.

Debbie Larson dropped this wine off to me in my office to taste. I was surprised to see Soave on the label. Rather then make assumptions about what I suspected this wine to be...I decided to take it with me to Charleston, SC over Easter break and give it a try.

The wine is darker then I suspected it would be. It poured like a dessert wine, light honey colored and viscous. It clung to the sides of the glass when swirled. I could instantly smell apricots, lemon, apple pie spices and honey. The aroma was heady and pleasant. It really invited you to take your first sip.

The wine was fat and unctuous. It is full of glycerin and fruit flavor. The honey and mineral component are up front with lemon, pineapple and spice on the finish. This was not the Soave that my parents used to drink with Wednesday night spaghetti dinner. This wine had the mouth feel of a good (read expensive) chardonnay and wonderful flavour combination of apricot and honey....very nice.

What amazes me most is the Tamellini Brothers produced this delicious wine in a mediocre year. This is a producer that should be re-visited in better growing years to see what they can really do with good juice. I suspect the potential is there to knock our socks off.

This wine has enough backbone and structure to last a few years in the cellar. It seems to be fully mature, so don't cellar it thinking it will get better. For around $20, I see this as a bargain wine. Drink it with food. The weight of the wine warrants you have something with it. I am thinking a good loaf of Italian bread, some fresh Parma cheese, and maybe some roasted red peppers with good olive oil. Any white meats....lemon chicken, fresh ham, pork roast...Mmm, Mmm, Good.

I have not been able to find this widely available on the web. This is one that you will have to hunt down. Check with some of the reputable wine shops in your area, or link to one of my preferred wine shops in my "Favorite Links" on the right margin of the blog.

Tonight I am going to a tasting with Louis Fabrice Latour, CEO and owner of legendary producer Louis Latour. Calvert Woodley is sponsoring, and we will taste the 2005 Red Burgundies and the 2006 White Burgundies. This should be fabulous.

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