£12.50, Stone,Vine & Sun
If you think of Soave as, at best, an inoffensive dry white wine that you can safely ignore except when the only alternative is Pinot Grigio, you’re missing out (you’re missing out on some excellent Pinot Grigio too, but that’s another story).
There’s certainly plenty of cheap stuff that there’s every reason to ignore, but Soave from a good estate can be delicious – interesting, refreshing and versatile, an ideal wine to have around at Christmas.
Good Soave is a question of focusing on growing Garganega in favourable hillside vineyards, reining in its yields and blending in only a small proportion of varieties such as Trebbiano de Soave. In most cases that means vineyards in the Soave Classico heartland, but not all, as Mainente Vigna Cengelle shows.
Davide Mainente’s family have 12ha of vineyards, some in hilly Classico, but not all. Cengelle is a vineyard at the foot of Monte Tende, near the town of Soave and just outside the Classico area. The vines have an average age of 35 years and this single-vineyard wine is 90% Garganega.
It balances lemony, leafy vitality and bounce with subtle almond nuttiness, supple, creamy texture and a twist of refreshing grapefruit on the finish. It's light on its feet, but layered with interest and beautifully balanced.
Ideal for impromptu drinks, for burrata, white fish and shellfish dishes, simply cooked chicken, creamy chicken or chicken breasts wrapped in pancetta, quiches, risotto, seafood pasta and any number of other pasta dishes (ricotta, lemon and spinach/broad beans/peas, aglio e olio, pesto, carbonara). 12.5%. Empty bottle weight: 433g.
Corte Mainente Vigna Cengelle Soave 2022, Veneto, Italy
£12.50, Stone, Vine & Sun