Supremely age-worthy Soave
Pieropan La Rocca Soave 2013, Italy, 13%
(£21-22, Laithwaites, The Wine Society, Jeroboams, AG Wines, Nickolls & Perks, Four Walls, Hedonism, Hennings or use Wine Searcher)
The Pieropan family has been making Soave since the 1860s – and they make Soave like few others. Their two famous single-vineyard bottlings are Calvarinho, an unoaked blend of Garganega with Trebbiano from a steep basalt slope, and La Rocca, a rare limestone outcrop that yields intense Garganega that is matured in oak. They leave their low yields of Garganega on the vines very late, to get maximum intensity and flavour (sometimes even with a bit of botrytis), and then don’t allow the wines to do the softening malolactic fermentation, meaning not only do they have a vivid, steely acidity to them – but they age beautifully.
This 2013 is the current release and has wonderful toasty, mineral depths and a really invigorating lemony core. We tasted it as part of a vertical of La Rocca with Andrea Pieropan going back to 1987, which was just stunning, full of baked cream and roasted lemon flavours, still vibrant and tense, savoury and rich. (a 9/10 from me, incidentally). It was an eye-opening experience, after which I made two resolutions. Firstly, to buy a case of the stuff because it will age better than many white Burgundies. And secondly, never to look at Soave (or the much misunderstood Garganega grape) in the same light again. (Peter, May 2016, 8/10)