Soave is arguably the most famous white-wine DOC in Italy. Granted in 1968, the DOC title covers wines made from Garganega grapes grown on the hillsides east of Verona, in the Veneto wine region of northeastern Italy. A dry, crisp, fruity white wine, Soave's naturally refreshing appeal led it to phenomenal popularity in the second half of the 20th Century.
As with Chianti, whose wine might be viewed as Soave's red equivalent, the quantity of Soave wine produced every vintage is much more consistent than its quality. The natural temptation to drive for higher yields (and thus higher turnover) has led many Soave producers to favor volume over value, to the eventual detriment of the Soave brand. The consequences of this have taken many years to filter through, but the negative effects are now being felt, and change is needed. In the hands of a quality-conscious producer Garganega can make classic white wines, both complex and satisfying; now that Trebbiano Toscano and Pinot Bianco have been removed from the official Soave blend, the variety's natural potential can shine through. Garganega grapes must now constitute at least 70 percent of any modern Soave wine, accompanied by a maximum of 30 percent Chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave (i.e. Verdicchio).
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