Back in the 1970s, a lot of Americans thought “Soave” (particularly the one made by Bolla) was a brand rather than a type of white wine from a specific place near Verona, in northeastern Italy. A lot of the Soave in those days was thin and bland, and eventually it was eclipsed by another Italian white that also tended to be thin and bland: pinot grigio. Soave was largely forgotten by most Americans.
But Soave has made a comeback, with high-quality wines that are worth your attention. Soave is made principally from the garganega grape; this one from Pieropan is 85 percent garganega, with the remainder of the blend made up by trebbiano di Soave. The grapes come from Soave’s Classico zone: hillside vineyards around the towns of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone.
The 2016 vintage celebrates Leonildo “Nino” Pieropan’s 50th vintage. The wine ($20) displays racy green apple and lemon zest flavors, a hint of almond paste and some fleshiness. It’s zippy and refreshing but also has some weight.
Pieropan also produces two outstanding (and pricier) single-vineyard Soaves, called Calvarino and La Rocca. But the classic bottling is a great example of what good Soave should be, at a very affordable price.