Wine: Welcome back, soave

Let’s raise a glass to a friendly old wine that once soared, then faltered and now has risen once more. It’s called soave (so-AH-vay).

The city called Soave is picturesque, rock-walled and medieval, visible from the highway between Veneto and Venice in northeast Italy. Its moated castle dates to 934.

The wine called soave is soft, dry and light-bodied, with delicate flavors of apples, lemons, pears and peaches and a hint of minerals. In fact, dictionaries translate the Italian word “soave” as “soft” or “delicate.” By law it must be 70 percent from the crisp, white garganega grape, with the remaining 30 percent from trebbiano, chardonnay and others.

The best soave comes from the “Soave Classico” area, a 4,000-acre zone within the 16,000-acre Soave region, from hillside vineyards with volcanic soils, low yields and superior winemaking.

Soave’s history parallels that of Italy’s famous red wine, chianti. GIs returning from World War II brought fond memories of both wines, and both enjoyed post-war booms in U.S. sales.

When I was a starving (and thirsty) student in Bologna, near Veneto, in the 1960s, we mostly drank the local fizzy red Lambrusco because it was 48 cents a liter. When we could spend a whole dollar for a bottle, we bought soave, and considered it a luxury.

Unfortunately, by the mid-1970s, the popularity of soave and chianti spurred over-cropping and bulk winemaking that damaged the reputations of both wines.

Chianti fought its way back years ago with better grapes and better winemaking. Now soave, and especially Soave Classico, is doing the same, with the best wines made by individual producers instead of huge cooperatives.

Usually dry, crisp and made without oak aging, soave is an excellent aperitif, good with salty snacks, a nice match for grilled chicken and vegetables as well as raw shellfish and light seafood dishes — especially Venice’s garlic-scented shrimp scampi.

So try a bottle and welcome it back.

Highly recommended

2010 Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico, DOC: pale yellow color, medium body, aromas of white flowers, flavors of ripe pears and lemons, tart finish; $24.

2012 Cantina di Soave Rocca Sveva Soave Classico, DOC: pale yellow color, floral aromas, flavors of ripe apples, citrus and minerals, nutty finish; $16.


2011 Inama “Vin Soave” Soave Classico, DOC: pale color, floral aromas, light body, flavors of lemons and minerals, tart finish; $15.

2012 Cantina di Soave “Midas” Soave, DOC: pale yellow color, white flower aromas, flavors of lemons and minerals, tart finish; $10.

2011 Bolla Tufaie Soave Superiore Classico, DOCG: yellow color, aromas of camellias, flavors of citrus and spice, almond-scented finish; $12.

Fred Tasker writes about wine for the McClatchy News Service. Contact him at

Read more Wine stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category