This is a phenomenal wine.
From a single vineyard in the grounds of a former castle, these vines are grown in soils fit for Amarone, yet they make one of the most powerful and iconic whites in the whole of northern Italy.
The Pieropan family began making this wine in 1978 and soon realised that the combination of the rare limestone soils, the microclimate of the plot, the altitude and the south-western exposure to the sun, give these vines the perfect opportunity to create something that is unrivaled in the entire region.
Fermented in a combination of stainless steel and oak vats, the grapes have sufficient intensity and flavour concentration to stand up to further barrel ageing in 500-litre and 2000-litre barrels for about 15 months on their fine lees. This ageing gives support and structure to the intense and powerful flavours that these grapes possess.
The nose shows flavours of tropical fruit, roasted and fresh nuts, yellow apples and a fantastic array of integrated exotic spices that are mirrored on the broad and engaging palate. The intense aromatic quality is achieved not principally by the winemaking, but actually because of the limestone soils in which these grapes are grown. It happens to the best of the white Burgundies too.
The vineyard is just outside the town of Soave, north east of Verona in the rolling pre-Alps. It is home to the ruined castle (called La Rocca...) and itself is an imposing and obviously monumental landmark - you can see it from the motorway! The significance is circumstantial of course, but is also wonderful: the double icon of a monument and a monumental wine - one in ruins and the other growing out of the same ruins... very poetical and very romantic. Very Veronese...
The Pieropan family are one of the chief reasons that Soave has any real credibility in the present day. Pioneering against mass-volume production in the 1970s they were totally focused on high quality and potential in the vineyards, rather than making a quick buck from a famous region. This spade-work has left them not just at the top of the tree (possibly) but as an endearing and influential voice in the DOCG and the community at large. There are other producers in the region who similarly have worked with Valpolicella, for example, refusing to take the 'shilling' in order to preserve what is best about the region, difficult and unrewarding though this pursuit can be.
La Rocca is one of the great white wines of the world - it clearly comes from the Garganega grape variety and could only be grown on Limestone soil and could only achieve its glory because of the handling in the cellar in the way that the Pieropans do things. These identifiable characteristics are features in only a few wines of any colour or style - we are very lucky to have on at such a relatively affordable price.
Style: Vibrant, Svelte, Structured, Smooth, Pure, Profound, Powerful, Perfumed, Organic, Mineral, Medium Bodied, Meditation, Juicy, Iconic, Herbaceous, Fruity, Fresh, Fleshy, Engaging, Elegant, Electric, Dry, Complex, Bright, Balanced
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Warm Salads, Trout, Tapas, Sushi, Squid, Shellfish, Seafood, Scallops, Salads, Roasts, Poultry, Pork, Pasta, Oysters, Mature Cheeses, Lobster, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Game, Fine Dining, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Asparagus, Aperitif