This monumental wine was the first ever single-vineyard Soave. Now, that may not sound like much, but in the specifics of really high-quality white wine-making, this is a big deal. Made from the same old vines since 1971, this is impressive, intense and savoury, yet balanced, fresh and saline on the finish, making it exceptional as a food pairing.
Fresh floral notes of elderflower, citrus and cherry blossom, this wine has such a pretty nose that when the richer, focused palate turns up you can sometimes be overwhelmed... for a second or two. Then it's all deliciousness and elegance, finesse and superb complexity on a very long finish.
Grown in the most text-book classic of Soave Classico soils, the vineyards are full of volcanic basalt that gives excellent drainage and provides the structure beneath the ground to allow for the vines to really take hold in the soils of the steep Soave hills.
In the cellar, this wine is fermented and aged in concrete tanks, with less ageing for a year after ferment to allow for the retention of complexity and flavour development. Unoaked and complex with minerality and salinity, this reads a bit like a Chablis 1er Cru, but it possesses genuine Italianate charm and is slightly less of a pain in the wallet.
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.
The Calvarino bottling is one of the celebrations of this work: you know it's expensive, but that it is worth every penny you spend and so much more. Without this wine, so much could have been forgotten and lost. Raise a glass and say thank you...
Grape(s): Trebbiano, Garganega
Style: Vibrant, Svelte, Smooth, Organic, Mineral, Iconic, Fruity, Fresh, 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