Everyone associates Verona with Romeo and Juliet, but did you know that this beautiful region has a wonderful wine country nearby? This week, we transport you to Italy’s Soave Wine Country. Soave (“swah-vay”) is located in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy. Soave is a dry white wine made from the Gargenega (“gar-GAN-nehgah”) grape. We partnered with Soave Wines to create an Italian food and wine pairing for twelve. We sampled delicious sparkling, still and dessert wines, and we are excited to share our dinner with you.
There are several wine regions in Italy. Soave is an ancient wine country, growing wine since Roman times. The principal grape in these wines are Garganega, and 70% of Soave wines must be from this grape. Soave is a dry wine that when consumed young is fresh and light bodied. When this wine ages, it gains in a structure and complexity that can resemble a Riesling. It resembles a Chablis, and is sometimes referred to as Petit Chablis.
We sampled six Soave wines including a Spumante (sparkling), 4 still wines and a Recioto di Soave (dessert). The still wines each had a unique flavor profile. Some wines were aged in steel, while others were aged in oak barrels. The blend of grapes also varied from wine to wine. The most common flavors of Soave wine are peach, honeydew and citrus.
The Italian flag inspired our dinner’s color palette. We created our three dimensional tablescape with a green and white backdrop and whimsical red balloons that spelled SOAVE. Since the backdrop was bold, we kept the linens neutral with beige tablecloths, white napkins and wooden napkin rings. We scattered floral bouquets of white hydrangea, auburn pincushions and green ball flowers at each table end. The six wines served as additional table decor.
We worked with Susan from Soave Wines to create a menu that would complement the flavors in each wine.
Let’s be honest- twelve guests will never arrive at the same time. We recommend pre-pouring sparkling wine for guests and starting with a passed hor d’oeuvre. We began our delicious meal with air fried Arancini balls and the Soave Spumante Brut. Fried foods pair well with sparkling wine and the air fryer makes the Aperitivo healthier. The Spumante Brut is made from 100% Garganega grapes with notes of pear, green apple and kiwi. The sparkling wine is made using the Charmat Method and is stored in stainless steel tanks for 90 days. The wine has a bright straw-yellow color with light green hues. It’s a great Aperitif.
After all the guests arrived, we served the Antipasto, a Burrata Caprese. Burrata is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it a softer texture versus mozzarella. We paired this course with the Coffele Alzari Soave DOC Classico. This wine is made with 100% Garganega grapes that are aged in oak barrels for 10-12 months. These wines have a soft and mineral finish. The wine’s name is derived from the single vineyard where it is produced. The wine has aromas of mountain herbs, green tea and minerals as well as notes of pear, dried fruits, toasted nuts, and honey. The wine’s color is a deep yellow with hints of gold. Next we served a savory melon tartare insalata and paired it with the Soave DOC Classico Pressoni. This wine is made from Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. The wine has mineral and floral notes, combined with warmer tropical fruit flavors and pleasant hints of herbs.
For the Primo, we served Rigatoni Pesto with the Soave Superiore Il Casale Vicentini. This wine is made from 100% Garganega grapes and is dried for 40 days before pressing. The wine is fermented in stainless steel barrels. The wine balanced the intense flavor of the pesto pasta. The wine has a straw yellow color and notes of wild flowers and an intense, elegant flavor profile and balanced mineral sensation. For the main, we prepared Butter Basted Cod with Polenta and paired it with the Fattori Motto Piane – Doc Soave. When preparing fish for twelve, it’s best to bake it, consistently baste and be careful to not overcook it. Polenta cannot be prepared in advance so make sure you time it right. This wine is made from 100% Garganega grapes and dried for 40 days before pressing. The wine is an intense yellow color and has notes of apricot, peach, citrus, mint and sage. The wine pairs well with fish and lamb or well seasoned cheese.
We concluded our meal with Canolis from Carlo’s Bakery, chocolates from Eataly and the Montetondo Spumante Recioto Di Soave Docg, a sparkling dessert wine. The chocolate and traditional Cannolis were rich and a delicious end to a fabulous meal. The dessert wine is made from 100% Garganega grapes and made in small quantities. The grapes are semi-dried in special dry and well-ventilated rooms called “fruttai.” The sparkling wine is made using the Charmat Method and is stored in stainless steel tanks for 90 days. The wine has a straw-yellow color with golden highlights and a sweet, fruity flavor.
We highly recommend sampling wine from this region. The next time you are dining at an Italian restaurant or picking up wine from a wine store, grab a bottle of Soave wine.
“In vino veritas” or “In wine there is truth” – Anonymous