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Soave Classico Calvarino, Pieropan 2019

White Wine from Italy - NE Italy (Trentino, Veneto)
An outstanding Soave made from organically grown grapes that remains on lees in glass-lined cement tanks for a year, adding complexity and depth to the final wine. Flavours of green apple, almond, blossom and oyster shell are well held on this textural and fine Italian. Calvarino, aka ‘Little Calvary’, is so named because of the steepness of the slope and the hard work it involves to farm its basalt soil.
Price: £21.50 Bottle
Price: £129.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: IT32641

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Garganega
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2027
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

North East Italy

Three regions constitute this wide and varied area. In the very north-east, abutting Slovenia and Croatia lies Friuli-Venezia Giulia. South and east of Venice spreads the broad swathe of the Veneto, one of Italy’s main wine producing areas in terms of volume. Finally, falling from the foothills of the Dolomites is Trentino-Alto Adige.

Since the 1970s Friuli-Venezia Giulia has earned a fine reputation for high-quality white wines and a burgeoning one for reds. Most of the estates here are family owned with some co-operatives dotted around. Much of the inland area is hilly or mountainous with flatter vineyards sited around the Isonzo River as it comes down to the sea. The two principal white wine making areas are the Friuli Colli Orientali in the north-west and Collio Goriziano in the centre and east around the curve of the Slovenian border.

The Orientali vineyards are in the lee of the Julian Alps and are cooler than the vineyards of Collio Goriziano though they are protected from...
Three regions constitute this wide and varied area. In the very north-east, abutting Slovenia and Croatia lies Friuli-Venezia Giulia. South and east of Venice spreads the broad swathe of the Veneto, one of Italy’s main wine producing areas in terms of volume. Finally, falling from the foothills of the Dolomites is Trentino-Alto Adige.

Since the 1970s Friuli-Venezia Giulia has earned a fine reputation for high-quality white wines and a burgeoning one for reds. Most of the estates here are family owned with some co-operatives dotted around. Much of the inland area is hilly or mountainous with flatter vineyards sited around the Isonzo River as it comes down to the sea. The two principal white wine making areas are the Friuli Colli Orientali in the north-west and Collio Goriziano in the centre and east around the curve of the Slovenian border.

The Orientali vineyards are in the lee of the Julian Alps and are cooler than the vineyards of Collio Goriziano though they are protected from northerly winds and have a more continental climate. They sit at altitudes of between 330 and 1200 metres on soils that were once beneath the ocean, so marl and sandstone predominate. The Collio Goriziano vineyards enjoy slightly greater influence from the Adriatic to the south, though the cool air draining from the higher ground in the north plays its part, and the vineyards sit upon the many steep slopes in this hilly country.

Pinot grigio was an early success here and is still widely made, but chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot bianco have joined local varieties like tocai fiuliano, picolit and verduzzo in producing some of Italy’s freshest and most interesting white wines. Local varieties like schioppetino and refosco have struggled to find an audience outside of the region in the past though this is changing, and some Bordeaux blends from the Grave region of free draining alluvial soils are making people sit up and take notice.

Trentino-Alto Adige was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and in the northern parts of the province (Alto Adige) German is still widely spoken. Indeed, the architecture, food and customs owe much to their Teutonic roots and there are elements that remain in the vineyards that echo a Germanic past. Riesling is planted here and the village of Tramin gave its name to the gewürztraminer grape which is now so widely planted in another region with Germanic influences, Alsace. To reinforce that comparison, sylvaner, muscat, müller-thurgau and pinot gris (grigio) are also to be found here.

Alto Adige is also known as the Süd-Tyrol (South Tyrol) and lies on the border with Austria and is Italy’s most northerly wine region. Here the vines grow in the foothills of the Alps, on the lower slopes along the Adige Valley. Altitudes vary between 200 and 1000 metres. White wines made the reputation of the region for their lively, fresh purity but reds are grown here too. Schiava and the burlier lagrein are the indigenous varieties much used here, though bracing cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines are made from plantings that can struggle to ripen and escape some greenness. Some very fine pinot noir wines are having an impact for their high-class and poise.

The Veneto is something of a vinous bread basket. The soils are fertile, which is not usually propitious for fine wine production, and officially permitted yields are unacceptably high. The region produces enormous quantities of everyday wines for exporting and blending but also embraces the Valpolicella region where the jewel in the crown is Valpolicella Amarone, the sweetly rich, full-bodied expression of semi-dried corvina and rondinella grapes that is sought after the world over. Though bulk production, particularly through large and highly-efficient co-operatives, is still prevalent the improvements in winemaking and viticulture are clear, and there are many producers in formerly workaday DOCs like Valpolicella and Soave who are turning their corvina, rondinella, garganega and trebbiano di lugana (turbiano) grapes into vinous gems. Prosecco is also produced here from the glera grape in the hills around Conigliano almost due north of Venice, and is something of a worldwide phenomenon in terms of sales volume. As ever, there is a lot of basic fizz but the producers who take a little more care in vineyards and wineries are making delicious bubblies at all price levels.
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Pieropan

The Pieropan family’s association with Soave, in Italy’s Veneto region, stretches back to 1890, when Leonildo Pieropan established the company. It has been run by the founder’s grandson, Leonildo, assisted by his wife Teresita and their two sons Andrea and Dario, until Leonildo, who everyone knew as Nino, passed away in April 2018. He has left a wonderful and lasting legacy.

At a time when the reputation of Soave was being undermined by large volumes of low quality brands Pieropan was one of the very few to insist on higher standards to raise quality. The continued success of the Pieropan name in the region is due to great levels of attention to detail in the vineyard and commitment to farming low yields of the indigenous garganega grape long associated with good-quality Soave.

The Pieropan portfolio includes plots in highly regarded Soave crus which are bottled as single-vineyard wines. Perhaps the best-known of these, La Rocca, is situated on the Monte Rocchetta hill named after the medieval fortress which overlooks the town of Soave. This special vineyard has limestone and clay soils which help give the base wine its concentration and lush feel before it is matured in barrels for a year to add further complexity. La Rocca is a powerful expression of Soave that can age beautifully, its finesse and elegance making it a benchmark for the region. Calvarino, more traditional, gently aromatic Soave for earlier drinking, comes from the original Pieropan vineyard, which sits on...
The Pieropan family’s association with Soave, in Italy’s Veneto region, stretches back to 1890, when Leonildo Pieropan established the company. It has been run by the founder’s grandson, Leonildo, assisted by his wife Teresita and their two sons Andrea and Dario, until Leonildo, who everyone knew as Nino, passed away in April 2018. He has left a wonderful and lasting legacy.

At a time when the reputation of Soave was being undermined by large volumes of low quality brands Pieropan was one of the very few to insist on higher standards to raise quality. The continued success of the Pieropan name in the region is due to great levels of attention to detail in the vineyard and commitment to farming low yields of the indigenous garganega grape long associated with good-quality Soave.

The Pieropan portfolio includes plots in highly regarded Soave crus which are bottled as single-vineyard wines. Perhaps the best-known of these, La Rocca, is situated on the Monte Rocchetta hill named after the medieval fortress which overlooks the town of Soave. This special vineyard has limestone and clay soils which help give the base wine its concentration and lush feel before it is matured in barrels for a year to add further complexity. La Rocca is a powerful expression of Soave that can age beautifully, its finesse and elegance making it a benchmark for the region. Calvarino, more traditional, gently aromatic Soave for earlier drinking, comes from the original Pieropan vineyard, which sits on volcanic soils and is planted with trebbiano as well as garganega.

As a contrast to its dry whites, Pieropan also produces recioto di Soave, a dessert style which is made using super-ripe grapes picked from the outermost 'ears' (recie) of the bunch, which will have enjoyed maximum exposure to the sun. These are left to dry after harvesting to concentrate their sweetness further, a practice also followed in Valpolicella. Le Colombare is made exclusively from garganega, using only the pick of the bunches, air-dried on trays in a spotless chamber in the winery reserved for the purpose.

All Pieropan wines all come in tall, tapered bottles similar to those of Alsace or Germany.
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2019 vintage reviews
2018 vintage reviews
2017 vintage reviews

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