Friday, October 20, 2023

The Volcanic Wines of the Veneto with Monte Tondo Soave

Sometimes when I write these blogs I remind myself how many great native grapes are grown in Italy, hence why it can be so challenging when someone asks what’s your favorite Italian grape.  Why pick just one?  It’s been some time since I covered the Soave wines of the Veneto and have been fortunate to try many from this region through the years.  The Soave I’m sharing today is from Monte Tondo.  Let’s learn more about this great white wine of the Veneto.   

The Territory – Soave 

Soave, pronounced so-ah-vay, is located in the Veneto region set in the eastern hills in the province of VeronaThis area was granted the DOC designation in 1968.   These wines of the Soave DOC are made of at least 70% of the Garganega grape with an allowance of up to 30% of Trebbiano di Soave or ChardonnayThere is also an allowance of 5% of non-aromatic white grapes of the area that can make up part of that 30%According to the Consorzio of Soave wines Garganega is “straw yellow with greenish huesAroma is intense and delicate. It’s medium bodied, well balanced with slightly bitter almond finish”.  Garganega also produces high yields and is part of the reason that much of the Trebbiano di Soave were replaced in favor of Garganega, but that has slowly changedTrebbiano di Soave adds freshness and delicate floral aromas.   

Garganega grapes
Garganega grapes sourced from Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave

There are the wines of the Soave DOC and those of Soave Classico DOC with differences between the twoSoave DOC wines are grow in the alluvial plains that are lighter and fresher compared to their counterpartThose from the Soave Classico DOC are grown in the historic area between Soave the town, for which it is named, and Monteforte d’AlponeThe hills and valleys of this area were geologically formed 90 million years agoThe soils in the Soave Classico area are of volcanic origin consisting of basalt with limestoneThis results in the wines of this area to be more complex and structured.   Plus, the grapes are hand harvested due to the landscape so there is close attention to quality pickedThe vineyards there are between 165 to 1,650 feet above sea level with slopes that are between 10-80 degreesWhen they say winemaking is a labor of love this is just one of the many examples why. 

Depending on whether the Soave grapes are grown in volcanic balsalt soil or limestone is one of the key factors in what you taste in the glassSoave grown in basalt will show more minerality where those grown in limestone show more citrus, white flower and apricot flavors.   

wine tasting in Soave
Sourced from Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave
The Winery – Monte Tondo 

Monte Tondo began in 1979 with Gino MagnaboscoHe is joined today by his daughter, Marta, whom assists him with winemaking and promoting the wines of Monte TondoThey are located about 90 minutes inland from VeniceThey produce wines from low yields set in the hills above the town of SoaveIn total they own 32 hectares, about 79 acres, across both the Soave Classico DOC and ValpolicellaTwenty-two of the hectares are in Soave Classico with vineyards that are 360-490 feet to up to 1,150 feet for their cru sitesThey own another 10 hectares in Valpolicella, just set on the opposite side of the hill with vineyards 1,475 feet above sea level.   

The Wine 

I tasted the 2019 Monte Tondo Soave Classico DOC made from 100% Garganega.  This wine spends over 12 hours with the grapes being coldly macerated.  They are softly pressed and then fermented in stainless steel. This wine was straw colored with aromas of mostly apricot and a touch of petrol. It was light to medium-bodied with a touch of crisp acidity along with grapefruit and apple flavors filling the palate. Some salinity showed up on the finish as well. ABV 12.5% SRP $17 

2019 Monte Tondo Soave Classico DOC

Importer: August Wine Group 

Information sourced from Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave

*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.  

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