- Tasting Notes & Technical Details
Pieropan’s estate covers 58 hectares of vineyard which are situated on the stony hills of Soave Classico. The Pieropan family has been producing wines in Soave since the 1890s. Indeed, they were the first producer to bottle a wine with the name Soave on the label in the early 1930s. Nino Pieropan took over from his father in 1970 and was the first producer to make a single-vineyard Soave, ‘Calvarino’, in 1971. Nino’s two sons, Andrea and Dario, took over the running of the estate in 2017 when Nino fell ill and before he passed away in April 2018. From the 2015 vintage onwards, all Pieropan wines are certified organic.
The Soave Classico has the richness and zest that makes this such an attractive wine. It is scented and beautifully defined, with hints of honeysuckle and almond on the finish. Pieropan is most famous for their two single-vineyard wines: ‘Calvarino’, owned by the family since 1901, is on the classic volcanic basalt of Soave Classico; while ‘La Rocca’ is situated on the only limestone outcrop in the zone. The former is unoaked and mineral and reminiscent of good Chablis, while the latter, fermented in 500 litre barrels, is rich and opulent. ‘La Rocca’ has won seven gold medals at the International Wine Challenge over the years. Such consistency is rare, but what we would expect from Pieropan.
While renowned for their whites, the Pieropan family is also making some of the best Valpolicella and Amarone from their 16 hectare property in the Val d‘Illasi (to the west of Soave Classico) which they bought in 1999. Thanks to the vineyards’ altitude at 40 metres above sea level, the wines produced here have a particular ethereal character. Their ‘Ruberpan’ Valpolicella Superiore is fresh, scented and attractive, while their ‘Vigna Garzon’ Amarone is similarly elegant and perfumed. Both are getting better each year, as the vines mature and the hand in the cellar acquires greater certainty.
To accompany the opening of the new modern winery, Pieropan has created a special wine, ‘Calvarino 5’.
This blend of five vintages – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 – represents the five years it took to build the winery. The wine has great complexity and shows the great ageing potential of the Pieropan wines.
Grapes for `Le Colombare` are sourced from a range of different vineyards on the Pieropan estate. The vineyards are situated on volcanic soils, at 300 metres above sea level. The vines, which were planted in 1980, are trained according to the traditional Veronese pergola system, with 3,000 vines per hectare.
After a mild start to spring, the region encountered some episodes of frosts towards the end of April that damaged the first buds. Conditions soon became hot and dry, which further impacted the budding stage and prompted the need for irrigation. Indeed, the 2017 vintage proved to be one of the driest in the last 50 years, warmer than both 2003 and 2015. Welcome rainfall at the end of August and in September enabled the berries to reach phenolic ripeness at a steady rate and harvest of the Garganega grapes commenced mid-September. 2017 was a difficult year that required huge effort in both the vineyard and the cellar, however the grapes have retained some freshness and display expressive flavour profiles.
The grapes were picked by hand with great care, ensuring only the ripest and most healthy were selected. They were carried by hand to the drying loft and spread on bamboo cane mats to dry naturally for approximately 5 months, from mid-September to the end of February. This natural environment allows the grapes to dehydrate and concentrate and also allows botrytis to develop. Following this stage, the grapes were destemmed and crushed to begin fermentation in 2500L oak casks at controlled temperatures between 14-18°C. The wine was then cask-aged for around 2 years, followed by a further 6 months bottle ageing before release.
This Recioto di Soave has an intense gold, almost amber colour and boasts dried apricot and lightly toasted almond aromas. The wine has a perfectly balanced palate, with just the right level of delicate sweetness offset by fresh acidity. Lovely, rich, almost exotic fruit comes through on the palate, with a baked peach character and a long, perfumed finish.