The `Calvarino` is pale straw yellow in colour, with youthful hues turning golden with age. On the nose, there are fresh, floral aromas with elderflower, lemon and cherry. The palate is dry, well balanced and elegant, with tremendous length and finesse.
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.
The Calvarino vineyard is located in the north-west zone of the Soave Classico area and has been owned by the Pieropan family since 1901. It takes its name, 'little Calvary', from the steepness of the slope and the difficulty this presents in working the vineyard. It has basalt soil that is typical in this part of Soave and is planted with Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. The vines are between 30 and 60 years old and are planted 200 to 300 metres above sea level, at a density of 3,000 vines per hectare. The vineyards are farmed organically.
The 2020 vintage experienced a rainy and humid autumn until mid-December followed by a rather harsh and dry winter. In spring, temperatures were typical of the period throughout June and July with low humidity. In August, both temperatures and humidity increased and subsequently, some hail significantly affected a lot of wine-growing areas and especially the city of Verona. Luckily, Pieropan was not affected, but these weather conditions contributed to the delay of fruit ripening, especially in Valpolicella. Nonetheless, the 2020 vintage produced a very promising yield of excellent quality grapes which led to a fresh, saline and savoury Soave Classico.
The grapes were hand harvested in order to select the ripest grapes of optimum quality. The Trebbiano di Soave grapes were harvested in mid-September and the Garganega grapes were harvested slightly later in October. At the winery, the grapes were destemmed and crushed, the juice was then fermented in glass-lined cement tanks at around 17°C. The wine was aged on its lees for a year in the cement tanks for increased richness and complexity. Ageing in bottle took place for a few months prior to release.