Rizzardi Costeggiola Soave 2014 (12.5%, €15.45, O’Briens)
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – most Soave is swill.
Well, to be fair, most is technically drinkable, if fairly simple, but lacking in flavour. It’s what you see on the label of the cheapest whites at your local convenience store. Over 85% of Soave production is made by co-operatives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when prices are fairly low then production targets are nearly always based on quantity rather than quality.
After a fantastic Amarone masterclass given by Count Guiseppe Rizzardi, we were treated to a glass of Rizzardi’s Soave with the first course of lunch. It is produced from a single vineyard on the hill of Costeggiola in the oldest part of the Soave wine region, just to the east of Verona. The soil is volcanic and the slope of the hill is steep enough to require terracing – add all of this to a southerly aspect and you have the right ingredients for some serious wine.
The blend is 70% Garganega (the minimum stipulated by the DOC regulations) and 30% Chardonnay (with other varieties also permitted). The vines are between 10 and 40 years old, a good indicator of potential quality. As is the norm the wines do not see any oak during fermentation or maturation. 2014 was a cooler vintage in Soave, meaning a longer growing season.
The 2014 is clean, tangy, with appreciable texture. It has citrus, tropical and stone fruit notes – it’s a complex, versatile, enjoyable wine.
Suffice it to say that I popped to my local O’Briens store and cleaned them out of this wine!