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Sunday, 6 June 2021

The CWB Soave-Off

A tasting of two Soaves - Tesco vs Private Cellar

Soave - pronounced SWAH-vey and meaning suave - is a region of north east Italy producing white wines. It is just north of Venice in the Veneto region, not far from Verona, where (mostly) Garganega is grown.

Sommelier and all-round charismatic bon viveur Donald Edwards informs me that Soave is grown on volcanic soils, which add to the elegance, precision and linear minerality of the wine.

Soave is Italy's answer to basic white Burgundy; a neutral, medium-bodied, orchard-fruited, lemony white wine with the versatility to accompany a wide range of foods.

Soave was once a best-seller of Italian wines; now eclipsed by the ubiquitous pub white Pinot Grigio, it is making something of a comeback.

Put another way, now is a good time to buy Soave, since quality is ahead of general recognition and therefore pricing.

Tesco Finest Soave Classico Superiore (£7.50, Tesco)

Garganega grown on the Soave Classico hills, partially aged in oak for 10 months.

Rich, ripe pear, white stone fruits and baked apple with citrus, almond blossom, minerality and sweet spices. Elegant and adept.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Match with spaghetti carbonara or meaty white fish in a creamy sauce.

Soave Gregoris, Antonio Fattori, Italy 2018 (£10.75, Private Cellar)

Costing only a few pounds more, but selected by Private Cellar's MW buyer, this is recognisably from the same region and grape, but just a little bit better in every way.

Melon, lime and white stone fruits with orchard fruits, honeysuckle and pebbly minerality. Textured, elegant and precise.


Improves with aeration and will repay some cellaring.

A versatile food wine, drink as an aperitif, with light starters, creamy risottos or lean white met such as chicken or fish.

It is also available in magnums for those "we're gonna need a bigger bottle" occasions.

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