Volcanic Wine in the Veneto

      12 Comments on Volcanic Wine in the Veneto

The Italian landscape is filled with jagged mountains, rolling hills, grassy plains, and stunning coastlines. What really distinguishes Italy is how volcanic activity throughout the country left its mark on the soils. An area not likely on your ‘volcanic soils in Italy’ list, yet where you will find them and plenty of great wine, is the Veneto.

Located in northeast Italy and moving from 12:00 on a clock, the Veneto is situated between the Alps and Trentino-Alto Adige (12:00), the Fruili-Venezia Giulia region (1-3:00), the Adriatic Sea (3-5:00), the Emilia-Romagna region (6:00) and Lake Garda (9:00). The popular cities here are Verona and Venice are here.

Coincidentally, in a recent discussion with friends talking about these two cities I asked where to find a wine produced on volcanic soils in Italy. They all jumped to Mount Etna (Sicily) or Mount Vesuvius (Campania) rightfully so, the most visibly volcanic areas. What most don’t realize is speckled throughout Italy, large amounts of magma made their way through the earth’s crust and hardened into granite, tuffaceous rock and many kinds of basaltic lava. This phenomenon occurred in many areas resulting in the volcanic soils we see in Italy.

Today I’m focusing on one of the Veneto’s 42 DOCs/DOCGs: Soave.

The Hills Are Alive With Volcanic Soil

Volcanic soils scatter over Soave’s hills including the steeper Classico area with 50 million year old volcanic rocks. This DOC contains areas of basaltic lava sub-soils. And according to Ian D’Agata’s Native Wine Grapes of Italy, these hills contain the earliest documented quality wine from the 5th century BC.

Pieropan Calvarino Soave Classico

Pieropan Calvarino Soave Classico The Pieropan Winery was founded in 1880 in the heart of the Soave village in the historic Palazzo Pullici. The family makes a variety of white and red wines and a sparkling wine from the red Corvina grape.

The impressive single-vineyard Calvarino bottling, vines on on clay-rich tufaceous basaltic soil, is made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave (aka Turbiana) grapes grown in the Classico zone. Calvarino is one of the Soave Crus.

Soave Classico DOC Pieropan

A common trellising method in Soave is Pergola, where the vine canopy grows higher off the ground (4-6 ft/1.3-1.9 m) spread out on a horizontal arm as seen here. These here are Garganega grapes in Soave Classico.

Vinification: This wine ages in glass-lined cement tanks for one year on the lees then rests a few months after bottling before release.

Lemon, nectarine, honeysuckle, beeswax and bitter almond aromas are pronounced. The fresh yet elegant palate remains bright and focused at six years of age sharing that lemon, nectarine, crushed stone, beeswax and a certain rich savory quality.

Enjoyed several times, I’ve always been wowed by this wine and the slightly different interpretations each vintage year imparts. The volcanic soils on which the vines for this particular Soave cru grow are known for giving the wine freshness, minerality and a savory, floral quality. That it does here ten-fold, a gorgeous wine!

The Italian Food, Wine and Travel group Talks Volcanic Wines

Jennifer from Vino Travels is leading the #ItalianFWT bloggers in a discussion about volcanic wines this month. We chat on Twitter Saturday, October 3rd at 11am ET, and 17:00 in France and Italy. Follow our hashtag #ItalianFWT for a great discussion, and wine and food ideas!

Camilla at the Culinary Adventures with Camilla features “A Single-Varietal Carricante, an Etna Exclusive, & Lapsang Souchong-Braised Duck Legs”   

Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Grapes grown in Volcanic Soil produce a HOT wine!!!”

Gwendolyn of Wine Predator will have you “Meet Mt Etna’s Volcanic Wines: 3 reds, 3 whites, 3 producers from Sicily with pairings”

Here at Savor the Harvest I share “Volcanic Wine in the Veneto”

Terri at Our Good Life shares “Ashes to Ashes: Volcanic Wine and Sicilian Lentil Soup”  

Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles features “Mount Etna – The Awesome Power of Active Volcanos, and Yes, Red Wine with Fish”

Linda at My Full Wine Glass talks about the wines of “Benanti – Capturing the soul of Mount Etna wine”

Susannah at Avvinare shares “Exploring the Colli Berici in the Veneto” 

Cindy at Grape Experiences shares Personality, Elegance, Value: Tenuta Tascante Ghiaia Nera 2017 from Etna DOC.

Nicole at Somm’s Table is Exploring Etna with Tenuta di Fessina

Our host Jennifer at Vino Travels shares “Fried Eggplant Topped with Fresh Tomatoes and Ricotto Paired with I Custodi Etna Rosso”

Thank you for stopping by!

12 thoughts on “Volcanic Wine in the Veneto

  1. robincgc

    You are so right, on volcanic wines my brain always goes first to Etna and then to Vesuvius. I do remember recent studies into Valpolicella and the different valleys with some having more volcanic soil, and of course that is in the Soave area. I would imagine that deep down, all of Italy is volcanic, it just depends on how deep you dig.
    I know that I have seen the pergolas before, but this was the first time I noticed the wires from row to row. This springtime shot really makes them visible. I imagine that would be so much cooler during harvest, but that far North is that a concern at that time of year?

    1. Lynn Post author

      I had to keep myself from going down a volcanic soil rabbit hole researching for this article. Each corner revealed a soil with a volcanic origin. When we visited this Soave pergola vineyard just above the town, the explanation was it’s not a problem this time of year. It was shared the challenge with Pergola is it’s more labor intensive to work and harvest.Thanks for your comment Robin!

  2. Nicole Ruiz-Hudson

    I totally agree with you — I love Pieropan’s wines and the Calvarino is always wonderful! And you’re totally right to remind us about the volcanic soils of the Veneto. I admit my brain automatically goes to Campania and Sicily as well, but Italy has so many volcanic areas and Soave Classico is such a beautiful expression of volcanic soil.

    1. Lynn Post author

      When shopping for volcanic wines here, I only found Nero d’Avola, which I love, but I wanted something different. Mentioning this to a friend she provided me with the Pieropan from her stash. Nice to have friends who know there are volcanic soils and wines all over Italy!

    1. Lynn Post author

      I think we’ve all probably had way more wine that touches some form of volcanic soil that we know. Thanks for your comment Andrea!

  3. Linda Whipple, CSW

    You’re so right! Etna and Vesuvius are the “go-to” places for volcanic soils but they’re elsewhere – in the Veneto, as you point out, and north into Alto Adige too. Could be part of the reason we love Italian wine, right?

    1. Lynn Post author

      It’s funny because as you know, I had bottles from a producer I was sure was on volcanic soils. Not! Even though there are a great deal of vineyards on volcanic, many are not. Regardless, Pieropan is a star!


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