As I pack for tonight's long trip over to Verona in Italy's Veneto region, it seems only appropriate to talk briefly about Veneto wine.
As I've discussed before, there's a special pleasure in re-discovering Veneto, the broad Northeastern region that runs from the Alps and scenic Lake Garda down toward Venice. Like many other wine regions where climate and soil make viticulture possible on an agri-business scale, the region produces a lot of mass-market wine, not least a river of everyday Pinot Grigio.
But in its most favored zones - particularly on hillside vineyard land - its respectfully grown vines and carefully produced wines can be memorable. And it's been good news, in recent years, to see two familiar regional names - red Valpolicella and white Soave - regaining their reputation after a time when industrial-type wines largely dominated the market.
But quality producers fought to bring back the reputations of both regions, particularly the favored hillside regions whose vineyards make wines entitled to bear the designation "Classico." They've beaten back proposals to allow heavier vineyard yields, and won the right to experiment with non-traditional blends in addition to the traditional (and excellent) Corvina of Valpolicella and Garganega of Soave.
So it is with today's wine from Gini, a respected producer. This basic bottling is 100 percent Garganega made from 40-year-old vines, and it never sees oak or malolactic fermentation, fostering a pure manifestation of fruit.
I've got to get packed, so let's move right on to my tasting report. I'll try to get out another <i>30 Second Wine Advisor</i> on a travel schedule next Monday, returing to regular publication on April 2.
<table border="0" align="right" width="125"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/gini0316.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Gini 2005 Soave Classico ($13.99)
Made 100 percent from the indigenous Garganega grape and made entirely in stainless steel, Gini's Soave Classico offers pure expression of fruit. A transparent straw color, it breathes rich aromas of honey and almonds, figs and dates, with more delicate floral overtones. Medium body is shaped by zippy acidity; white-fruit and floral flavors mirror the nose and persist in a long finish. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio, and other regional importers. (March 16, 2007)
<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> An excellent pairing with fish and seafood, including my choice, sauteed red snapper fillets with lemon.
<B>VALUE:</B> The lower middle teens seems more than fair, but be warned, there's a lot of profit-taking on this item: Wine-Searcher.com shows U.S. prices ranging all the way from $11 to $20. Shop wisely, and if your merchant is seeking a price near the upper end of this range, you might want to ask why.
<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Its aromatics might gain a little richness with a year or two of aging under good cellar conditions, but consider it iffy for cellaring. It's really meant to be enjoyed reasonably soon after the vintage.
<B>Gini</B> = "<I>Jee-nee</I>"
<B>Soave</B> = "<I>So-AH-vay</I>"
Gini's Website is available in Italian, German and English. Click the text link of your choice from the Flash home page,
<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Today's wine is widely distributed. Find vendors and check prices on Wine-Searcher.com:
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