Gini Soave La Frosca 2004
When wine is sold cheaply in large jugs or containers, it tends to taint the name rather badly
among American consumers. We know this from the sad tale of American “Chablis,” an
unfortunate appropriation of a great French appellation (and one of the finest expressions of
the Chardonnay grape) to refer to generic “cheap white wine” of nearly any grape. The
damage to Soave's reputation may be even worse, since it has been the Italians who have
been bottling the stuff in bulk; unlike the Chablis that really isn't, the Soave in jugs is real
Soave, only of poor quality. As any savvy bargain hunter knows, however, when the name of
a wine is not in favor, you can often acquire true quality for a lot less money. You can be
sure that if the name “Chablis” hadn't been so thoroughly compromised, the wines would cost
much more. After all, Chablis is an elegant name, and very easy to pronounce. So, for that
matter, is the Veneto's Soave.
It is also an east wine to drink. Gini produces its $16 wine from 100% Garganega grapes
(avoiding the commonly used Chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave) from its hillside vineyards
known as “La Frosca.” This wine gives you an apple tart with a caramelized sugar topping on
the nose combined with a little fresh minerality. Where the wine really shines is in the mouth
feel; the pastry shop continues to sell its wares but only the smooth-as-silk fresh-baked
confections. The wine may have a dollop of sweet on the palate, but this may be indeed the
resonance of sweetness rather than true residual sugar, largely due to the honeyed elegance in
the mouth. Well-balanced, the wine has both a frothy creaminess and a refreshing bitter edge
that carries over into the finish. At the end you are left with apple, pear and apricot stone.
Verdict: More Soave like this, please
I am always on the lookout for white wine alternatives to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. They are out there, and they are often values.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman