Coffele Castel Cerino
Coffele Castel Cerino. Soave Classico DOC, Veneto, Italy. 2015. 12.5%
Soave is a famous Italian white wine region. The town of Soave in the heart of the Classico zone lends it its name. A magnificent fortress, complete with impressive crenellated walls dominates the landscape. From these swallow-tailed vantage points, it becomes clear that it is surrounded by rolling limestone and volcanic hills on which grow a dense sea of vines.
Classico represents the ancient and superior enclave. In contrast, “ordinary Soave” is an insipid industrialised wine produced by overcropped vines grown on the flat plains to the south. This part accounts for 80% of all Soave production and makes a huge volume of cheap, dull wine. No wonder the image of Soave remains stubbornly cheerless in the UK.
Fortunately, the best producers show just how elegant their white wines can be. They are Suave indeed.
Soave exists in three guises; as a dry white wine, a sparkling wine and a gloriously rich and sweet Recioto made from dried grapes. The mainstay of Soave is Garganega, a late-ripening grape variety capable of excellent quality. Other white grapes are allowed in Soave, including Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco. A regular partner is often Trebbiano di Soave, the local name for Verdicchio, which, in the right hands can add a little more crispness.
Azienda Agricola Alberto Coffele is in the heart of the medieval town, right on the main street. In 1971, Giuseppe and Giovanna Coffele retired as teachers to rejuvenate this previously dormant wine estate. Now this work is being carried on by their children, Alberto and Chiara.
Their 25 ha of vineyards lay to the north, at Castelcerino. Terraced hillsides are planted mainly with Garganega, with Trebbiano di Soave, Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. There is also a small amount of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. At nearby Campiano, they also grow the red varieties for their Amarone and Valpolicella.
The estate is organic and with an abundance of olive, cherry, and oak trees. They are rightly proud that their organic manure comes from their stables – Coffele are horse breeders too.
Coffele Castel Cerino is 100% pure Garganega. The harvest is by hand. Several vineyard passes are made during September and October to select the ripest bunches. The grape varieties are fermented separately in stainless steel and see no wood.
Pale yellow with green hints, the aroma’s are fresh and welcoming. Blossom, minerals, and apple are to the fore. Good balance, a moderate level of alcohol and soft acids bring mouth-filling texture and finesse before a clean refreshing almond finish. This 2015 vintage is drinking now, but is capable of developing over the next three years.
As with most Italian wines, Coffele Castel Cerino shines with food. Seafood like scallops are an obvious match, but pairing with asparagus risotto is a classic. Try spinach and ricotta tortellini; those delicious pasta parcels seem tailor-made. Or just do a simple Greek salad, the choice is yours!
As for an aperitivo, nothing beats a cold glass of Coffele, perhaps on the shady terrace of the Enoteca Il Drago in Soave. This favoured spot is just a few yards up the street from the Coffele winery and cellars. A story for another time.
I never tire of the Soave from Coffele. They are good value and show how good Soave can be.
Coffele Castel Cerino is £8.75 from The Wine Society
If you like Castel Cerino then try the other Coffele Soave Classico’s in the range:
Ca’ Visco (75% Garganega and 25% Trebbiano di Soave) £12.10 at Le Langhe, York
Alzari (100% Garganega, 40% dried grapes and barrel-aged) £20.00 at Huntsworth Wine, London
Azienda Agricola Alberto Coffele
Via Roma, 5