Coffele Castel Cerino Soave Classico DOC, Veneto, Italy.
Soave is a famous Italian white wine region. The town of Soave, in the heart of the Classico zone, lends it its name. Here a magnificent walled fortress dominates the landscape. From its swallow-tailed vantage points, you can see far and wide. It seems besieged by rolling limestone and volcanic hills. On these grow a dense sea of vines. Great producers here include Coffele Castel Cerino.
Classico represents the ancient and superior enclave. In contrast, “ordinary Soave” is usually an insipid industrialised wine. That’s because it comes from overcropped vines grown on the flat plains to the south. That 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.
In contrast, the best producers show just how elegant their white wines can be. They are Suave indeed.
Soave has 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. Another partner is often Trebbiano di Soave, the local name for Verdicchio, which 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 is being carried on by their children, Alberto and Chiara.
Their 25 ha of vineyards lay to the north, at Castelcerino. Those 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 needed 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 – the Coffele family are horse breeders too.
Coffele Castel Cerino is 100% pure Garganega. The harvest is by hand, and can last from August to late October. Several vineyard passes are made, selecting the ripest bunches each time. At Coffele, the grape varieties ferment in stainless steel. Castel Cerino sees no oak in maturation.
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 finesse before a clean, refreshing almond finish. This 2015 vintage is drinking now, but is capable of developing over the next three years.
Of course, like 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!
Then again, drink it as an aperitivo. Take a chilled 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.
Hence I never tire of the Soave from Coffele. The wines are good value and show how terrific this wine can be.
Coffele Castel Cerino is £8.75 from The Wine Society
If you like Castel Cerino then try the other Coffele wines:
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
Needless to say, their sparkling wine and Recioto are excellent too. I recommend a visit and if you do then also try their Valpolicella and Amarone.
Azienda Agricola Alberto Coffele
Via Roma, 5
Meanwhile, another good visit to make nearby is Fasoli Gino, read my review!