As a wine blogger, I get free bottles regularly. Not all are worth mentioning, but still most get attention on either Wijnkronieken.nl or my Facebook and Twitter pages. And some are just more special than others. Such a bottle was the 2008 Rocca Sveva Castelcerino from Cantina di Soave. I received it from a contact at the Digital Wine Communication Conference in Rioja last year. The flamboyant Magda Beverari Mazerolles, who writes for her own Le Vin Parfait, but also works for Cantine di Soave, presented me with a bottle after I had a sip of this intriguing wine at the Wine Mosaic stand.
I remember thinking: Soave, from 2008…?? Most of the time, Soave is a relatively simple wine, to be drunk young. But the sip Magda offered me convinced me otherwise, and I happily accepted the bottle to taste more attentively at home. For the rest of the winter and the following spring, I forgot about the bottle, but last week, when I went looking for something to go with pasta carbonara, I came across it. I was not sure if it would make a good combination, but decided to open it anyhow. And we were blown away! What a wine, what power, what complexity! No, it was not the ideal combination with pasta carbonara, but we enjoyed the wine around, not with, the meal J. Think of subtle smells of honey, almonds and flowers. Add some lively acidity, a smooth feeling on the tongue and a very lengthy, almondy finish, and maybe you have some idea of what we had in our glass (but probably not). It doesn’t matter: if ever you have a chance to try an older Rocca Sveva wine, please do so!
Rocca Sveva is a special project of Cantina di Soave, and also the name of the top line with the finest wines. Selection of the best grapes from cru’s like Castelcerino is the main defining characteristic, according to the website. In August 2013, the Borgo Rocco Sveva-project celebrated its tenth anniversary, and probably that’s why the Cantina was happy to share some bottles. The Rocco Sveva estate was created in 2003, with the building of a state-of-the-art winery in a restored historical villa in an outlying quarter of the medieval town of Soave, at the foot of the castle. Together with my bottle, I received a nice booklet on the history of the place, which goes back to the early Middle Ages. I learnt that the word Soave comes from the name of a Germanic tribe, the Swabians, but also that medieval travellers referred to the area by calling the countryside ‘gentle’, ‘soave’.
By telling the history of the place and tying it to the making of fine wines, Cantine di Soave wants to ‘strengthen the bond between the local area and its entire culture on the one side and, on the other, a particular culture and science, that of wine, that over the centuries came into being and matured’. A mouthful, but in this case, having tasted this wine, I am pretty sure these are not hollow words. I for one am glad to have tasted this old Soave, this gentle wine, experienced the potential of the garganega grape and shared a bit of culture in a glass. Thank you, Magda, and thank you, Cantine di Soave.