The Soave wine area is perhaps the largest vineyard in Europe covering its 6,600 hectares on the hilly range in the eastern section of the province of Verona. It was the first area to obtain the D.O.C. designation in Italy in 1936. In more recent years, it was awarded two additional quality designations, the top quality for wine: Recioto di Soave D.O.C.G. and Soave Superiore D.O.C.G. The oldest areas of provenance are located on the hills between the municipalities of Monteforte d'Alpone and Soave and was defined in 1931; this is considered the the Soave "classica" area. The Colli Scaligeri is a sub-area and is traced from San Martino Buon Albergo to Roncà and includes the valleys of Val di Mezzane, Val d'Illasi, Val Tramigna and Val d'Alpone. The entire area has proved to be a perfect growing area for the Garganega grape for the maximum quality and taste.
Soave appears to derive from "Suaves", a name used to denominate the Suevic who settled in Italy under the rule of the Lombard King Alboin. The area was already known for its agricultural qualities in Roman times. It was a "pagus", a rural district contained within boundaries and perhaps divided into centurie (Roman allotments), renowned for its good locatio and the concentration of its cultivations. During the Middle Ages - when the Castle of Soave was built - wine-growing became increasingly important in this area.
As testimony of how wine entwines with the history of this area and how important the grape harvest was for the inhabitants of Soave in the fourteenth century, an engraving was made on a stone wall beneath the balcony of the Soave Court of Law, proudly claiming « This court of law was built seventy five years after the year one thousand and three hundred [...] when the people of the town pressed grapes with their feet ».
The D.O.C. wines are Soave, Soave classico, Soave spumante and Soave Colli Scaligeri.
Soave derives from a practised combination of Garganega grapes - at least 70% - with the Trebbiano di Soave, Chardonnay and Pinot bianco grapes, making up to 30% of the total. This blend makes for a straw yellow wine with some hints of green, an intense and delicate fragrance, and dry, medium-bodied, well-orchestrated and slightly bitter taste. Its geographical location and proximity to the main paths of communication to the south, and the historical and monumental importance of the territory, make Soave the third most important centre of interest in the Verona area, trailing only Verona and Lake Garda.
The Strada del Vino (Wine Road) connects vineyards and parish churches along an idyllic fifty kilometre itinerary, offering visitors beautiful landscapes and the chance to visit Roman churches, villas, castles and museums.
As well as the outstanding natural beauty of the rolling hills dotted with castles, villa and ancient rural churches, the winemaking culture offers a glimpse at the centuries-old traditions of the land, embodied best along the Soave wine route.
The three interconnecting valleys Illasi, Mezzane and d'Alpone have given rise to one of the most representative tastes of the Veneto, the Recioto and Soave wines. In your Verona holiday you can find one of the largest vine growing areas in Europe, with 6,600 hectaresdedicated to the cultivation of the Garganega and Trebbiano grapes, the 'gold' of the gastronomy of Soave.
There are a total of 13 centres which devote their lives to winemaking on the hills, and each also houses its own magnificent monuments and charm. The eastern hills are one of the sources of pride of the Veneto Region, because they contain an atmosphere to be found only here; its food and wine are also unique.
Following the Soave wine route allows you to sample the food and wine, the hills, the natural beauty, each with its own particular flavour. The pleasures of the table combine with the enjoyment of nature, of history, culture and art, transforming one sinlge interest into an all-round and perfect vacation.