I first visited the Prà winery on a press trip for Soave a few years ago and really enjoyed the wines. We all had a nice time tasting and drinking the wine, having lunch and speaking to Graziano Prà, the owner of the winery.
Recently, I was invited to the Veneto by Michele Montresor, the president and Giulio Liut, the director of VignaioliVeneti, a newly formed association of over fifty of the Veneto’s top small producers. I was told that one of the producers we would visit was Azienda Agricola Prà. I was very happy to accept the invitation.
The winery is located in Monteforte d’Albone in the heart of the Soave Classico area.
When we arrived we were greeted Graziano and Diego “Corr” Corradi.
Soave Classico DOC “OTTO” 2016 100% Garganega from Monteforte d’Alpone. The vineyards are 30 to 60 years old; the exposure is southeast, at 150 to 250 meters. The soil is organic and the training system is Pergola Veronese. Harvest is from the 15th of September to the 15th of October. The grapes are softly pressed before undergoing fermentation at 16 degrees /18 degrees C. The wine is fermented and matured in stainless steel vats. This is a medium bodied wine with hints of jasmine, peach, apricot and mineral notes.
Soave Classico DOC “STAFORTE” 2015. 100% Garganega. The wines are 30 to 40 years old, exposure is south, at 150 to 200 meters and the soil is volcanic. The training system is the Pergola Veronese. A selection of the best grapes from all the vineyards are used for this wine. Harvest is from the 20th of September to the 10Th of October. The wine is fermented and retained in stainless steel tanks with regular batonnage for 6 months. This is a fruity easy drinking wine with hints of apricot, peach and golden apple with notes of chamomile and white flowers.
Before tasting the Montegrande Soave Classico and lunch we were led on a walking tour led by Diego up a very steep hill to the historic Montegrande vineyard which is in the heart of the Soave Classico production zone.
Diego spoke about the vineyard and the way the vines are trained. He said the vineyard was 4 hectares and the rich volcanic soil here is different from other areas of the Soave region.
The Garganega vines are grown on a Pergola (called a Tondone in the South). The vines grow on trellises and the leaves cover and protect the grapes from the sun. It can be a unilateral Pergola, or uni – or bi-lateral pergoletta Veronese (Pergola Veronese), the type used here. This Pergola does not close all the way in the middle allowing sunlight to come through.
The guyot is used for the Trebbiano di Soave.
He said that when the grapes reach optimal maturity the grape stalks of the clusters are twisted to prevent lymphatic flow. The grapes then dry on the vine for about a month and the juice becomes more concentrated and richer because of this method.
Soave Classico “MONTEGRANDE” 2016 Garganega 70% and Trebbiano di Soave 30%. The Garganega is Pergola Veronese trained and the Trebbiano di Soave is Guyot trained and harvested in mid September. The grapes are dried on the vines for one month. The harvest is in October. The grapes are destemmed and softly pressed. Fermentation is carried out at 18 degrees C in large 15 to 20 HL Allier oak casks. The wine then is left to mature in casks for 10 months.
Graziano said minerality is the distinctive characteristic of this cru. This is a complex, elegant wine with hints of mature exotic fruit and citrus fruit with notes of almonds and a touch of vanilla. It has a very pleasing aftertaste and a long finish.
He said this wine has a good aging potential which was an understatement, as we then had a tasting of the wine going back to 2001.
2011 Montegrande – starting to take on some color, like the 2016 but more developed, this wine was a pleasure to taste and drink.
2007 Very smooth with a very pleasing finish and aftertaste and showing no signs of age. Also a pleasure to drink.
2005 this was the only one showing some age with a golden apple color but still drinking very well.
2003 seemed younger that the 2005 but showing a little age.
2001 This was the wine of the tasting, in excellent condition with all of the aromas and flavors of the 2016 only much more developed. The wine was smooth and the aromas and flavors jumped out of the glass. On the palate the fruit tasted warm and welcoming.
All of the wines have the same profile and after tasting and drinking them I can say that Monte Grande is a very special Soave.
We also tasted: Valpolicella DOC “Morandina”, Valpolicella Ripasso and an Amarone della Valpolicella. They are all made from Corvina, Corvione, Rondinella and Oseleta grapes.
Even though this is an article on Soave I really enjoyed these red wines with the steak that we had for lunch.