Everything You Need To Know About Garganega

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Garganega is one of Italy’s oldest and most widely planted wine grape varieties. However, the significance of Garganega is limited to the extent that it makes a particularly famous wine, which is the Soave. The grape variety doesn’t enjoy the fame that the wine made from it does because Garganega’s name seldom features on Soave wine labels.


Garganega is predominantly grown in the Soave region of Veneto Italy. The best vineyards are located on slopes in the hills around Soave city. The variety gives high yields, and the grapes are held together in a loose bunch, due to which they enjoy good ventilation. This particular structural trait reduces the risk of fungal disease and also comes in handy while drying the grapes for the production of sweet wines.

Garganega produces a dry, light-bodied, fresh wine with high acidity. It has aromas of lime, apple, almond and peach. Soave is typically fermented in inert vessels and is not matured in oak. It is meant to be drunk fresh and young.


Garganega’s moderate acidity and high concentration of aromas gives winemakers a lot of bandwidth to experiment with its quality and quantity. Producers who focus on quality are inclined to make classic white wines with complex flavours with the grape.

Fun Wine Fact: Semillon, often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts, is a white grape with a hidden talent. While it may not hog the spotlight, it plays a crucial role in creating some of the world's finest dessert wines, lending its unique character to Sauternes and other lusciously sweet concoctions.

Soave DOC and Soave Classico DOC

Wine made from Garganega in the Soave region is assigned a level to determine its quality.

Soave: A simple Soave with DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) written on it will be a young, fresh and early-drinking wine with simple fruity flavours. This affordable and simple style of wine is predominantly made in flatlands. 

Soave Classico: This is a wine made using grapes that grow on the sides of hills enjoying maximum sun exposure. These styles of wines are slightly riper, with a bit more complexity and mouthfeel.  

Here are some other types of Soave that you may come across:

Soave Spumante: Sparkling Soave wine

Soave Colli Scaliger: Soave wines made on the hills that have a superior terroir, but do not come under the classico zone.

Superiore: This indicated that the Soave wine, irrespective of its style, was made using high quality grapes and was aged for at least eight months. Only one percent of Soave's wines carry this appellation. 

Older Vintage

Although Soave, as a wine, is not meant for long-term ageing, you may come across a handful of wines that have clocked in some years. These high-quality wines develop complex aromas of fennel, honey, caramelised onions and lemon preserves.

Recioto di Soave DOCG

While we know this variety for producing dry wines, Garganega also produces unctuous sweet wines, using the Appassimento method, in which late-harvest or dried grapes are fermented instead of fresh ones. After harvesting the grapes, the winemakers dry them out for several weeks or months. While earlier they used to do so on straw mats, they now dry the grapes on steel trays in temperature-controlled rooms. This accelerates the drying process and helps winemakers to keep an eye on development of the noble rot.

These sweet wines are made in both Soave and Gambellara regions under the name Recioto and have a rich texture, alongside aromas of honey, candied lemon peel, tropical fruits and sweet spices.


Serving Temperature – 7 to 10 degrees Celsius

Glassware - Standard white wine glass

Food Pairing

The Soave is a very simple, straightforward and fruity wine and it goes wonderfully well with all kinds of seafood like clams, squid and scallops. You can also try and pair it with classic Italian dishes such as gnocchi, linguini and risotto. Soave is also a fine company for dishes with citrus dressings, or those packed with aromatic green herbs like tarragon.

A light and refreshing Soave will pair well with a variety of fresh cheeses like goat’s cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, and burrata.

Garganega is one the many interesting wine grape varieties that do not get the appreciation and attention that they deserve. If you like learning about such interesting grape varieties then Sonal Holland Wine Academy is just the place for you. Access world-class knowledge straight from India’s most qualified wine expert to gain confidence and an unbeatable edge in your career.

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Originally published 21st September, 2023


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