The Pieropan family's association with Soave, in Italy's Veneto region, stretches back to 1890, when Leonildo Pieropan established the company. It has been run by the founder's grandson, Leonildo, assisted by his wife Teresita and their two sons Andrea and Dario, until Leonildo, who everyone knew as Nino, passed away in April 2018. He has left a wonderful and lasting legacy.
At a time when the reputation of Soave was being undermined by large volumes of low quality brands Pieropan was one of the very few to insist on higher standards to raise quality. The continued success of the Pieropan name in the region is due to great levels of attention to detail in the vineyard and commitment to farming low yields of the indigenous garganega grape long associated with good-quality Soave.
The Pieropan portfolio includes plots in highly regarded Soave crus which are bottled as single-vineyard wines. Perhaps the best-known of these, La Rocca, is situated on the Monte Rocchetta hill named after the medieval fortress which overlooks the town of Soave. This special vineyard has limestone and clay soils which help give the base wine its concentration and lush feel before it is matured in barrels for a year to add further complexity. La Rocca is a powerful expression of Soave that can age beautifully, its finesse and elegance making it a benchmark for the region. Calvarino, more traditional, gently aromatic Soave for earlier drinking, comes from the original Pieropan vineyard, which sits on volcanic soils and is planted with trebbiano as well as garganega.
As a contrast to its dry whites, Pieropan also produces recioto di Soave, a dessert style which is made using super-ripe grapes picked from the outermost 'ears' (recie) of the bunch, which will have enjoyed maximum exposure to the sun. These are left to dry after harvesting to concentrate their sweetness further, a practice also followed in Valpolicella. Le Colombare is made exclusively from garganega, using only the pick of the bunches, air-dried on trays in a spotless chamber in the winery reserved for the purpose.
All Pieropan wines all come in tall, tapered bottles similar to those of Alsace or Germany.