Skip to main content

Current topics, themes, musings and travel notes

June 15, 2023

Fifty Years of Superb Soave

Pieropan’s Calvarino should be one of the coolest whites you’re drinking

There are great wines and there are cool wines. Sometimes the two categories meet. Sometimes, for hard to explain reasons, they don’t.

Soave producer Pieropan’s Calvarino was an avant-garde revelation when it debuted 50 years ago as one of Italy’s first single-vineyard cru wines.

Calvarino's 50th anniversary tasting Dario Pieropan wine educator Filippo Bartolotta MW Gabriele Gorelli Andrea Pieropan

From left to right at Calvarino's 50th anniversary tasting Dario Pieropan, wine educator Filippo Bartolotta, MW Gabriele Gorelli, Andrea Pieropan. Photo credit Robert Camuto

The wine, bracingly fresh and minerally with a long and graceful aging potential, still is on the cutting edge.

As ever, it’s organically grown, on volcanic soils, fermented in vitrified concrete, using local yeasts, aged there on lees, with minimal sulfites added, and not exposed to a stick of wood.

It’s delicious stuff that’s well priced at less than $30.

And yet….

It’s simply not fashionable wine, which tells you more about wine fashion than it does about wine.

Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of Italian whites (Italy’s secret weapon!) in a country better known for reds.  Perhaps its Soave’s lackluster image forged by a lot of mediocre wine from big producers. Or maybe the fact that Pieropan’s U.S. distribution is handled by the rather un-cool E&J Gallo winery.

Whatever the reason, Pieropan and Calvarino merit more attention among Italy’s greats.

Read about it in my latest Robert Camuto Meets… at

Sala Calvarino Cement tanks in which Pieropan's Calvarino cru is fermented and aged before bottling

Sala Calvarino Cement tanks in which Pieropan's Calvarino cru is fermented and aged before bottling. Photo courtesy of Pieropan