Garganega

Origin: Italy
DNA profiling has shown that it has a close genetic relation with many Italian grapes, and even that it is the same grape variety as Grecanico Dorato (that is pretty much only grown in Sicilia)

Grown: Italy (Veneto and Sicilia)

Climate: Varied, Mediterranean and Continental climate, moderate to warm temperatures

Soil: Volcanic rock and limestone

Viticulture: Generous yields that must be strictly controlled to preserve quality. Good example of lower yields = higher quality. Has open bunches that naturally reduces risk of fungal diseases, which helps in the making of dessert wines. Late ripening

Vinification: Generally vinified to dry wines or sometimes done passito style where the grapes are left out to dry until almost raisin like, giving a sweet and extremely concentrated wine

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Soave Superiore DOCG and Soave DOC
  • Gambellara DOC
  • Recioto di Soave DOCG (dessert wine)
  • Recioto di Gambellara DOCG (dessert wine)
  • Alcamo DOC (as Grecanico Dorato)

General Personality:

  • Colour: Straw
  • Aromas: Peach, almond, apricot, tangerine, steely, fresh ginger
  • Taste and Texture: Moderate to high acidity, high concentration of aromas
  • Conclusion: Elegant perfume, generally a very clean profile. For this one, the philosophy of the farmer will easily be readable in the wine. A small limited yield from a well-cared for vineyard can be outstanding, elegant and complex, while a bulk wine will taste like lemon juice mixed with water
    The sweet wines from Garganega can have an amazing flavour profile (honey, candied citrus, baked banana and sweet spice), and generally a good balance between sweetness and acidity (that oh-so important balance that makes all the difference)
  • Future: Garganega can age surprisingly well (especially the dessert wines), bringing out more nutty aromas with age, but far from all wines from Garganega are made for aging, the majority is made to be drunk young

Food pairings:

  • General: The clean profile of Garganega makes it a very easy wine to pair with food in general. Its best friend is though a bit of an unexpected one… Pesto. Anything with pesto will be a match made in heaven with Garganega. Be it in a pasta or just over some fresh ITALIAN tomatoes, it will always do the trick
  • Obvious pairing: Baked tofu with Vegan Pesto Sauce
    Simple but o so good. And for some reason, Garganega seems to bring out the best from unflavoured tofu (which honestly no one can say tastes good on its own) but with some Garganega, it is not all that bad. Here is a modern twist on a pesto, making for a perfect party starter on some puff pastry
  • On the wild side: Banh mi with crispy tofu and pickled vegetables
    Vietnam and Italy have never been better together! Try this recipe! The delicate tofu, with the pickled vegetables that matches the acidity in the wine perfectly and the green herbs playing with the delicate flavour aroma of the Garganega, all is in perfect harmony. I might admit that the European in me added some vegan mayonnaise to the bread, which suited my preferences, but that is all up to you
  • A Sweet Treat: Almond cake with summer fruit
    Hopefully obvious but I will say it either way. Do not pair a sweet Recioto di Soave or Gambellara with pesto or tofu.
    For a sweet wine, you generally want sweet food (with many exceptions, but tofu is not one of them). In my dreams I pair a bottled of Recioto with this cake. Playing with the almond and peach tones of the wine. The cake is not to sweet, making the balance between the wine and the cake perfect