Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Garganega, vigorous, productive, often over-productive, late-ripening white grape variety of the veneto region in north east Italy. Its most famous incarnation is soave, in which it may constitute anything from 70 to 100% of the blend, often sharpened up by the addition of trebbiano di Soave (verdicchio), but increasingly plumped up by chardonnay and other imports. In the Soave classico zone, with yields kept well in check, and where it is allowed to ripen fully, it can produce the fine, delicate whites redolent of lemon and almonds which give Soave a good name. Naturally high in acid, it can give balanced yet steely wines that have an alluring, delicate spiciness. The vine is also responsible for gambellara—indeed Garganega di Gambellara is its most important subvariety—but Garganega has such a long history in Veneto that it has developed myriad, if rarely particularly interesting, strains, clones, and subvarieties. Other wines in which it plays a major part include Bianco di custoza, Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, and it is also grown to a more limited extent in both friuli and umbria. The Italian vine census of 2010 lists total plantings of Garganega as a fairly steady; 11,291 ha/27,888 acres, but the surprising dna profiling discovery in 2007 that it is identical to the grecanico dorato of Sicily is not incorporated so that the over 4,000 ha of the latter are listed separately. Garganega also seems to be a parent of a wide range of Italian varieties. It is also grown in Australia.