Garganega, pronounced “gahr-gah-Neh-gah”, is a green grape from Italy. It is famous above all for being the main grape in dry as well as sweet wines produced in Venice’s sub-region Soave.

Characteristics
Garganega is an aromatic grape with medium low acidity. Typ­i­cal fla­vours are lemon, white flow­ers, and notes of tro­pi­cal fruit. If the vine is not sub­mit­ted to green har­vest it will give high yields. So, a wine­maker who wants to put qual­i­ty be­fore quant­i­ty will be busy with prun­ing during the growth sea­son.

Wines
Garganega can be found as a varietal wine but it is more common that you find it as the main ingredient in a blend with Trebbiano or Pinot Bianco. There are also wineries that will add Chardonnay to the blend.

The type of wine will either be a dry white Soave Classico or a sweet Recioto di Soave. The Soave Classico is refreshing with medium acidity, and aromas and flavours of lemon, white flowers and melon. The sweet Recioto di Soave has more of both fresh as well as dry tropical fruit.

Food pairing
As the Soave Classico is low on acidity, you need to pair with dishes that match this, e.g. that also are low on acidity. Risotto is a good choice. The wine will be at its best at 10-12°C/50-54°F.

The Recioto di Soave will pair excellently with various desserts. The wine is best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F.

Where is it grown?
Garganega is an Italian variety grown almost exclusively Italy. In 2010, the world-wide acreage was 15.402 ha/38,059, corresponding to a decrease of seven percent in ten years.

In Italy, there are plantings of 15.375 ha/37,992 ac, which makes Garganega the thirteenth most planted grape in the country.

There are plantings in several regions, although the vast majority of planted area is to be found in three regions.

  • Venice 10.719 ha/26,487 ac, above all in Verona and Vicenza regions
  • Sicily 4.003 ha/9,892 ac
  • Apulia 438 ha/1,082 ac

Outside of Italy, there is a small acreage in Argentina, and what appears to be an experimental planting (e.g. very small) reported from Brazil.

History
Garganega’s history is a bit of a mystery. It is related to several other white Italian grapes, but if it is a parent or an offspring is not yet clear. One thing is clear though. It is an old variety with documentation that goes back to the thirteenth century. It is recognized as being native to north-eastern Italy’s Veneto region.