Pieropan, Veneto (Italy) Soave Classico “Calvarino” 2004

Imported by Empson USA, $30.

Though most soaves are neutral, straw-colored wines that quench thirst but provide little pleasure, more compelling renditions can come from the classico zone in the hills east of Verona. Pieropan's "Calvarino" is an excellent example. This wine offers a bouquet redolent of spring flowers and white peaches, followed by summer fruit flavors enhanced by hints of smoked nuts and dried herbs. It is very well-balanced, with plenty of acidity to guarantee that it stays refreshing, but not so much as to make it tart. Great as an aperitif, it should also delight with salads and other light warm weather fare.