SCAIA: Fun Wines That Break the Rules

Are you a rule breaker? Do you like a taste of something a little different in your wine glass once in a while? If so, we have two wines for you to taste. These wines from SCAIA break the blending rules in their region and carry an IGT classification. They are easy sipping and reasonably priced wines; we received both as tasting samples.

Like every other country in the European Union, Italy is subject to strict winegrowing and winemaking regulations. Grape varieties, vineyard yields, production methods and aging requirements are regulated by region. In order for a wine to be classified DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) or DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) for a region, wines must meet all of these standards and a defined quality standard. If a winemaker, for instance, uses grape varieties (or proportions) not allowed in the region, the wine cannot be classified DOC or DOCG regardless of quality. 

Sometimes in the interest of creating a wine that’s a bit different winemakers follow their own path and break the rules. Such is the case with these SCAIA wines made by Tenuta Sant’Antonio whose first vintage was 1995. Tenuta Sant’Antonio makes its home in eastern Valpolicella and the four Castagnedi brothers are known for their Valpolicella and Amarone made using estate grapes. 

The SCAIA brand was introduced in 2006 to make wines in a modern style outside the DOCG and DOC regulations. Both are sourced from the communes of Colognola ai Colli, Illasi, and Mezzane di Sotto in the eastern part of Veneto’s Valpolicella region, but winemaker Paolo Castagnedi doesn’t follow the blending rules for either wine.

2019 SCAIA Garganega/Chardonnay, Trevenezie IGT photo
2019 SCAIA Garganega/Chardonnay, Trevenezie IGT

2019 SCAIA Garganega/Chardonnay, Trevenezie IGTlight golden with a greenish cast in the glass. Aromas are citrusy, a bit grassy and slightly tropical. Flavors tend more toward tropical with passion fruit, ripe pear and hints of dried grass. Tart acidity keeps the wine lively. 12.5% abv. SRP $14

This wine makes me think of Sauvignon Blanc but with notes of passion fruit. It’s easy sipping and will be enjoyable on a warm afternoon. It is a blend of 55% Garganega and 45% Chardonnay.

2018 SCAIA Corvina, Veneto IGT photo
2018 SCAIA Corvina, Veneto IGT

2018 SCAIA Corvina, Veneto IGTtranslucent ruby in the glass with perfumed aromas of ripe plums with herbal notes. Red fruit flavors lead with raspberries, pomegranates and blackberries. Herbal notes of dried hay fill in the background and are supported by slightly drying tannins in a barely medium body. 13% abv. SRP $14

Corvina stands alone in this light red wine and because it is not blended with other red varieties as required, it cannot be classified as Valpolicella DOC. I enjoy this lighter style of red wine and it will be most welcome in my glass this summer. It’s also very good slightly chilled.

Both wines are made entirely in stainless steel. These are bright, fresh wines made to be enjoyed when they’re young. Both are very low in alcohol and the price is very attractive.

Thanks to Tenuta Sant’Antonio and Jarvis Communications for this taste of something a little different. These wines break the rules and in doing so they succeed. The US importer is Dalla Terra Winery Direct.


One Comment

  1. I discovered the Scaia Garganega-Chardonnay a year or two ago in my local coop and I can’t stop buying it! It’s delightful. Surprised it isn’t more popular. I think people just have yet to discover it. Also love that the bottles have a glass cork which is both elegant and practical as I can reuse them. Rules were made to be broken by those who know what they’re doing!