Along the east of Lake Garda, the province of Veneto, in north-eastern Italy, lies around the picturesque town of Bardolino. The wine region takes its name from this town, but it also encompasses a broader area. Wines labelled as Bardolino Classico are those made specifically near the town of Bardolino, itself, from original vineyards.
In 1968, the Bardolino wine region was awarded a DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) status, which means that wines with this classification have certain rules and regulations that have been adhered to in order to be labelled as such. Often the rules and regulations include allowable grapes, vineyard yields, vineyard practices, minimum aging requirements, and more. In 2001, the wine region was awarded a DOCG DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita) status called “Bardolino Superiore.” This is a higher-level classification, with additional production standards, higher alcohol levels, and longer aging requirements.
All Bardolino wines are a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. These are the same grapes used to make Valpolicella, but the wines are quite different, due to the difference in percentages of the specific grapes used, terroir, and vineyard yields. Bardolino contains less Corvina than Valpolicella, making its wines lighter, since Corvina provides body and structure to a wine. Also, vineyard yields in Bardolino are higher than Valpolicella as the regulations are less restrictive there. High vineyard yields often mean that the flavors in the grapes are less concentrated, making lighter wines. Bardolino may also include up to a maximum of 20 percent of any combination of Barbera, Rossignola, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Gargenega. To complicate matters, none of any these other grapes can exceed 10 percent of the final blend.
Bardolino wines are usually fresh-and-fruity, dry wines. The wines are on a bit lighter side of red, with aromas and flavors of cherry, along with hints of spice. For richer versions of these wines, try the Bardolino Classico or Bardolino Superiore. All Bardolino wines pair well with lighter dishes, like pasta, antipasto platter, tapas, charcuterie, and salads.
A few interesting wines produced in the region are the Bardolino Novello and Bardolino Chiaretto. Bardolino Novello, a wine first introduced in 1987, is a light, fresh wine, much like Beaujolais Nouveau. For this wine, 85 percent of the grapes must undergo carbonic maceration, and the wine must be bottled by December 31st of the year the grapes were harvested. Bardolino Chiaretto is a pale rosé, which is predominately made from the Corvina grape. There is also a sparkling rosé made in the region, labelled as “Chiaretto Spumante.”
City Vino will be sampling Le Morette Chiaretto RosÃ© Bardolino Veneto Italy 2018 this weekend so you can get to know Bardolino for yourself!