Bardolino Wine Guide
Bardolino is a very light and bright red wine that finds its home on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. It is the little brother of Valpolicella wine since the main grapes used to produce it are the same, namely Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara.
But if it is true that Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rossignola, Marzemino, and Rossignola can also be added to the blend, what matters most is the influence of Lake Garda. So much that it is good not to confuse Bardolino with Valpolicella! Sure, they certainly look a lot alike and have many organoleptic characteristics in common. But the difference in soils and the strong influence of the lake make Bardolino an interesting and never banal wine.
Lake that, with its winds, mitigates the rigor of winter and brings refreshment during summer, helping a little with the temperature range at night and keeping the grapes fresh (not humid) on the gentle hills that rise around the waters.
But why is this terroir so particular and important for the wine? The soils are based on moraine sediments that have settled over the centuries thanks to the action of ancient glaciers, disappeared for millennia.
Organoleptic characteristics of Bardolino wine
But in the end, how is this Bardolino?
A wine that can also boast the DOCG (not that it means a lot in Italy…) with the Bardolino Superiore version and takes its name from the place of production, a privilege reserved only for great wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, and Soave. Well, Bardolino is an unpretentious wine, ready to drink, slender, fragrant, and endowed with graceful drinkability; it is usually not very aged in wood unless it is a particularly valuable wine.
Not that simplicity is a defect, on the contrary, it is a great gift, since we are not talking about one of the great Italian immortal reds but about a ready-to-drink wine. Bardolino Chiaretto is much more interesting. It is an irresistible pink wine with delicate aromas of strawberries, berries, and grapefruit. It also has an interesting saltiness that makes it hard to put down.
If you are looking for a pink wine for your fancy aperitifs or a sharp wine to serve with fish or white meat dishes, Bardolino Chiaretto is a nice wine to try. If you pair it with fried chicken or Thai dishes like Pad Thai, it’s amazing!
Types of Bardolino wine
We have Bardolino Classico, which is only made in the towns of Affi, Bardolino, Cavaion Veronese, Costermano, Garda, and Lazise. Then there is the legendary Bardolino Chiaretto, the classic Chiaretto, the classic sparkling Chiaretto, and last but not least, the ugly Bardolino Novello, a wine made with carbonic maceration, a kind of Beaujolais Nouveau wine.
Vines used to make Bardolino wine
They are a lot, the main one is Corvina Veronese in percentages from 35 to 65; then we have the Rondinella accountable for a percentage from 10 to 40; and we end up with 20% of Molinara, Rossignola, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Marzemino, which, if taken individually, cannot be more than 10% present.
So, it’s a big mess, and it’s difficult for the consumer to approach this wine based on the label, but there are some virtuous wineries and some wines that deserve consideration.
Bardolino food pairings
As we have seen, the faces of Bardolino are many, and starting from Chiaretto, we can combine it with fish and spicy Indian dishes or pasta with pesto. If you are dealing with a more structured and tannic Bardolino, switch to second courses of meat, baked lasagna, carbonara, pumpkin cappellacci with meat sauce or BBQ classics such as brisket and pulled pork.