Bardolino wine originates in the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Garda. Its boundaries are defined by natural elements: Monte Baldo to the north, the shores of the lake to the east and the Adige river to the west. Only the few metres of the Adige river separates the Bardolino DOC from the Valpolicella DOC. However, the diversity of climate and geology of the two areas creates very different terroirs. That’s why Bardolino and Valpolicella are completely different wines even if both uses the same grapes.
The vast mass of water in the lake, colder than the air in summer and warmer in winter, mitigates both the summer heat and the rigours of winter. As a result, Lake Garda climate is exceptionally mild and temperate, a sort of Mediterranean bubble. In fact here, together with the typical crops of the vine and olive trees, grow cedars, lemons, palms, agaves and myrtle.
Soil is very complex. It is formed by deposits of stones, silt, gravel and sand accumulated during 4 glaciations that have affected Lake Garda and Europe since a million years ago. The thrust of the glaciers, digging the soil and dragging accumulations of debris has left the moraines, concentric and circular weirs. Today these piles of debris shape the hills surrounding the Lake, forming a sort of natural amphitheatre.
From this terroir come light, fresh and easy drinking wines. Book your Bardolino wine tour to discover this region with a private wine guide!
The Bardolino blend is mainly based on Corvina Veronese, which can make up to 95% of the blend and with at least 5% Rondinella. Other black grape varieties are allowed in small quantities, among which Molinara is very common, with pinkish berries and known as “salted grapes” for its particular balance that does not push neither on acidity nor tannins, bringing out the flavor.
The most common type is the “base” one, Bardolino DOC. It is a light red wine, with fruity aromas of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate and hints of spices such as cinnamon and clove. Not infrequently it is served slightly chill in summer to enhance the natural acidity and combined with lake fish. In the Superiore DOCG version it is aged at least one year before sale. As a result it gains more body and structure. The addition of the words “Classico” on the label can be found if the grapes come from the historical part of the DOC.
The wine that is experiencing a great success is the Chiaretto, the rosé version of Bardolino. Chiaretto is obtained with the “vinification in pink” of the grapes. This means a short maceration of the skins which release only a small part of the coloring substances and tannins to the must. Its bright pink colour is reminiscent of peach blossom. While at the nose shows notes of wild flowers and berries and thanks to its marked freshness and sapidity it is an excellent aperitif wine. It is produced in still and sparkling wine version.
Bardolino Novello is another type of Bardolino, obtained by the carbonic maceration process. The whole bunches are placed in airtight steel containers that are saturated with carbon dioxide. In these conditions the fermentation takes place inside the grapes (intracellular). After 2 weeks, the grapes are crushed and started to normal alcoholic fermentation. The whole process is very fast and the wine is drunk young, traditionally in autumn with roasted chestnuts.
The Garda olive oil
Olio del Garda DOP is another important product of the hills of Lake Garda In fact in the higher slopes, the vines gives way to the olive tree groves. The traditional olive varieties are Casaliva, Gargnà and Favarol. But in recent years have been also added varieties from Tuscany such as Leccino. The Garda oil has a greenish-yellow colour due to the presence of chlorophyll and is distinguished by its delicate and soft taste due to its low acidity.
On the Bardolino wine tour you can combine a visit to one or more wineries with a visit to an oil mill to taste both local wine and oil.