Bardolino is the red wine produced for centuries on the eastern shore of Garda Lake, in the province of Verona (Veneto region). Chiaretto is the rosé version of Bardolino, also produced in its sparkling version with the same grapes of Bardolino.
According to the specifications of Bardolino, the wines produced with grapes harvested in the territories of Bardolino, Garda, Lazise, Affi, Costermano, and Cavaion Veronese can be labelled with the mention ‘classic’. Outside the traditional land, the municipalities listed in the specification as area in which Bardolino DOC is produced are Torri del Benaco, Caprino Veronese, Rivoli Veronese, Pastrengo, Bussolengo, Sona, Sommacampagna, Castelnuovo del Garda, Peschiera del Garda, and Valeggio sul Mincio.
The wines with guarantee of origin Bardolino are obtained by a local vine called Corvina Veronese (the same grape with which, in the neighbouring Valpolicella, Amarone is produced), which can be used up to 80% of the global quantity of grape. For the remainder part, another local vine is used, Rondinella, this one, too, cultivated in Valpolicella.
Instead of a portion of Corvina Veronese (up to a maximum of 20%), it is possible to use other grapes grown in this area, such as Corvinone and Molinara.
Colour, taste, and smell
Even if they have a different production setting, because their identical matrix consists in the same grapes (mainly Corvina and Rondinella), Bardolino and Chiaretto have common features in their fruity fragrance and slight spiciness.
Bardolino has a brilliant ruby red colour, delicately fruity and fragrant, with notes of cherry, morello cherry, strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant, and hints of spices (cinnamon, clove, black pepper ); its taste is dry, soft, characterized by the same sensations of crisp red fruit and small fruit that are perceived by smell, slightly spicy, balanced and fresh.
Chiaretto, characterized by a bright cherry pink, peach blossom, pink coral colour, has a delicate scent of small red fruits (raspberry, redcurrant) and wild flowers, accompanied by light and refreshing scents of chlorophyll and green apple as well as subtle spicy notes (cinnamon, clove, vanilla). Its taste offers full sensations of small red fruit, combined with an enviable youthful freshness.
From traditional courses to fusion or exotic cuisine
Bardolino perfectly matches with the classic Italian cuisine. It is excellent with first courses prepared with every type of pasta (with seasonings meat-, fish-, vegetable-, mushroom-based), rice, ravioli, lasagna pie. Another interesting combination is the one with legume soups, especially with ‘pasta e fagioli’ (pasta and beans) of Veneto. It matches with barnyard meats, baked meats, stewed meats. In its area of origin, it is usually combined with the traditional boiled meat. A very interesting combination is the one with chestnuts- or mushroom-based courses.
On Garda Lake, Bardolino has always been drunk with lake fish: for instance, it is excellent when combined with risotto with tench or with grilled eel. It traditionally accompanies a typical course of Veneto prepared with fish: ‘polenta e baccalà’. If it is served chilled, it is well combined with sea fish, especially of large size, but also with stewed cuttlefish. Who wants to be daring, can taste it with exotic cuisine, either Eastern or North African one.
Chiaretto is perfect as aperitif or pre-dinner. At table, it well accompanies appetizers: cold cuts, fish or vegetables hors d’oeuvres. It goes very well with first courses prepared with pasta (with seasonings of meat, fish or vegetables), ravioli, or the typical Italian summer cuisine: caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, and basil), prosciutto and melon, salad rice, beef carpaccio (thinly-sliced raw meat dressed with oil and Parmigiano cheese). A curious combination is the one with courses prepared with summer black truffle (scorzone).
It is excellent with fish, both sea and lake one, cooked (grilled, baked, with salt, boiled) or raw (fish carpaccio). It can be tasted with paella, clam sauté, or even with shellfishes (grilled prawns). It fits very well Eastern cuisine, spicy one, too, and is combined with sushi.
And for pre-dinner...
... Chiaré is technically a sparkling wine. It is realized directly into the glass by putting together Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante, elderflower syrup, fresh mint leaves, soda, and plenty of ice. It is a cool pre-dinner drink which enhances the coral pink colour of the rare sparkling version of Chiaretto bardolinese and its characteristic fruity scents (raspberry, wild strawberry, cherry), floral (accentuated by elder), and spicy (enhanced by mint). All this with rather limited final alcohol content: a typical portion does not reach 5 degrees of alcohol.