For better or worse, our visit was timed just ahead of the annual Festa dell'Uva e del Vino, although the group had something of its own Festa on the first evening at the delightful restaurant Il Giardino delle Esperidi in Bardolino. Angelo recommended we match the range of Chiarettos with the lake fish courses and Asolo Proseccos with sea fish. Of course, looking inwards, one adventurous nutter also wanted to try these the other way round, but hey, there's no accounting for taste! Missing the Festa didn't worry us, as the next day we had the opportunity to taste a range of Corvina based wines from some 23 producers at a walk round tasting at the 'Corvina Manifesto' event.
The Bardolino vineyards cover just under 2,600 hectares. Red Bardolinos range from simple everyday wines to fuller bodied, remarkably complex wines, with a gentle spiciness, often including notes of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. Core fruit characteristics include both red and dark cherries, strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants. They are perhaps best drunk similar temperature to Crus Beaujolais - 14° -16°C. The Chiarettos are pale, dry rosés, crisp, saline and with modest alcohol, usually in the region of 12% abv. Many of the producers also make other Veronese wines, and some also Lugana, usually a dry white from the south of the lake, the vineyards lying mostly in Lombardia.
As elsewhere in North Eastern Italy, there has been a considerably move away from Pergola training, onto vertical trellis, with guyot training being the most popular. For Chiaretto, this is essential, as grapes grown on the pergola system would be high in green tannins. Using the pergola system planting density is approximately 3,000 vine per hectare, whilst for guyot it is 5,000. With similar yields per hectare, the yield per vine is reduced.