Those wine lovers among us who prefer red wine exclusively sometimes search for a lighter red wine during the hot days of summer. One possibility to fill this void is the lighter cousin of Valpolicella, Bardolino. Both of these wines come from the western part of the Veneto and both feature the same grapes. While Valpolicella generally is made from 80-85% Corvina or Corvina/Corvinone and 10-15% Rondinella with some producers adding 5 % Molinara, Bardolino reduces the amount of Corvina to 60-65%, ups the Rondinella to 35% and holds the Molinara at 5%. The result of this change in amounts is a light medium red wine that can go with a variety of dishes found in many summer meals.
My friend Irene Grazziotto at Studio Cru arranged to send me three different Bardolinos along with each winery’s Rosé. The latter are called “Chiarettos” and are made from the same blend of red grapes. These Chiarettos provide an even lighter red wine for the summer. All of the Bardolino wines we tasted had 5% Molinara in the blend except for the Santi offering.
The first Bardolino we tasted was from Monte Del Fra winery. Their 2020 Bardolino DOC was a 12.5% alcohol wine with a nice fruit nose and a light ruby color. It finished light and smooth and I rated this wine an 89. It will be good with seafood. The Monte Del Fra Bardolino Chiaretto DOC was a 2020, 12.5% alcohol offering that was pale peach in color with a pleasant fruit nose. It finished medium and smooth and I rated this wine a 91. It was a very nice rosé and will go well with pasta.
Our second Bardolina was from the Santi winery. Santi’s Ca’ Bordenis Bardolino Classico DOC was a 2018 vintage, 13% alcohol wine. It was light ruby in color with a light fruit nose. It finished medium light and I rated this wine an 88. The Santi Chiaretto was a 2020 Infinito Rosé DOC, a 12.5% alcohol offering that was pale peach in color with a very light fruit nose. It finished medium and very smooth. I rated this wine a 91. It will be very good with a caprice salad.
The last wines were from the Cavalchina winery. The Bardolino was a 2020 Bardolino DOC, a 12.5% alcohol offering, ruby in color and had a pleasant fruit nose. It finished medium and smooth. I liked this Bardolino and rated it a 90. The Cavalchina Rosé was a 2020 Bardolino Chiaretto DOC, a 12.5% alcohol wine that was peach in color with a light fruit nose. It finished medium and very smooth and I rated it a 90.
From my ratings you can see that I preferred the Rosés, but I liked all of the wines. If you are looking for a lighter summer red, you should consider one of these. All are available in the U. S.
My thanks go to Irene and the three wineries for providing the wines for my tasting.