Posted by: tomciocco | September 30, 2010

ITALIAN PINK ODDITY

From the Swiss border to the southern shores of Sicily, the Italian wine scene now fairly well flows with rose’ wine, but as I mentioned in a recent post, the epicenter of rose’ production has always been in Provence. But back again in the bel paese, there are a few little spots here and there along the boot that have a long tradition for making rose’, or rosato as it’s called in Italy. Bardolino is one of those little spots.

Clinging to the soft hills between the city of Verona and Lake Garda, Bardolino can be thought of as a sort of lighter and sunnier permutation of its more famous neighbor Valpolicella. Bardolino and Valpolicella are made from basically the same wide array of grape varieties – primarily the Veronese Trinity of Corvina, Rondinella,  and Molinara, permitted in their respective blends in only slightly varying percentages. Differences in soil, sun, rain, etc. make Valpolicella-grown wines bigger and burlier, ceding the production of light red and rose` wines to Bardolino. There is no Valpolicella rose`.

Traditionally, chiaretto was simply a secondary product born out of the free-run juices collected before the pressing of that same fruit to make Bardolino Rosso. Today, chiaretto is no longer an after thought, so it’s made separately from the red. The fruit used is harvested earlier to preserve the kind of acidity that is necessary to make a fresh rose`, but which would be most unwelcome in the prodution of red wine.

I poured this pretty little jewel with a quick crostino of this SUPERB Italian-made caponata I get at a place near me, and some goat cheese I had in the fridge (no pic). Then I marinated some shrimp in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, pimenton, garlic, and thyme, impaled them on skewers, and grilled them. I simmered some cannellini beans with garlic, parsley, bay leaf, and a bit of vinegar as a side.

Azienda Agricola Cavalchina Bardolino Chiaretto 2009

Smoked salmon color. The wine begins with a paired-down rose` “champagnesque” nose of minerals, mixed berries, and cassia, and then pineapple and almond cake aromas with more time in the glass. The palate is clean, clear, and fairly intense, with a round and slightly oily texture, but still somehow sprightly light, with etched flavors of sweet and sour apple, watermelon ,and cherry . Great delicately tart finish. A very expressive and precise wine.

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