Bardolino’s time has come! If Valpolicella has had a bit of a hard time until recently, its junior sibling Bardolino has had to emerge from even deeper in the shadows, but now the relevance of ‘Italy’s Beaujolais’ is plain for all to see. These lighter, even chillable but still red, reds are ideal for much of the style of modern Australian eating.
Bardolino like these of the Piona brothers moreover, deliver palate structure, some intrigue and a savoury and easy nature. Based on the dominant Corvina, with Rondinella and Molinara making up the remaining 40% of the blend, the Cavalchina wines are quite chunky in Bardolino terms, and provide some liveliness, with nuances of sappiness, herb and savoury spices woven into a big, black cherry mainframe. Luciano Piona tells us that these extra characters are not the result of his brother’s winemaking genius, but the bounty of vineyards still dating substantially back to 1911, with the first significant replantings not happening until 2013. Bro Franco’s skill Luciano says, is keeping it simple and careful in the winery. These old vines on their lean-ish moraine soils have done most of the hard yards, and Luciano uses some temperature control to start fermentations near to 30˚ before dropping 4-5 points, and all this takes place in steel.
Bardolino Superiore uses a little Marzemino and Barbera in addition, fermentation/maceration increases to more like 10 – 12 days, plus some time in oak. The results are great examples of a style growing in popularity; and Cavalchina do this consistently, year, after year, not just relying on fabulous vintages like 2015. The great all-rounder Italian reds.