Saturday, July 7, 2018

Lake Garda says Hooray for Rosé with Chiaretto

Over the last few weeks I've sampled a number of different rosé, or rosato, wines from around the world and this month our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is featuring wines from the area of Lake Garda that borders both the Veneto and Lombardy northern regions in Italy.  In particular we're talking about the wines known as chiaretto, pronounced "key-ah-ret-oh".  Lake Garda is actually the largest lake in Italy.  The last time I was at Lake Garda was June of 2017 where I took a day trip over to Peschiera del Garda on the southern part of the lake only about 15 minutes by train from Verona. If you've never been to Lake Garda it's a must see.  It's such a beautiful place to visit with so many great towns along the shores easily reachable by boat.    

Peschiera del Garda Chiaretto wine
My trip to Peschiera del Garda

This area of the Veneto, including Lake Garda, prides itself on their red grapes used in the production of their valpolicella, amarone and bardolino wines.  Corvina leads the pack of red grapes followed by molinara and rondinella, all grapes that are also used in the production of chiaretto of varying levels.   
Chiaretto has been produced in Lake Garda since 1896 started by a lawyer/writer, Pompeo Molmenti, whom owned vineyards on the lake and decided to start producing wine.  Today the area produces about 8.5 million bottles.   
If you're not familiar with Chiaretto it typically produces wines that are dry, crisp, fresh with a citrus profile touched by red berries.  It's named chiaretto after the Italian word chiaro, meaning pale.  If you're not familiar with how rosé wines are made, the juice is kept in contact with the red skins for a limited amount of time to impart a hint of pink to the wine.  Chiaretto is a wine to be enjoyed in its youth.   
Bardolino Chiaretto Classico wines from Lake Garda
I tasted the 2017 Azienda Agricola Valerio Zenato Le Morette Bardolino Chiaretto Classico and I was very delighted by it mostly because of the balance and elegance in this wine.  It's made of 55% corvina, 35% rondinella and 10% molinara.  It was the best rosé I personally tasted recently (personal preference of course).  It was very pale pink in color.  There were citrus notes on the nose.  A light-bodied wine that was nicely balanced with fruit, acidity and a little saltiness.  Most prevalent on the finish were fresh strawberries and raspberries.  12% ABV 
The winery is located in San Benedetto di Lugana located between Lake Garda and Lake FrassinoThe winery is named after a species of wild duck, called le morette, that live along Lake Frassino.  They were chosen for their elegance and beauty and the deep respect for nature and the environment.   It was started 60 years back by Gino Zenato and his main purpose for the land was the production of vines, in addition to producing wines on the side for himself.  His son, Valerio, took over the business in 1981 producing wines for distribution to the market.  Today the winery is run by the 3rd generation, Fabio and Paolo, that strives to complete the vision of their grandfather.  And so the legacy continues.  One of the things I love about Italian wines is the history and stories behind each and every winery and how the next generations continue on the dream and mission of their founding fathers. 
I also tasted the 2017 Cantina Caorsa Bardolino Chiaretto Classico.  This is actually a cooperative of about 350 members owned by the North-east Agricultural Consortium that began in 1987.  I unfortunately couldn't locate too much information on this winery, but enjoyed this wine also.  It's a blend of primarily corvina at 60% with 20% rondinella, 10% molinara and 10% merlot.   A deeper pink in comparison to the Le Morette and a rather smooth, light-bodied wine bright with red berries.  12.5% ABV
Join me and my fellow writers in the #ItalianFWT group to discover even more about Chiaretto di Bardolino on Twitter, Saturday July 7 at 11 am/EST.  Here's what we'll talk about:
*Wines provided as samples thankfully by the Consorzio Tutela Vino Bardolino DOC, but opinions are my own.  Information and most pictures sourced from Chiaretto.


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