The lake thanks to its climate, has an incredible variety of vines with 3 different denominations of origin in the shore and 4 in the inland. This time the tour starts from Veneto and arrive in Lombardy.
To discover the itinerary of each denomination is recommended to visit the official website of the respective Consortium of Protection.
“Bardolino” is made from the grapes of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara and Negrara vines and sometimes with the addition of grapes from other local vines. It is a ruby red wine, sometimes tending to rosé, which becomes dark red with aging. It has a light, delicate, vinous fragrance and a dry, slightly bitter flavour which is subtle and harmonious, sometimes slightly sparkling. “Bardolino” becomes “Bardolino Classico” when the wine is made with grapes from the most ancient original territory including the whole or part of the villages of Bardolino, Garda, Lazise, Affi, Cavaion and Costermano. It becomes “Superiore” when it has been aged for at least a year. Suitable to every occasion it goes well with light meats and roast game. It should be served at 15-18°C.
"Bardolino Chiaretto” is the rosé variety of the “Bardolino”. It is made from the fermentation off skins of the same grapes with a minimal maceration of the skins which makes the bouquet extremely intense and pleasant. Suitable to every occasion the “Chiaretto” should be drunk young, at 12-14 °C. It could be paired with starters, soup, light dishes and aperitif, but the best pairing is with fish lake.
“Bardolino Novello”, produced with the same grapes of Bardolino, is a ruby red wine, with a fragrant, intense, fruity fragrance. It has a sapid, harmonic sour and sometimes sparkling flavor. It’s recommended with sapid main course and it should be served at 14-16 °C.
Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante
“Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante” is obtained from the sparkling process of Chiaretto. It has the following characteristics: thin foam with persistent and subtle grain, pink color, light and delicate fragrance, dry and sapic flavor. It should be served cool.
Fresh, young, “standard” or “basic” Lugana is the driving force and foundation stone for the denomination as a whole: it accounts for almost 90% of the DOC’s wines.
It is a wine with a pale straw yellow colour and greenish highlights; its nose is delicately floral, with a hint of almonds, while on the palate it is fresh, pleasantly citrus-like and long.
Introduced into the production regulations in 1998, Lugana Superiore is a Lugana that has been aged for at least one year after harvesting. For this reason its taste profile is more complex than that of the standard version. The colour has a more golden hue; the more varied aromas offer hints of wild herbs, of chlorophyll, of ripe apples and citrus fruits (especially mandarin oranges), together with notes of hazelnuts or spices when the wine has matured in wood (today, increasingly, less new and less toasted, and of a larger size than barriques). The palate is more richly structured and is underpinned by crisp, lively acidity and a mineral tanginess that gives the wines intriguing “saline” nuances.
Lugana Riserva is a natural evolution of the Superiore type: it must mature for at least 24 months, 6 of which in bottle. It has a brighter hue and more evolved, complex aromas, with notes of flint and balsamic hints. The minerality on the palate is more warming than in the Superiore, but it is similarly mouth-filling, tangy and persistent.
The longevity of these dry, still versions varies from type to type, but also depends on the wine’s style. Today, particularly for the more complex wines like Lugana Superiore and Lugana Riserva, production is increasingly oriented towards vinification in stainless steel and “sur lie” (i.e., with prolonged contact between the wine and its lees/yeasts), as well as towards mixed maturation (partly in stainless steel and partly in wood.
Producers are therefore realizing that their wines can be even more long-lived than in the past. The “basic” version can be kept in one’s cellar even for two or three years, while the Superiore and Riserva have the potential to mature gracefully for a decade or so.
The last two versions covered by the production regulations display very particular characteristics.
Lugana Vendemmia tardiva
The Late Harvest version of Lugana is undoubtedly something new: a different, more “experimental” kind of Lugana, but without any of the sticky-sweet style of a traditional “passito” wine. This type of wine is in fact made by over-ripening the grapes on the vine and then picking them later than usual – between the end of October and early November – rather than drying the fruit in special lofts.
These richer, more concentrated grapes give the Lugana wine a typically “late-harvested” profile: softer and weightier, but not excessively sweet, because the residual sugar is successfully balanced by the acidity in a similar way to an Alsace Vendange Tardive or a German Spätlese.
The sparkling version has been included in the production regulations since 1975, and represents – in spite of the limited number of bottles produced – a well-established traditional category of Lugana. As Camillo Pelizzari describes in his fundamental book “La Lugana e il suo vino” of 1942, towards the end of the 19th century a group of businessmen from Champagne who were visiting San Martino della Battaglia tried without any great success (because of scarce production) to invest in making a sparkling version of Lugana. Indeed, they wanted to create a winery at Rivoltella for the production of a Classic Method sparkling wine along the lines of Champagne.
Today Lugana Spumante is produced both by the Charmat (or Martinotti) method (prise de mousse in pressurized tanks) and the Classic Method (refermentation in bottle). In the former case, the taste profile displays greater simplicity and freshness, with primary aromas of citrus fruits (especially citrons) and a creamier, more generous perlage, while in the latter it becomes more refined and complex, with a more elegant, lively bouquet and a more graceful, “crisp” perlage.
Garda Classico Rosso e Rosso Superiore
“Garda Classico Rosso” and “Rosso Superiore” wines are the result of the fermentation of the grapes from Groppello, Sangiovese, Marzemino and Barbera vines and they reach an alcoholic strength of no less than 12º. Wine aged at least one year qualifies as “Superiore”. This wine has an intense, brilliant, ruby red colour and reveals a typically vinous bouquet which maintains delicate but persistent notes. A rich flavour hides a pleasingly bitterish taste. Ageing gives the intense ruby red tones of the “Superiore” shades that tend towards a granet red, a fragrant bouquet and a dry taste, now rounder and more severe. The “Rosso” is excellent with red meat, roasts and stews, wildfowl and mature cheeses; the “Superiore” with braised meat, mixed grills and game. The “Garda Classico Rosso” should be served at around 16 -17ºC, the “Rosso Superiore” at three degrees more.
Garda Classico Chiaretto
“Garda Classico Chiaretto” is made with the special “fermentation off skins” process, starting from the same basic mixed grapes as for “Garda Rosso”. Fermentation off skins requires a brief contact with the solid parts of the grape and then immediate separation of the must in fermentation. The wine obtained has very delicate features from its pink colour with violet highlights to its pleasant bouquet and its soft, decisive flavour, almost salty with a taste of almonds. It is a wine that combines lovingly with light, easy dishes, starters, vegetables, lake fish and white meat. It should be drunk within a year of production and cooled to around 12 - 13ºC.
Garda Classico Groppello
“Garda Classico Groppello” is made from mixed grapes, about 85% of which from the same vine. It is bright red in colour with a delicately fruity bouquet which offers a dry, savoury taste, structured but gentle, due particularly to a brief refinement process. It goes well with red meat, roast meat, salami and fresh or ripe cheese as long as they are not too strong. The ideal temperature for it is about 18ºC.
Garda Classico Novello
“Garda bresciano Novello” is produced from the same mixed grapes as the “Rosso” using the carbonic fermentation method. The whole grapes, straight after picking, are put into special containers without oxygen but with carbon dioxide. The result is a young, red wine with an intense tonality and an unmistakeable fruity bouquet. Its fresh taste is immediately recognisable. Sparkling youthfulness makes this wine extremely versatile. It goes with flavoured meat dishes, quite mature cheeses and salamis. It is excellent with chestnuts. It should be drunk at around 16 - 18ºC.
Garda Classico spumante Rosé
“Garda Classico spumante Rosé” is made from the same grapes used to produce the “Rosso” using the methods of natural refermentation. It is offered in the “brut” and “extra brut” varieties. Brief contact with the skins during fermentation originates the typical pinkish colouring which leads to the strong, fresh, fruity nose and to a lively, decisive taste with a varied bouquet containing, among others, a hint of almonds emphasised by a rich “perlage”. Very good as an appetizer and with light foods at around 6 - 7ºC
Garda Classico Bianco
“Garda Classico Bianco” is obtained from Rhine Riesling and Italian Riesling grapes. The technology employed to produce this wine aims at maintaining the primary aromas and the young fragrance of the wine it appears bright and transparent, straw yellow in tone with a floral bouquet. Fresh, dry and attractive to the taste yellow coloured wine with a lively, lasting fizz, a strong, fresh bouquet and a dry taste which reminds you of the harmony of the still white wine it comes from. It goes well with appetizers, delicate dishes or fish based courses. It should be drunk at 6 - 7°C.
In the inland
Valpolicella wines are characterized by the use of local native varieties. The ampeloghrapic basis is mainly given by Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and other native varieties. Corvina is the most important variety in the Valpolicella blends, thanks to its technological characteristics in the vinification process and phenolic properties, it gives the wine body and structure. At the moment of the vintage grapes have an average sugar concentration and variable acidity depending on the weather conditions during the harvesting season. According to the area where they are produced, the wines can have an average or low alcohol content, an interesting polyphenolic framework and a good structure. If Rondinella proves to be particularly important for the shades of colour it gives to the wine, Corvina and Corvinone, rich in polyphenols and tannins, express their best in the structure.
Wines with the "Valpolicella" controlled designation of origin must be produced with grapes coming from grapevines that have, within the company, the following ampelographic composition:
Corvina Veronese (Cruina or Corvina) from 45% to 95%; the presence of Corvinone is nonetheless admitted to the maximum extent of 50%, in substitution of the same amount of Corvina; Rondinella from 5% to 30%; grapes coming from non-aromatic red-berried varieties recommended and authorized for the province of Verona can contribute to the production to the maximum extent of 15% in total, with a maximum limit of 10% for every single variety used.
The maximum grape yield permitted for the production of wines with the "Valpolicella" controlled designation of origin must not be more than 120 quintals per hectare of vineyard when in specialized cultivation.
From the vinification of these grapes we obtain Valpolicella wine. Its essential characteristics are: moderate alcohol content, medium-high total acidity with frequent presence of malic acid, light structure; it is an easy-drinking wine with low tannins, lively garnet colour shades, fragrant and fresh notes of flowers and sour cherry.
Valpolicella classico: the use of the term "classico" in addition to the controlled designation of origin "Valpolicella" is reserved for wine produced in the oldest original production area and vinified in that same area which comprises 5 municipalities: Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Fumane, San Pietro in Cariano, Marano and Negrar.
Amarone della Valpolicella
Amarone della Valpolicella is today unanimously recognized as the finest among the Veronese wines and one of the most important of the Italian red wines. It is very appreciated by demanding consumers all over the world. It originated as an evolution of Recioto, one of the most ancient wines of our vine-growing and wine-producing history. In the 4th century after Christ, Cassiodorus, a minister of Theodoric king of the Visigoths, described in a letter a wine obtained with a special grape-drying technique. It was then called "Acinatico" and produced in a territory known under the name of Valpolicella (according to some people this name would came from Latin "Vallis-polis-cellae" and might mean "valleys with many cellars").
Valpolicella Ripasso doc is obtained from the contact between basic Valpolicella and residual Amarone lees for about 15/20 days. It is characterized by a heavier structure and longevity. If compared to basic Valpolicella the alcohol content is higher, the acidity lower, the roundness more marked and the values of the phenolic substances and extracts are higher.
Ruby-red in colour with garnet shades, it offers a slightly ethereal perfume of red fruits with notes of vanilla. The palate is fine, harmonious, dry and velvety.
For its pleasant characteristics, it perfectly pairs with winter first courses, main courses, cold cuts and medium-seasoned cheese.
Recioto della Valpolicella
It is obtained from dried grapes left in grape-drying buildings for 100/200 days. Its fermentation is stopped to preserve the sugar percentage necessary to grant the typical structure of this wine.
Bianco di Custoza
“Bianco di Custoza” is made from Trebbiano, Garganega, Tocai, Cortese, Malvasia, Italian Riesling, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay grapes. Its straw yellow colour has golden highlights and the delicate and tasty flavour has soft, rich shades. The fragrance is intense and aromatic. It is good for any occasion but it goes particularly well with starters, first courses, boiled dishes, fish, grilled and roast meats.
San Martino della Battaglia
“San Martino della Battaglia” wine is made exclusively from Tocai grapes of Friuli. Features of this wine are softness and low acidity, straw colour with yellow, sometimes intense, shades and striking bouquet. It has a dry and fresh, slightly aromatic though harmonious, rich and not acidic taste with a bitter almond aftertaste. It is particularly recommended as an appetizer, with starters, fish dishes and light, delicate foods. It should be drunk between 8 - 10°C.
San Martino della Battaglia liquoroso
“San Martino della Battaglia Liquoroso” wine revives an old local tradition and is made from Tocai grapes of Friuli. The process of wine-producing requires special care at the fermentation stage and at the subsequent laying down, which lasts at least six-eight months. San Martino della Battaglia Liquoroso” wine has a warm golden colour with a full bouquet in which floral and powerful ripe fruit elements are emphasised. It has a soft full-bodied taste and an alcoholic strength of about 16°. A great after dinner wine which goes well with desserts and blue cheeses. It should be drunk at 7-8°C.
Garda Colli Mantovani Bianco
“Garda Colli Mantovani Bianco” is made from grapes of yellow Trebbiano, Tuscan Trebbiano, Garganega, National Trebbiano and Pinot Bianco grapevines. It is a straw yellow dry wine with greenish highlights. The bouquet is fine and delicate with a persistence characteristic of rose and apple. It is dry, tasty, harmonious and velvety and like all dry white wines should be drunk young. Good as an appetizer it goes equally well with Italian starters, fish dishes, white meat or light soups. Serve cold at 8-10°C.
Garda Colli Mantovani Chiaretto
“Garda Colli Mantovani Chiaretto” is a wine produced from Rondinella, Merlot and Rossanella grapes. It is a light rosé colour and has a pleasant, delicate bouquet of citrus fruit, mainly citron. It has a fresh, soft, fruity taste with a hint of almonds. It goes very well with meat starters, light soups, boiled beef or chicken and light fish soups. It should be drunk at 12-14°C.
Garda Colli Mantovani Rubino
“Garda Colli mantovani Rubino” is a ruby red wine tending towards rosé when aged and is made from Rondinella, Merlot and Rossanella grapes. It has a pleasant, delicate, vinous bouquet of violets and raspberries. The taste is dry and harmonious with a slightly bitter base. It is particularly recommended for red meat, salami and cold pork meats, strongly flavoured soups, roasted meat, stews, fried fresh-water fish and is superb with Mantuan tortellini with pumpkin filling. To be drunk at room temperature.