Bardolino: The Charming Wine Empire
written by Gabriele Monti
Bardolino has long been known as a lovely tourist destination for an excellent holiday. It is located on the south of Garda town and North to Lazise. The world-renowned local wines contributed heavily to the establishment of Bardolino as an ideal vacation destination. Behind the hills of Bardolino, there are miles of vineyards on the green flat land touching the green horizon. Bardolino has a very convenient location as it can be easily accessed through car, plane or train. There is a motorway route between Austria and Verona that goes over Bardolino. This same motorway connected Milan and Venice as well. Also, Bardolino has a number of options in terms of nearby airports. The nearest ones are Marco Polo Airport in Venice and the two airports of Milan. Moreover, all these three airports are used by low-cost airlines from most other European countries.
This charming Italian town is still maintaining the look and feel of the medieval Europe with the old streets, roadside cafe, villas, olive cloves and vineyards. You can literally walk around the whole town on feet and the lake road circling around the whole town becomes very busy with tourists during the summer.
When to Visit Bardolino
Bardolino has a moderate weather all around the year. However, summer is the most popular season to visit Bardolino since the famous Bardolino Wine Festival which goes by the Italian name Festa dell’Uva, takes place in the late summer. Last year it was held on the last week of September. This festival is a very enjoyable, light-hearted experience with fireworks, wine drinking, and lots of wonderful dishes. Every year the festival attracts more or less 4,000 people. There are other annual festivals in Bardolino as well. In the early summertime, Chiaretto Wine Festival is held with lively festivity. For those who are unfortunate to miss both the wine festivals, there is Novello Wine Festival that takes place in November, The annual bird festival is held in September. That is quite an experience too, though it has absolutely nothing to do with wines.
Bardolino has a mild climate that is ideal for harvesting grapes. The temperature rarely goes below 5°C and most of the time, the temperature remains around 20°C. So, you can practically visit Bardolino at any time of the year.
The pleasant weather seems even more enjoyable with the historical and natural attractions. The town has more than couple of old churches. Church of San Zeno was founded during the 9th century and Church of San Severo was established in 11th or 12th century. The second one is decorated with original fresco designs. Even there are city walls which were built during the 12th century for the defense against pirates. Lake Garda and the beautiful hills around have all the beauty values too. But above everything, the main attraction of Bardolino is the wineries and the wine itself.
Bardolino Wine: Different Shades of the Color Red
The signature wine of Bardolino, named as the town, is a red wine with a fresh and fruity taste. Mostly, Corvina and Rondinella grapes are used to produce the wine. However, winemakers are allowed to use 20% of materials from the blend of other grapes such as Molina, Rossignol, Barnera, Marzemino and Merlot, but use of any individual type is limited to 10% at maximum. Corvina is the main grape type with 35 to 65% use. Sometimes the winemakers replace maximum 10% of Corvina with the a sub-variety of this grape known as Corvinone.
The goodwill of Bardolino wine has been tarnished heavily by the frequent sales of low-quality wines in the name of Bardolino wine. But, the true taste of properly produced Bardolino is amazing. It is also a great companion with traditional Italian dishes. The wine tastes better if it is slightly chilled. There’s also a premium version of Bardolino which is even better than this. The premium quality needs to be kept in the cellar for at least 1 year before it can be made available in the market.
There are many different variants of Bardolino, often with different flavors such Chiaretto with classic rose flavor, Chiaretto Spumante with sparkling rose, and Bardolino Novello, a variant with classical taste. However, the variants can hardly be found anywhere outside Italy.
Zeni Winery and the Wine Museum
In order to know the Bardolino wines, you must visit the Wine Museum founded by Zeni Winery in a lavish landscape of Costabella. Zeni Winery is one of the oldest wine-producing places in Bardolino. Zeni family has been running the winery business successfully since the 19th century. Zeni family have shared their passion for growing grapes and selling wines from generation to generation. The winery is situated in a spectacular place, on the slopes of the hills with a direct view of the eastern line of Lake Garda. Now being run by the fifth generation since the first Zeni who started it, became a trusted producer of premium quality wines such as Bardolino Chiareto, Ripasso, Soave, Lugana and Bianco di Custoza.
On 1991, Zeni winery established a Wine Museum inside the farmhouse properties. The museum presents the history of wine making methods and techniques in this area. The museum shows the different stages of wine producing: growing of grapes, grafting, pruning, harvesting, processing, wine aging and packaging. The museum is amply rich with wine related artifacts, tools, documents and other contents. Zeni Winery provides a guided wine tour throughout the museum. The tour includes guided visit to the museum, the vineyards, and the barrique cellars, where the tour ends and Zeni offers you some of their finest wines to taste. Your Bardolino tour can never be complete without a Wine tour, and Zeni Winery is definitely suggested as the best option to do that.