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Posted by Chris LaBranche on


Our second selection for another thirst-quenching Italian red this month hails from Italy’s northeasterly Veneto region. Best known as the source of Prosecco and Valpolicella, this diverse region also has tiny gems like the appellation of Bardolino, situated on the shores of Lake Garda in this sub-alpine region. This appellation produces some of the most classic table reds in all of Italy. Le Fontane from the Piccolo family’s estate–Corte Gardoni–is one of the best and most characterful. The estate is wine-centric, yet not exclusively so with olive groves and orchards co-planted with the vines.


Le Fontane grabs you on the nose with its intense aromas of zippy red fruits and fresh herbs. From bright red cherries and currants to its notes of white pepper and citrus, there is a depth to this wine that few table reds possess. Onto the palate, you’ll find this wine light and fresh with corresponding notes of fresh red berries, blood orange, and sage. Enjoy this wine cool (not cold!) with just about any pasta dish–from red sauce to seafood pastas, bring ‘em on! Even better, try it with our recipe for a Sardine Caesar with Salami ‘Croutons.’


By law, Bardolino reds must contain a minimum 35% Corvina grapes, the same grape that comprises the majority of the blend in most Valpolicella wines. The remainder of the blend is usually rounded out with Rondinella, a local grape known for lending an herbal, spicy note to the finished product. Other grapes, including non-local examples like Merlot, Barbera, and Cabernet Sauvignon are allowed up to 20% of the blend. Unlike many expressions of Valpolicella, which are seeking to emphasize concentration, intensity, and depth, Bardolinos offer a fresher, more drinkable expression of the same grape, making for an ideal everyday table red, the likes of which you’d likely drink from a carafe in the region’s trattorias.

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