Rizzardi Bardolino 22

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Bardolino is another one of those wonderfully quaint Italian villages whose name is synonymous with a bottle of red wine. Sadly, the region suffered a checkered past in the U.S. wine import market. Bardolino's unfortunate history here in the States was thanks to the over-exuberant export machine that pushed mediocre brands like Bolla into the U.S. market. It was all about volume in those years; quality wasn't even in the equation. Unfortunately, this inevitably led to the often unjust association of the Bardolino region with insipid and inferior wines.

Much like Soave, Chianti, and other regions unjustly maligned back in the '70s, it's been difficult for Bardolono to shake this negative narrative. If you have a less than-fond recollection of Bardolino from back in the '70s and '80s (I must admit that I do), then I encourage you to revisit the wines from this charming village. Modern, quality-focused, family-owned estates and cooperatives in Bardolino produce gorgeous medium to light-bodied, vibrant, and wonderfully drinkable wines.

The history of viticulture and winemaking in Bardolino dates back to the ancient Romans, who first recognized the region's exceptional potential for viticulture. The village of Bardolino, nestled between the morainic hills on the eastern shores of Lake Garda, is as picturesque as it is perfect for viticulture. The lake effect and the region's calcareous soils create an ideal home for Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, the foundational grapes of Bardolino. In 1968, Bardolino earned "Denominazione di Origine Controllata" (DOC) status, with the oldest vineyard locations designated "Classico."

The Rizzardi family's heritage is inextricably intertwined with the viticultural tradition and history of Bardolino. Their roots run deep into the viticultural landscape of the Veneto, beginning in the 17th century and sustained for over four centuries by two noble Italian families, the Guerrieri and the Rizzardi.

In Bardolino, Guerrieri Rizzardi has focused on expressing the region's true terroir by concentrating on local, indigenous grape varietals. The family's multi-generational winemaking knowledge, sustainable farming practices, and minimal intervention in the winery have helped make them a benchmark producer of the region. Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico DOC is one of their flagship reds. It's a blend of 75% Corvina, 10% Merlot, 10% Ancellotta, and 5%Rondinella and is sourced from vineyards surrounding the villages of Bardolino and Cavaion.

In your glass, the Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico DOC opens with notes of ripe red cherries and raspberries, nicely mingling with hints of spice. This medium-bodied red has gorgeous lift and freshness, perfectly complemented by super-soft, delicate tannins. The palate echoes the nose with fresh red fruit notes, leading to a long, dry, and pleasantly refreshing finish.

The Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico DOC is a top choice for pool, porch, or patio; however, its fresh brightness and medium body make it an enjoyable accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes, from light antipasti and fresh salads to pizza and pasta. It's particularly suitable for pairing with regional dishes from the Veneto, like risotto or polenta. Hammond and I find this especially enjoyable with grilled and roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, and it also pairs perfectly with salmon and tuna.

Perhaps the best thing about this tasty Bardolino -- its refreshing quality makes it a terrific choice for hot weather, offering a perfect blend of complexity, soft red fruit, and drinkability.

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