One man, arguably the godfather of Bardolino, made it his life’s work to valorize this humble wine district, setting high standards for the region and releasing decades’ worth of excellent vintages in the process. Can you guess who this man is? It is not Giuseppe Quintarelli of Valpolicella—rather, it is Gianni Piccoli, the humble patriarch of Corte Gardoni, the estate that redefined Bardolino. Records show the Piccoli family has grown grapes on the eastern shores of Lake Garda for hundreds of years, but in 1980 Gianni became the first generation to estate bottle. At a time when the trends of international grape varieties and mechanized, industrial farming practices were sweeping across northern Italy, Gianni stuck to his guns. A proud ambassador of Bardolino’s terroir, he fought homogenization of the local wine scene and planted local varieties like Corvina, Garganega, and Rondinella. He also became the first in the area to farm his vineyards sustainably, a move met with resistance from neighbors fond of generous herbicide and pesticide use. Gianni passed away in 2020 with nearly fifty vintages under his belt at the helm of Corte Gardoni, which remains in capable hands today, as Gianni's three sons had already taken over daily operations at the winery several years before his passing. Mattia is in charge of the cellar, Stefano manages the vineyards, and Andrea helps both of his brothers and also handles sales. They continue to promote the values he championed through their lively, refreshing, and shockingly well-priced wines—a testament to one man’s noble effort to give Bardolino the renown it deserves.
Corte Gardoni Italy | Veneto | Bardolino Chiaretto
On Lake Garda, Chiaretto is considered a macho beverage with aphrodisiacal properties. It is in fact one of the world’s? only truly satisfactory roses.
Consider this collection your golden ticket of sorts, your invitation to a dinner party with a group of underground artisans, champions of outsider winemaking culture, and a snapshot of a south of France that may be less iconic, but no less authentic.
So what do you call a collection of delicious, well-made wines that offer serious bang for your buck? A surfeit of tastiness, a scad of enjoyment, an ambrosia of libations? I like a plethora of values.
While some of the world’s greatest and grandest reds hail from northern Italy, this territory—which actually consists of eight Italian regions—is perhaps even more noteworthy for its tremendous diversity of everyday rosso.
Many of our best values, all in one place for your browsing pleasure: bargain whites, rosés, reds, and even a couple of sparklers, made by real people and reefer-shipped so they arrive in your hands in nothing less than perfect condition.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa