The Rock

So refreshing to dip your face into one of these Bardolino Cru’s. The vibrant fruit and the way it wraps itself seductively around the smoky, green ‘raw-ness’: not quite Gamay, not quite Sangiovese, not quite Pinot, not quite Teroldego… kind of an amalgamation of all–and I realize comparing varieties is un-productive and narrow-minded. This is the La Rocca Cru: a long strip of land bordering the entire eastern shore of the south half of Lake Garda. It includes the actual town of Bardolino and extends well down into Sommacampagna. I like the FRONT & CENTER notation of cru on the label–and wish more producers adopted this powerful marketing placement. Transparent dark pink, it runs deeper maroon at the core: as beautiful to look at as it is to smell. Saline and savory in the nose, bits of old-world moss hint at barnyard, while pencil lead and rusty iron coat thin layers of strawberry and currant.

A stony, grainy foundation carries the fruit over the entry. Rhubarb and bitter cherry in a thin, almost crystalline aggression coat the mouth in explosive infantile fruit. Shockingly bright, with green, shrubbery notes ground into limestone, it sets off another comparison–one I have done frequently–and that to Chinon. So vigorous and stimulating throughout the palate, a tobacco and black-tar bitter finally concedes to tannin. This is a true wine-lover’s wine, EXACTLY what somms and geeks have been begging for in shops and restaurants for a decade. Fruity while dense, light while complex, vegetal and mineralific, reasonable alcohol, vibrant acidity, inexpensive, organic and not *weird*. BEG your local shop to bring them in.

2020 CASARETTI Corvina/Rondinella 85/15 La Rocca Bardolino DOC Veneto Italy 13.5

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