Light amber-garnet in the glass, looking like great Pinot: something Corvina in Bardolino often looks–and tastes–quite like. And I’m loving the new classified–and legal–sub-regions plainly on the front label. This is Cru Montebaldo: in the northern section of Bardolino, at the foothills of the Alps. Leathery fruit in the nose, but so bright: strawberry and firm plum, Granny Smith with glorious notes of lavender and jasmine. Blood-orange makes an appearance, grafted down onto earthy texture.
The crisp, green fruitiness of the region blasts onto the palate like the icy winds down from the mountains. Pie cherry and watermelon make their Jolly Rancher attack, borne on firm acid and grating citrus minerality. Deepening and richening across the tongue, it goes black-fruit from base-up: thin bark on budding sapling against a forest of delicious bramble. Match-head and graphite pull in more Pinot-notes, but tinkering with the forces of proper Gamay. Vitamin-C tannins gently coat the finish, bringing black walnut to bear but never getting lost in the adolescent beauty of the bright berry.
The president of the Bardolino Consorzio di Chiaretto e Bardolino owns this winery, and no expense is spared to make it one of the HEADLINERS of the movement to bring these wines into modernity. And obviously, he has skin-in-the-game to reflect ULTIMATE DIRECTION in his wines to lead the new Bardolino. Change is afoot–these wines ARE slowly coming to America–leaving behind classic pigeon-holing the wines this portion of Veneto produced for decades. Find them. BEG your local rep, importer, distributor AND shop to bring them in. They are organic, low-intervention, dedicated to moderate alcohols and brilliant acids, the tourist appeal of flatulent oak and overt concentration is rigorously limited, gorgeous young while aging gracefully, and low price. A win-win-win all the way, eager–AND ABLE–to knock the *usual suspect* somm-darlings from their pedestal.
2020 VILLABELLA ‘Morlongo’ Corvina/Rondinella Montebaldo Bardolino DOC Italy 13.0