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Bardolino is a wine produced from grapes grown in the hills surrounding Lake Garda in the Verona province of Veneto, Italy. It’s a lighter cousin to nearby Valpolicella, using the same grapes: primarily Corvina with small percentages of Molinara and Rondinella. This has lately expanded to Barbera, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which can comprise up to 20% of the blend. It has been produced in some capacity in the region for centuries, as landlords changed hands from the Romans to the Venetians to the Austrians and finally back to a unified Italy. Medieval castles, churches and walkways still stand in the town of Bardolino. 

Verona is a great trade hub, and like many Veronese wines, Bardolino had its era of mass production in the middle of the 20th century. Molinara is easy to cultivate and subject to high yields, though it isn’t very flavorful, and for a time began to dominate the blend for wines that are best described as “mis-made.” But as the wine target market has refined its palate, Bardolino production has ramped up quality standards, giving Corvina the lead while the others sing backup. 
 
Bardolino Classico is the zone defined by both its “classic” and superior terroir area. Bardolino Superiore is the DOCG classification awarded to wines of highest quality standards, which are often more hearty and structured. Aside from the aforementioned grape blend, there is an allowable 10% of Covinone, a Corvina clone, provided it is grown exclusively in stony soils. 
 
Bardolino Novello is the very young version, akin to Beaujolais Nouveau, though rarely seen internationally. Bardolino also comes in a lip-smacking rosé version called Chiaretto, which is also available as Chiaretto Classico and Spumante. ~Amanda Schuster
 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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