The Wine Siren by Kelly Mitchell

Bardolino, Italy: The Place to Find Fascinating Rosé

Bardolino is the destination for Chiaretto Rosé!

View from the Castle of Lake Garda through a windowless window, blue skies, calm water
The view from the Scaliger Castle in Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda

Bardolino is the destination for Chiaretto Rosé!

I am a rosé lover. A serious rosé lover. I love the color, the taste, and most of all, I love the lower alcohol and food-friendly personality. To my palate, it’s the perfect wine for any time of day and any occasion. I have been obsessed with finding just the right rose for every season. As a result, my “rose radar” is always on alert so that whenever someone brings out a new wine at dinner or a party or invites me to try something new—I can honestly say I will absolutely taste it! 

While many of the regions of northern Italy, such as Piedmont and Tuscany, are well-known for their red wines, many people are not familiar with their Rosés. The best known Rosé from Italy is the popular Chiaretto di Bardolino (Kee-ah-REH-toh). The famous “summertime” wine is made in the region surrounding Lake Garda on the border between Lombardy and Veneto. However, it’s also possible to enjoy a wide range of other Rosés from Italy throughout the year:  Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo from Abruzzo or Schiava from Alto Adige.

Map Showing Lake Garda and the Veneto region where the Chiaretto vine is grown.
Map of Lake Garda and the Veneto region where the Chiaretto vine is grown.

The area around Bardolino is home to red grapes that date back over 2,000 years, making it one of the first areas in Italy to cultivate such varieties. The first written record of red wine production in this region dates back to 89 BC when Pliny the Elder wrote about a vintage he enjoyed with his wife Calpurnia and son Pliny the Younger. Red grapes have been grown here ever since, though they were planted on a larger scale beginning in 1881 and especially after World War II.

A picturesque view of a hotel in Bardolino framed by mountains
The history of Bardolino captured in the villages and museums nearby.

The first settlers arrived during Roman times (around 73 BC). They were attracted to the region because of its fertile soil and temperate climate—perfect conditions for growing grapes!

The region is located in the province of Verona about 81 miles west of Venice. Bardolino itself is a charming town made up of narrow cobblestone streets and medieval buildings still occupied today. If you love villas, Bardolino is home to some of Italy’s most beautiful, making it an ideal place for wine lovers to visit (and stay).

A glass of rose showing the intensity of the color looking light a rose colored sunset
A glass of the famed Chiaretto Rose from Verona’s Bardolino made from the Corvina grape

When it comes time to drink your Bardolino, you’ll notice its intense color compared with other types of wine. This is due to Lake Garda’s proximity. When sunlight hits water molecules at just right angles on clear days like these (and even partly cloudy ones). Reflections are magnified due to polarized light waves bouncing off each other instead of being absorbed by them like usual—which makes everything look brighter because there’s more reflected energy available.

An incredible cloudless blue sky framing the Corvina grapevines
Grapevines from the Corvina variety used to make Chiaretto wine.

Chiaretto is a rose produced from the same grapes as Bardolino red wines. In fact, Chiaretto is a unique style of Rosé made in the Bardolino area of Italy. With a lovely salmon color with some orange hues and an aroma of fresh fruits such as strawberries and raspberry. Its taste is fruity but not very sweet, having been made using Corvina (the main grape of most red wines) and can be blended with a small amount of either Rondinella and Molina varieties. The proximity to compelling geography influences the taste and enhances it with minerality, unlike most rosés on the market. This makes it perfect for pairing with appetizers or lighter meals like salads or fish dishes; it also goes well alongside spicy food such as Indian curries because they complement each other by bringing out different flavors and aromas!

Glasses set upon a bright pink table cloth in preparation for tasting
Prepare to taste the sunshine in a glass!

If you’re looking for a unique rose experience, try going to Italy and tasting some indigenous styles. The Bardolino region creates a beautiful Rosé wine worth seeking out on your next trip to Italy! Stay tuned for my top restaurants & best sips  to taste along with stunning wine experiences and remarkable places to visit in Bardolino.   

A woman in pink walking through the the cobblestone street in Bardolino

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