Although many wines were poured, my sole purpose was to sample Chiaretto, a rose wine made from red grapes-a wine that has intrigued me since my first taste. Chiaretto is known as the rose version of Bardolino, as it is made with the same grapes and is from the same Veneto region, bordering Lake Garda. Chiaretto is a dry, crisp white wine, as I mentioned earlier, made from red grapes, following white winemaking practices. If you limit the juice’s contact with the skins, usually 6-8 hours, the pigments stay pale, the color of Chiaretto.
The Consorzio has set-up standard hues for the Chiaretto produced in the region and those guidelines must be followed and approved, before release.
The two vineyards that shared their Chiaretto wines were Valetti , a family vineyard that their Grandfather Angelo leased from his brother, who emigrated to America in the early 1900’s. Angelos’ son, Luigi, built the vineyard that is in use today and is run by brothers, Stefano, Luca and Davide. Today, the technology has been modernized to bottle the tradition that has been the driving force of Valetti wines.
The second presenter was Cristiana of Azienda Argricola Berrilli Cristiana Tenuta Vignega. Cristiana wines are known as ‘Organic Fashion-Cristiana Collection.’ Her organic wines are bottled under the ‘Sorsei’ label. The vineyard is located on the hills east of Verona, where her family began the business in the early 1900’s, similar to the Valetti story. Cristiana Collection is a project to promote three territories, three estates and three brands with their wines.
Sampling Cristiana’s Bardolino Chiaretto DOC and Sparkling Chiaretto, I learned that Tenuta Sorsei is located in the classic, oldest area of DOC Bardolino, on the morainic hills of the hinterland, near Lake Garda. Harvested by hand, the classic grapes of Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Corvinone were used. Low alcohol, intense flavor and forceful minerality made these Chiaretto’s a tour de force.
The Valetti brothers poured a Sparkling Chiaretto and a Badolino Chiaretto, both wines full of flavor, appropriate dryness and intensity of the fruit. It was obvious that the brothers had mastered the art of making Chiaretto through years of family involvement.
The Valetti facility was magnificent, a beautiful building with large glass windows to enhance the view of the magnificent vineyard. The cellar housed an up to date bottling machine. They produce close to 100,000 bottles a year.
All in all, Chiaretto thrives from these two producers.
As an advocate for Chiaretto, open your palate up to the other rose wine.
Philip S. Kampe