Matured for eight months in neutral 30-hectoliter Slovenian oak botti, the wine has a limpid, ruby-red color: not pale, but which somehow seems to be illuminated from inside the glass. The exotic nose unfurls with fresh blueberries, star anise, sandalwood, cloves, and rose hips tea moving in and out of the background as the wine evolves in the glass. On the palate, the wine is fresh and vibrant, with a sweet core of pomegranate, fraises des bois, and allspice berries joining the blueberries; all seasoned with cedar, as the sandalwood has evolved, and carried through a long, elegant finish by deep, mineral-buffered fruit acidity and ultra-fine-grained tannins.
About this wine producer: Gianni Piccoli is as stubborn as he is modest and self-effacing, with no interest in following the easy paths to guaranteed market share if they mean compromising his principles. He and his sons Mattia, Andrea, and Stefano simply make the best wine in Bardolino. Which is how they find the best customers. Corte Gardoni was established in 1980, when Gianni decided that his beautiful grapes – carefully farmed at low yields on the stony slopes of the moraine in Valeggio sul Mincio – would no longer be sold in bulk, to be blended anonymously in the vats of industrial wineries like Bolla and Folonari that still dominate Bardolino. Building a winery was a risky undertaking in a region that had such little prestige, but Gianni Piccoli never looked back. Today, under the direction of his son Mattia, Corte Gardoni supplies the finest Bardolino and Custoza to nearly every Michelin starred restaurant in Italy.