By far the most important grape variety in the Bardolino region is Corvina Veronese: the 2018 production regulations state that it can form up to 95% of the total blend. The remaining 5% is reserved for Rondinella, another indigenous Veronese cultivar.
Other red varieties that are grown locally may be used for the production of Bardolino, including Corvinone, which can substitute Corvina Veronese up to a maximum of 20% of the grape mix. Another autochthonous local variety is Molinara, which may be used in the production of Bardolino up to a maximum of 15% of the total blend: however, its cultivation in the Verona area is marginal nowadays and its use is no longer obligatory in the grape mix (as it was in the original production regulations of 1968), but merely optional.
Corvina Veronese is the classic indigenous grape variety of the Bardolino zone, where it is always used fresh, immediately after the harvest – just as it is the main cultivar in Valpolicella where, on the other hand, producers also avail themselves of the technique of appassimento (drying the grapes). The first documented evidence of its cultivation in the Verona area dates back to 1824, in a volume written by Pollini.
It displays an extraordinary ability to adapt to the different soils of the morainic hills on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda and its hinterland, interpreting to the full the characteristics of these terroirs in the fruity and spicy aspects of its taste profile, but also thanks to the freshness and tanginess that it succeeds in conferring to the wines made from it. Corvinone, on the other hand, was confused with Corvina Veronese Grossa up until 1993, the year when it was included in the official Register of Varieties.
The production regulations