The Wine: Chiaretto Ciaro 2020
Vini Sassara Chiaretto Ciaro is a rosé natural wine made from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes grown sustainably in Valeggio Sul Mincio, within the Bardolino DOC appellation area. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeast, bottled unfined, unfiltered, no added sulfites. "Ciaro" means "light color" in the local dialect. Awesome, I'm from that area.
The Winery: Vini Sassara
We are proud to represent a thrilling new project that has garnered much excitement from us and our customers! Vini Sassara is a fourteen-hectare beautiful estate nestled in the hills of Valeggio sul Mincio in the Veneto, just south of Lake Garda, close to the town of Custoza at the southern end of the Bardolino DOC. (That's right - è arrivato il Bardolino naturale!) Ten hectares are dedicated to vines, while the other four are made up of woodlands and olive groves.
This is the passionate work of Alessia Bertaiola and her husband, Stefano, a 3rd generation winemaker whose family has had this property for more than 50 years. Alessia and Stefano represent the 4th generation to work the morainic hill of Monte Mamaor. They took over the property in 2007, and with Alessia's strong background in agricultural research and development, quickly converted each plot to biodynamic farming. They have been making certified organic wine during that time, but due to a lack of inspiration, they took the plunge into producing a more naturalistic expression of their incredible fruit and soil, greatly inspired by the likes of Danillo Marcucci and others.
The area was once an ancient sea, and the hills were shaped by later glacial activity which left the soils rich in marine deposits and complexity of morainic sediment (Quartz, Granite, Calcarius, Alabaster, etc). Alessia and Stefano are blessed with mostly big, thick, sturdy old vines roughly 60 to 70 years old, with some younger vines they have planted themselves. Vine training is what's known as a "Veronese double arch", a variation on the double guyot. They grow all autochthonous grapes with red varieties such as Corvina, Rossanella, Rondinella, and Molinara; and white grapes like Fernanda, Moscato, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Garganega, and Tocai.
These are wines that represent a fight of two cultures - on the one hand, the highly lucrative modernistic culture of conventional, heavily extracted, "international" wines like Amarone and Valpolicella, and on the other, the fight "for the soul and for the soil" of the region, which are wines that express the true authenticity of Bardolino's past - wines that are full of bright, juicy, joyous fruit and minerality and speak of the people that have lived (and drunk wine!) there for centuries. Welcome to the past and future of Bardolino.
The Region: Veneto
Veneto is one of the most important wine regions of Italy, located in the North Eastern corner of the Italian peninsula. It borders with Trentino-Alto Adige (north), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (north-east), Emilia-Romagna (south), and Lombardy (west).
The capital of Veneto is Venice, which is also its most populous city, followed by Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, and Rovigo. The east coast of Lake Garda, the biggest Italian lake, is part of Veneto and so is the tract of Alpine foothills called Venetian Prealps.
Veneto is the leading Italian region for the quantity of wine produced – even though wine-producing regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Puglia, and Sicily all have bigger territories.
Some of its most famous wines are Amarone della Valpolicella, Valpolicella, Soave, and of course Prosecco. Other less known but equally delicious wines are Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto di Gambellara, Raboso del Piave, and Bardolino.
Veneto’s main characteristic is perhaps the great variety of wine types produced, obtained mostly from indigenous grape varietals – Corvina, Glera, and Garganega being the most common.
This is due as much to its specific geography and climate as it is to rather peculiar winemaking techniques such as the grape drying technique employed to make Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto’s most famous red wine.