2016 Albino Piona Bardolino, Veneto, Italy (Alcohol 12.5%) LCBO Vintages $16.95 (750ml)
If you are of the impression that all red wines from Veneto are flabby, high alcohol, concentrated, and the opposite of food-friendly, then you have obviously never had a decent Bardolino.
Think of Bardolino as the lighter, friendlier, more jovial and cultured brother of all those bullish Ripassos and Amarones; although it’s often made with the very same grape varietals as its often-clumsier siblings, tasting a good one is truly like a breath of fresh vinous air.
The Albino Piona Bardolino, from the southeastern shores of Lake Garda, is a Corvina-based blend (It is just 20% Rondinella) that pours a light Chiaretto ruby-red colour in the glass. The nose is one of strikingly fresh and vibrant red berry fruits, hibiscus, rosehip, and dried herbs. In the mouth the wine is delicate and elegant with firm, bright acidity and a palate positively oozing with crunchy red cranberries, rhubarb, and an intriguing spice, with a long almond-like finish. There’s an obvious touch of salinity alongside all that delightfully mouth-watering, rasping, almost-sour, acidity, making it a absolute dream for pairing with all types of food.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And this stuff did a number on him last Sunday at a toddler’s birthday.