Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big Bardolino wine test 2021. Here we present all the Bardolino wines that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Bardolino wine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to when buying Bardolino wine.




The most important Facts

  • Bardolino wine is an Italian quality wine with DOC or DOCG classification. A distinction is made between red, rosé and sparkling wines from the Bardolino region.
  • The wine-growing area stretches along the south-eastern part of Lake Garda for about 80 km. The village of Bardolino gives its name to these wines.
  • Bardolino wines are light but dry wines with a fruity bouquet. The berry aromas are particularly prominent.

The Best Bardolino Wine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Bardolino Wine

What is Bardolino wine?

Bardolino wine is an Italian wine that comes from a specific region on Lake Garda. Bardolino wine is available as red wine, rosé wine and sparkling wine. Due to a special lightness for a red wine, Bardolino wine is popular in many countries.

Due to its popularity, however, Bardolino wine is often called "cola wine" by critics and wine lovers. The term cola wine describes a wine that is well suited for many customers or consumers, i.e. from an expert's point of view, for the masses.

Bardolino wine has carried the DOC denomination since 1968, which was changed to DOP in 2014. Both seals stand for controlled cultivation and protected designation of origin.

The fresh red wine has an alcohol content of at least 10% and is thus considered a low-alcohol wine. If a Bardolino wine bears the DOCG seal, which stands for a controlled and guaranteed designation of origin, the alcohol content must be at least 11-12%.

Different grape varieties are used for Bardolino wine. The DOC or DOCG seal makes a difference as to which grapes the Bardolino wine is made from.

The following regulations apply to a DOC Bardolino wine:

Grape variety composition (in%)
Corvina Veronese 35-80%
Rondinella 10-40%
Molinara max. 15%
Other grape varieties from Verona max. 20%, whereby for 10% upper limit for each individual grape variety

For a Bardolino wine with DOCG (Superior) seal, on the other hand, slightly different regulations apply:

grape variety composition (in%)
Corvina Veronese 35-65%
Rondinella 10-40%
Molinara, Rossignola, Barbera, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon max. 20%, where for 10% upper limit for each individual grape variety

Where does Bardolino wine come from?

Bardolino wine comes from the Bardolino region, which gives its name to this red wine. Bardolino is a wine-growing region below the Alps, in the south-east of Lake Garda in Italy. The wine-growing area extends over an 80km long wine route through the towns of Bardolino, Garda, Lazise, Affi, Costermano, Cavaion, Torri del Benaco, Caprino, Rivoli Veronese, Pastrengo, Bussolengo, Sona, Sommacampagna, Castelnuovo, Peschiera, Valeggio.

There is one core growing area. Bardolino wines produced in these villages (Bardolino, Lazise, Affi, Garda, Costermano and Cavaion) are called Bardolino Classico.

For a Bardolino wine bearing the DOCG seal, only grapes from the following villages may be used: Bardolino, Garda, Lazise, Affi, Costermano, Cavaion, Torri del Benaco, Caprino, Rivoli Veronese, Pastrengo, Bussolengo, Sona, Sommacampagna, Castelnuovo, Peschiera and Valeggio.

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The Bardolino wine-growing region stretches along this picturesque landscape on Lake Garda. (Photo source: 123rf.com /Zeni)

The wine-growing area around Bardolino covers the Venetian part of the moraine landscape around Lake Garda. This area stretches from the lakeshore of Lake Garda to the hills in the hinterland. The sub-Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters with little precipitation makes the region around Lake Garda ideal for growing grapes. Northern Italian white wines such as the fruity Lugana wine are also pressed in this region.

What are the differences between red wine and rosé wine?

You might think as a layman: white wine is white, red wine is red and rosé wine is rosé. But the distinction is not that easy. Red wines can be very light, but a rosé wine can also take on a slightly reddish hue. The small difference between the individual wines lies in the production process. We would now like to explain the differences in the winemaking of red and rosé wines.

The grapes used for red wine are not red but purple and can even look bluish, depending on the variety. First, the grapes are freed from stalks and leaves and then crushed. This produces the so-called mash, a mixture of grape juice, skins and pulp. For the alcoholic fermentation, yeast is added to the mash so that the sugar contained in the grapes is converted into alcohol. The resulting alcohol releases colour and aromatic substances from the grapes. Bitter substances are also dissolved from the grape seeds. During this time, the mash stands. This period of only a few hours is called mash standing time. During the mash fermentation, the wine is pressed. If the winemaker now stores the pressed red wine in wooden barrels, the young red wine can take on the wood aroma. This wood aroma can later help determine the character of each wine.

Rosé wine, on the other hand, can be pressed in two different ways:

One method, similar to red wine, amounts to making a mash. However, the mash is closely monitored by the winemakers during fermentation. As soon as the desired colour is achieved, the best components are pressed out of the mash and the rosé wine is fermented further.

The second method of rosé wine production is similar to white wine production. After selection, the grapes are pressed directly and fermented without skins. Since the colouring substances of grapes are located in the skins, only a few colouring substances get into the must this way. At the end of the production, the winemaker receives a (very) light rosé wine.

Red wine and rosé wine are produced in different ways. These differences can be seen, among other things, in the different colour tones of the wines.

What does Bardolino wine cost?

The price of Bardolino wine depends on the composition of the grape variety used as well as on vintages, production and marketing costs. The prices can also vary between different winegrowers.

Depending on the winery, production costs can also vary, as some winemakers hand-pick the grapes, while others grow less, for example, to ensure the quality of their wine.

Product type Price range
Red wine 4-120€
Rosé wine 5-80€
Sparkling wine 5-20€

What are the alternatives to Bardolino wine?

If you don't want to drink or serve Bardolino wine, you can also consider other red or rosé wines from northern Italy.

Valipolicella is one of the most famous young red wines from Northern Italy. It has a slightly nutty character with a hint of bitter almond. With its light fruity notes, this red wine can be a pleasant refreshment on warm summer days, even slightly chilled.

Unfortunately, the region does not provide a rosé variant from northern Italy, as all rosé wines are made from the same grape as the Bardolino rosé wine. However, you can choose the Lagrein Rosé. This rosé comes from the Trentino region, which lies above Lake Garda. Lagrein rosé wines are characterised by fruity berry notes that go hand in hand with a fresh and light acidity.

An alternative for a northern Italian sparkling wine is the Conte Amato, which is a casual and light sparkling wine. Although Conte Amato is a light sparkling wine with a fruity bouquet of grapes, apricots and apples, this sparkling wine shows itself to be strong in character. Light floral notes can also influence the character of the Conte Amato.

Which Bardolino Wines are there and which is the right one for you?

In this article we distinguish again within Bardolino wine:

  • Bardolino red wine
  • Bardolino Rosé Wine
  • Bardolino Sparkling Wine

In the following we explain the different types and their characteristics. In this way, we want to help you find the Bardolino wine that is best suited for you.

What are the characteristics of Bardolino red wine?

A Bardolino red wine can consist of up to 80% Corvina Veronese grapes. This grape is almost black and thus makes for a very dark red wine. Since this grape is slightly acidic, the slight acidity is also reflected in the red wine produced.

Experts distinguish between Bardolino, Bardolino Classico, Bardolino Novello and Bardolino Classico Novello. Classico, as already explained above, stands for certain growing regions within the Bardolino region. The term Novello, on the other hand, denotes a young wine.

The classic Bardolino red wines enchant with a ruby-red colour, which can also appear garnet-red depending on the maturity. With an alcohol content of at least 10.5-11%, these red wines are among the low-alcohol wines. The fresh but fruity and nevertheless dry character of the Bardolino red wines is inspiring. The light acidity from the Corvina Veronese grapes has a harmonious and soft effect in combination with the fruity bouquets.

Did you know that there are also different serving and drinking temperatures for red wines?

Pay particular attention to the place of origin of your red wine. Bardolino red wine, as well as other red wines from the region around Lake Garda, are served at a temperature of 14ºC. Red wines from South Tyrol, on the other hand, taste best at a temperature of 16ºC. Barolo wine is served at a temperature of 18ºC.

What distinguishes Bardolino rosé wine?

Sommeliers and winemakers divide Bardolino rosé wine into Bardolino Chiaretto and Bardolino Classico Chiaretto. Classico also indicates here the designation for some specific localities from which the grapes for these wines come.

The rosé wine enchants with pink nuances, which can also appear garnet red when matured for a long time. This wine has a fruity but full and soft character. The Chiaretto delights with bouquets of blossoms, wild berries such as raspberry and wild strawberry. In addition, there is a slight mineral note that stimulates the salty taste buds.

With an alcohol content of at least 10.5%, this Bardolino wine is also rather low in alcohol. Nevertheless, the Bardolino rosé wine inspires with its delicate character, which appears balanced in the overall picture.

What distinguishes Bardolino sparkling wine?

The Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante is the representative of the sparkling wine from the Bardolino region. This sparkling wine is a rosé with a fine but long-lasting perlage. The alcohol content must be at least 11%.

This sparkling wine enchants with its pink nuances, which can also take on darker tendencies into garnet red with ageing. The Bardolino Chiarettp Spumante is a characteristic sparkling wine with a soft but fruity bouquet. Here, the Bardolino is floral on the palate, with the floral character reflecting the natural nature and environment of the growing area around Lake Garda.

Although the Bardolino sparkling wine is a dry sparkling wine, the character gives a slightly acidic, but not unpleasant impression. Chilled, this sparkling wine is a pleasant refreshment on hot summer days.

Buying Criteria: You can use these Factors to compare and evaluate Bardolino Wines

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate Bardolino wines. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain wine is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

Aroma

The aromas of Bardolino wine are versatile, influenced by the sub-Mediterranean climate of the region. The berry bouquets of Bardolino wines stand out above all. However, the fruitiness is rounded off in Bardolino wines by a slightly bitter finish, with nuances of bitter almond to be tasted here.

The combination of mild floral notes accompanied by a slightly salty note also make the bouquets of Bardolino wine popular all over the world. The mineral-salty note reflects the nature around Lake Garda with its wet limestone and flint, enchanting all wine lovers like you.

Raspberry, wild berry, cherry and subtle vegetal hints together form a unique bouquet, which, with a light note of stone fruit varieties such as apricot and peach, creates a delicate fruit-acid composition.

Depending on the winemaker, more or fewer different hints can be found in the Bardolino wines. There are also small but subtle differences between the DOC and DOCG classifications.

The best thing to do here is to try out the world of Bardolino wines for yourself in order to find the best Bardolino wine for you.

DOC classification

DOC stands for "Denominazione di origine controllata" or "controlled designation of origin" and is a specific quality label for wines from Italy. The DOC classification is the second highest classification for an Italian wine.

In 1963, this legally regulated and controlled designation of origin was introduced as part of an EU regulation. The aim was and is the sustainable quality improvement of the wines produced. In 2009, this regulation was replaced by the EU Wine Market Regulation. Since then, DOC wines have been known as DOP, which stands for "Denominazione d'Origine Protetta" or "Protected Designation of Origin".

The legal framework of these two regulations defines the permitted yields as well as the permitted areas of cultivation. Furthermore, the permissible grape varieties for DOC wines are defined as well as the maximum bottling of max. 5 litres in one bottle.

Even if the Bardolino wine is already considered a mass wine among experts and wine connoisseurs and has a slightly negative reputation, this red or rosé wine cannot be accused of being of inferior quality. The DOC / DOP labelling guarantees high quality from protected origins.

So if you want to buy a DOC wine, you can be sure that this wine promises a particularly high quality.

Matching food

As Bardolino wine is a light but dry red or rosé wine, there are many dishes and meals with which you can serve a Bardolino red or rosé wine.

Simple and light Italian dishes are often enough. Whether pizza or various pasta dishes: Due to the almost sad taste of the Bardolino wine, many dishes can be served with this wine.

If you are cooking a heartier dish such as stews or braised meats, but still want to serve a Bardolino, you should ideally choose a strong, dark red DOCG Bardolino red wine. Due to a slightly higher alcohol content, DOCG red wines harmonise better with fine sauces and fatty dishes.

If you are a vegetarian, you don't have to do without Bardolino wine: Here, salads, vegetable dishes and antipasti are suitable for the consumption of a light Bardolino wine.

But also poultry and other light meat dishes, as well as fish can be served with the dry but fruity Bardolino wine.

Facts worth knowing about Bardolino Wine

Which glasses are suitable for Bardolino wine?

In order for a wine to fully develop its flavour and aroma, you should enjoy your wine from the right wine glass. There are special glasses for red, white and sparkling wines, which are adapted to the different characteristics of the wines.

For a Bardolino red wine, it is best to choose a Burgundy glass, which is intended for aromatic and fruity red wines. As a rule of thumb, you should choose a tall glass with a large volume for a younger red wine.

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The right glasses for wine are not only important for red wines. The right glass is always important for white and sparkling wines, too. (Picture source: 123rf.com/ BlueOrange)

For a Bardolino rosé wine, choose either a Burgundy glass or a Riesling glass. The Riesling glass is actually a white wine glass, but it is also suitable for light and aromatic rosé wines.

Enjoy your Bardolino sparkling wine from a sparkling wine glass. Your normal champagne glass is suitable here.

It is important that you never pour too much into your wine glass, otherwise the bouquet will not develop. The complete development of a bouquet depends on the interaction with the air in the glass.

You should also only hold the wine glass by the stem. The warmth of your palm and the usually thin glass can cause your Bardolino to heat up quickly and lose its flavour.

Always make sure you choose the right wine glass for the right wine. If you choose the wrong glass, it can have a negative effect on the taste of the wine.

How long can Bardolino wine be kept?

The shelf life of a wine depends on the acidity and alcohol content of the wine. The price is an approximate reference point for estimating the shelf life and storage life. The rule of thumb is: the more expensive the wine, the sooner it can be stored.

A Bardolino wine should be stored for a maximum of 2-3 years after selection. At the same time, most wines nowadays are consumed within a short time of purchase in the supermarket or discount store. Another unwritten rule of thumb says: The higher the quality of the (Bardolino) wine, the longer you can store your wine.

How should you store Bardolino wine?

There are many different myths about how to store wine. As a rule of thumb, however, wine should not be stored for too long and should be kept as cool as possible.

Bardolino wine should not be stored for longer than three years after the vintage. Otherwise, the taste and the unique berry bouquets can change.

If you store your Bardolino wine for too long, the taste and therefore your enjoyment can deteriorate permanently.

What is the Bardolino Wine Festival and Museum?

The Festa dell'Uva e del Vino (Bardolino Wine Festival) is an annual cultural event held in early October. The first cultural festival was held in Bardolino on Lake Garda in 1929.

During the wine festival, various tastings are offered. Visitors to the festival can taste and purchase Bardolino wines to their heart's content. Fireworks are an annual highlight. Musical entertainment is provided by various local bands.

In Bardolino, the Zeni Wine Museum Bardolino has existed since 1991, i.e. for 28 years. Here, visitors can learn more about local winegrowing with the help of photos and equipment. At the end, visitors can join a tasting or have a typical Italian meal in the restaurant. It is also possible to buy regional products and Bardolino wine.

Image source: unsplash.com / Kelsey Knight

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