Portraits of Bardolino
Prior to stepping into the Director position seven years ago, Peretti had also already established two successful side-by-side careers in banking, and journalism. He continues in both today, with much of his writing now appearing through his Italian language website, The Internet Gourmet. He has also published numerous books on Italian wine, traveling through Northern Italy, and the history of Lake Garda.
Peretti’s original training was in art. Many of my favorite wine labels from wines of Lake Garda turned out to be designed by Peretti.
While his passion for the Lake Garda region means he has spent his life there, Peretti’s work in banking has brought him throughout Italy and Europe. Peretti’s deep knowledge of the region with his broader expectations for success have given him unique vision for Bardolino’s future.
As Cathy Huyghe explained in her Forbes.com article on Chiaretto, Peretti’s work with the consortium tripled sales of the rosé in just one year. By expanding the consortium’s success with rosé, Peretti has also helped open the way to greater quality for its red wines. Vineyard sites best suited to rosé production are often less appropriate for reds. In poor vintages, the region’s red grapes struggle with mildew, or to achieve ripeness. By establishing the region’s Chiaretto as a serious rosé, vintners can actually increase the seriousness of its reds as well.
Angelo Peretti guided Cathy Huyghe and I through the extended Lake Garda region for several days before this years Bardolino and Chiaretto Anteprima. On the final days before the Anteprima, writers Bill Zacharkiw, and Paul Balke also joined us. Spending a week traveling with Peretti revealed a unique combination of honesty, playfulness, and creative vision.
Contessa Rizzardi shared an insightful comment in discussing Peretti’s role as Director – she helped convince him to take the position. As she explains, “He is very nice because he says to people how things are.”
Following is a portion of Angelo Peretti’s story that he shared with us. He spoke to us in English.
Angelo Peretti, the Internet Gourmet
Angelo Peretti, March 2015
At the end of the 19th century, Bardolino was considered one of the best wines in the world, not a concentrated wine, not a tannic wine. It was a light wine.
I want to return to that. We must reduce the amount of red wine, and increase Chiaretto, to better use the grapes by vintage. In a good vintage, we make red wine. In a harder vintage, we make more Chiaretto.
I want Bardolino to make drinkable wine that ages 6 years, and is very enjoyable but not silly. We have the same grapes as Valpolicella. Corvina is the most important. But we cannot make a copy of Valpolicella. When Bardolino was made to copy Valpolicella, the reds were horrible. We have very different soils, a very different climate.
So, I thought, we needed to go back to our roots, to make reds lighter in color, and alcohol, and taste. So, we decided to start with the rosés. What better to make lighter in color than rosé? Then we turn to the reds.
There is no other wine in Italy like Chiaretto. Chiaretto means, clear. Chiaretto represents our territory, and represents our lake.
We also make some sparkling Chiaretto. There are not many red grapes that can take frizzante, but Chiaretto can. It has the lightness, and higher acidity, and low tannin. The grapes can bear it, sparkling, and can be, I will not say unique, but very close to unique. [smiling]
In our moranic hills, if the yields are too low, the vineyards suffer. If you have constant soils, you can decide how to industrialize your soil. We cannot, because in a hectare of soil, we can have four to seven types of soil. So, we cannot think in a specific way. [We must farm for the variation the land gives us.]
We want to go back to our roots.
Giovanni Battista Perez wrote that there are three different Bardolinos, one around the village of Bardolino, one for the inner hills near Monte Baldo, and one in the southern moranic hills. The goal is to go back to a study of the territory, and how each of the three areas are best expressed.
We are working towards going back to a crus model but it will take some time because it is not just an economic question. It is a mentality question. We must also change how we think about wine.
This is my goal. It is a challenge, but it is my country.
To read the other four portraits of Bardolino:
4. Contessa Maria Cristina Rizzardi of Guerrieri Rizzardi: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2015/05/04/portraits-of-bardolino-4-contessa-maria-cristina-loredan-rizzardi-guerrieri-rizzardi/
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