Portraits of Bardolino
At the end of the 1970s, Sergio and Franca Nerozzi decided to move their family from the city to the countryside between Lake Garda and Verona. In 1980, they moved into the home on the moranic hill of San Pietro that would become Le Vigne di San Pietro.
Though the family originally had no intention of making wine – both father Sergio, and son Carlo were architects – the property included an old field blend vineyard. Carlo would begin making wine.
Over time, the family would replant the vineyards. Today they produce classic wines of Bardolino – Custova, Chiaretto, and Bardolino – as well as a Cabernet-Merlot blend called Refola that is made by partially drying the Cabernet, and keeping the Merlot grapes fresh.
Following is a portion of the story that Carlo Nerozzi shared with us on our visit. He now owns Le Vigne di San Pietro. He spoke to us in English.
Carlo Nerozzi, Le Vigne di San Pietro
Carlo Nerozzi, Le Vigne di San Pietro, March 2015
We are on a moranic hill. There is a mix of stones, clay, sand, everything. Some stones from the Dolomites are in the ground here. They are all well draining soils. The area used to be a field blend, white and red.
We use no herbicide. We use cover crop – oat, peas – to feed nutrients to the soil. Our vines are all hand tend, and harvest.
If you think I am a producer, you are wrong because I am an architect. Making wine, it is a little different, but they say the wine is not bad. [smiling]
I don’t like to buy, only grow, so I make wine with only my grapes.
I am not a wine producer, as I told you. But it is not a joke. I am making wine. I come from another skill [architecture] but I have been doing it [making wine] for 35 years.
The style of San Pietro, from the beginning, is to be elegant, to age quite a long time, and with a good relation with the food. So, I am not looking for muscles, or sweet wine.
I prefer wine that can express itself slowly and deeply. I don’t know if I can do it but it is what I try to do for all the wines.
We ask him what type of architecture he used to do.
My architecture was to restore old buildings, and also I started a group with the young people to do this skill.
Carlo has served as a mentor to many young people interested in architecture, and working in architecture, to help retain the skills of restoration in the extended community.
He pours us his Chiaretto.
Of course Chiaretto is the most delicate wine, but we make it to have this mineral salty character. I think it is good to pair wine with food.
We begin tasting the Bardolino.
With age, Corvina deepens in tone. It takes on treble notes, while keeping its light frame, and freshness.
He pours us the Refola. We ask him to discuss the wine. He decides to also pour us an early vintage, so we can better understand the wine, then he responds.
It is special. When you dry the grapes, you need perfect grapes. We do not make it every year.
We begin tasting the wines with food. Carlo brings out a bottle of olive oil, and a bottle of vinegar for the salads. Then he explains that he made the vinegar.
Some years ago, I made Pinot Noir. I don’t anymore. The last year, it was so good, I put all of it into vinegar. Good vinegar was better than bad vinegar was my idea.
The Pinot Noir vinegar is delicious. We all comment on it.
We are enjoying the food, and spend time discussing where the ingredients are from, and how the food was made.
Wine writer, Paul Balke, comments, “In Italy, the most important cooking school is at home.”
To read all five 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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