Appellation : Bardolino D.O.C.
Terroir : Valeggio, sur les collines au sud-oriental du lac de Garde
Sol : squelette riche, calcaire et légèrement argileuse
Cépages : Corvina 50%, Rondinella 30%, d’autres cépages locales 20 %
Rendement : environ 100 quintaux / Ha
Elevage : quelques mois en acier inoxydable
Potentiel de garde : 2 ans
Notes de dégustation :
Robe : rose tendre.
Nez : assez intense, fruité et très élégant.
Bouche : sec, frais et équilibré et très aromatic.
Température de service : à 8 ° C-10 ° C, déboucher la bouteille au moment même
Accords mets/vin : hors-d’œuvre, soupes de poisson, l’anguille, viandes.
The wine company Corte Gardoni, owned by the Piccoli family since 1971, includes a total surface area of approximatively 45 hectares, composed by:
23 hectares of vineyard
8 hectares of arable land
2 hectares of apple orchard
2 hectares of olive groove
10 hectares of woods
The property is located in the southern-eastern moraine hills of the Garda area, at an altitude from 90 to 180 meters above the sea level. The main products of the company are three:
Wine – around 200 thousand bottles
Apples – around 1,000 quintals
Oil extra virgin olive oil – around 10 quintals
Corte Gardoni is a family-run business: Gianni Piccoli, the founder, still supervises the business, but the daily management is in the hands of his three sons: Mattia, Stefano and Andrea. Their entrance has guaranteed a future marked by continuity for the company; moreover, they have strengthened its own structure, underwriting those technical-scientific competences that are essential for the production of high quality wines nowadays. Mattia, the elder, is a wine-making expert and he handles the main processes of the winegrowing activities, from the vinification till the wine bottling. Stefano is charged of the agronomic work and Andrea deals with the business management issues.
Gianni Piccoli, the founder of Corte Gardoni, belongs to the branch of the family that left Cellore at the beginning of the 1900. The vineyards had been destroyed by the grape phylloxera and the small farm was no longer able to support everybody. This is the reason why one of the five brothers, Clemente, moved to Ronco all’Adige.
However, the new area was not particularly appropriate for the viticulture, in fact his son Aldo decided to bid on the fruit farming in order to develop the business. Nevertheless, he has always been nostalgic of the hills, where the vineyards, and especially those of Corvina, produce authentic high quality wines. Aldo encouraged his son Gianni to acquire a farm in Valeggio. It was an attractive opportunity: firstly, because the firm was owned by some relatives belonging to another branch of the same family. Secondly, because the estate, whose building had been erected in 1800, included a peach orchard and a nice vineyard: a vineyard in the hills.
The whole family saw the opportunity offered by Valeggio of going back to the viticulture as a return to the roots. In fact, ten years later, in 1981, Aldo Piccoli finally left the plain, moving in a new farm, called Corte Gardoni by his son.
The vineyards provided Giani Piccoli a precious assets of autochthonous vine variety: Corvina, Trebbiano, Cortese, Trebbianello, all perfectly acclimated and characterized by an excellent qualitative level. There was also an international variety: a little area was cultivated with Chardonnay.
At the very beginning, 90% of the grape was sold to some local well-known wine cellars and only the remaining 10% was used for the production of wine within the firm. Having regard of the potential of the product, the Piccoli family decided to take charge of the whole productive process of its own grapes internally. Moreover, the product started being commercialized with its current name “Corte Gardoni”.
Obviously, this was not so simple: they had to build a wine cellar ready to work starting from the following harvest. But he made it: he still remembers the first vinification, because while he was busy with oenological processes he was doing for the first time, Valeggio was covered by the snow, on the 4th November 1980. Under a white baptism, the first two wines labelled “Corte Gardoni” were seeing the light: Bardolino and Bianco di Custoza.
The soil owned by the firm has two different origins and compositions:
The hilly area belongs to a moraine hill connected to the glacial Tyrolean side, formed by mainly consolidated glacial deposits, in which there are very different soils. The textures of the substrate are uniformly sandly loam.
The area at the foot of the hills belongs to the alluvial plain dating back to the Late-Glacial Wurm. The modal surface of the terraces is formed by a thin sandly loam clayey layer, which covers some gravel and clayey materials and the soil is red and well-differentiated.
Following the natural inclination of the two different types of lands, in the hilly area with a sandly loam substrate there are white wine grapes and olive-trees, whilst in the area with a sandly loam clayey texture there are black wine grapes and apple orchards.
Varieties of grapevines cultivated:
White wine grapes : Chardonnay, Riesling, Trebbianello, Trebbiano Toscano, Garfanega, Incrocio Manzoni;
Black wine grapes : Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rondinella, Sangiovese, Corvina, Corvinone;
From the very first moment, the renewal of the vineyards has always been the priority. The replanting, among the old variety with black grape, of Corvina and Rondinella, and, among those with black grapes, of the Trebbianello, have been made using the scions obtained by pre-existing grapevines, identified throw a selection. Then, the same process has been applied to the Tuscan Trebbiano and to the selection of specimens of Graganega spargola.
The oldest vineyards, planted at the beginning of the 1970s, are cultivated in Cazenave with a density of 3.000 stumps per hectare. Even if this particular form of upbringing does not follow the philosophy of the company, their age (40 years old) enables to obtain some excellent grapes. That’s the reason why they are extirpated only in case of relevant failed plantations.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the company organized a progressive reconversion of the vineyards, with the transition to a restrained form of cultivation with a major density of impact. The forms of cultivation are Guyot Poussard and Cordon de Royat: the first one is used for the autochthonous varieties and the second one is used for the international vineyards. The density of the impact can vary from 7,000 plants per hectare in the hilly area to 5,000 plants per hectare in the underneath area. The rows of vine are characterized by an alternating grass cover, in order to protect the fertility of the soil and its biodiversity. Moreover, there is an emergency installation for the irrigation, which is essential to save the plants from the water stress during the dry summers.
The company tried to limit the environmental impact as much as possible, thanks to the incorporate defence against the parasite attacks. An electrical equipment monitors the meteorological conditions and enables to react against peronospora, oudium or botrytis only when it is strictly necessary, identifying the moment in which the weather allows the development of the infections in the vineyards. The pursuit of high quality turns into an intentional low yield: 80 quintals per hectare for the white wine grapes, 10-20 quintals more for the white wine grapes.
The wine cellar, built in 1980 and constantly renovated with a modern equipment, has stainless steel wine vases for 3500 hectolitres. It is organised in an unusual way, because it can rely on the synergies with other facilities installed within the firm: for example, refrigerators for the fruit storage are used for the cryomaceration of the grapes. Casks and barrels are adapted to the dimension of the company: there are four casks up to 30 hectolitres made by oak of Slavonia for the Bardolino Superiore and 35 barriques up to 225 litres made by oak of Allier for the refinement of some particular wines.
The weather of the area is determined by the padanian-alpine region it belongs to. The area is a big space delimited by the chains of the Alps and by the Apennines, East open in direction of the Adriatic Sea, which implies a certain air stability, with an accumulation of big quantities of energy, warmth and humidity. The alpine chain is the cause of the risks of climatic vagaries due to cold air coming from the North.
The micro weather of the area of Corte Gardoni is deeply influenced by the presence of a huge water mass: The Garda lake. His proximity mitigates the temperature, balancing the opposites: the average temperature is warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer, if compared to the rest of the region. However, it does not reduce the thermal gap because the temperature is much more cold in the evening. This characteristic facilitates the formation of particular flavourings within the grapes; moreover, the constant ventilation from the hills ensures perfect grapes during every harvesting, even if the humid weather might cause the formation of rotten parts. The ventilation is caused by the lake breeze, which may lead to another advantage: an incredibly clean air; however, it may also turn into a violent storm with risk of hailstorms.
Average temperature during the latest 20 years: max 18-19,5°C – min 7,5-9,5°C
Average annual rainfalls: 850 mm