27 Apr Think small, get big
– Wine Bluffer on tour
Bardolino, on the sunny shores of Lake Garda, and I am joined by my genial host Daniel Stewart, the International Sales and Marketing Manager of Guerrieri Rizzardi Winery and Estates. Daniel from Dublin puts on his powerful Irish charm amid the warm welcome of the western Veneto, the region that surrounds Venice in the north-east of Italy.
The house of Guerrieri Rizzardi is the result of the union between two ancient and substantive Veronese wine producers: the Counts of Guerrieri, owners of a centuries-old estate with vineyards and cellars in Bardolino, and the Counts of Rizzardi, who acquired their vineyards in Negrar back in 1649.
Guerrieri Rizzardi makes full use of the region’s best native grapes – Corvina, Corvinone, Garganega – but also plant other Italian and International grape varieties including Barbera, Sangiovese, Merlot and Chardonnay due to their suitability to the local soils. Daniel believes in producing wines as an expression of the soil and of the grape variety.
‘The pergola method is historically how it was done around here,’ says Daniel. ‘Growing the vines at head height keeps them away from the frost and lets you run other crops, or chickens, underneath. But our production is all about speed and efficiency while respecting the soil and keeping the wine to traditional methods, and that means growing them closer to the ground using the single Guillot method. Ultimately, our goal is produce wines of quality that have fruit purity, structure and are true reflections of their vineyards.’
The estate is made up of many small parcels of land. Here they machine harvest early in the morning or late evening. Most of these little vineyards are less than 10 minutes away from the crusher, at the start of the winemaking process. The estate, while following organic practice, cannot claim that status due to the proximity of other small vineyards, but alongside their environmental ambitions, is the fact that the winery is completely powered by solar energy.
‘A small yield is the cornerstone of our vineyard philosophy,’ says Daniel ‘Over the years we have reduced to a quantity level much lower than required by DOC law.’
It’s a philosophy that makes their wine highly regarded and even more highly in demand. Try them out at OAK N4
We stock their Pinot Grigio, clean and crisp while preserving all of the delicate citric fruits that make up that classic Pinot Grigio taste.
3CRU Amarone, made from selected grapes from three Cru vineyards. This is a classic Amarone, rich raisin, chocolate, coffee and notes of spice with a velvety full body.
And, Calcarole Amarone. A wine of intense fruity notes and the intense aromas of jam and berries. The taste is long, with fine tannins and a full, deep structure and long finish.