Chiaretto – Italian rose from the shores of Lake Garda

Let’s go to Italy today. I feel like writing about a lunch I had on the shores of Lake Garda back in September when I visited the Lugano wine region. Perhaps it’s because spring is just round the corner that I  got to thinking of rosès. I took a look at some photos I took last September when I was in Italy and thought the wines were  just too pretty to ignore. Not only that but they are also very under-rated. The rosès come from the vineyards on the slopes of hills that surround Lake Garda  and are some of the best and lightest that Italy produces. The DOC benefits greatly from the microclimate that surrounds the lake with a mild microclimate, we saw palm trees, olive trees and lemon trees, which considering we were almost at the foot of the Alps was quite a surprise.  Chiaretto is the wine that is made from the first pressing of the gropello grape of the Garda Classico DOC region. Gropello is a red grape that gives light and spicy wines. Sangiovese, barbera and marimeno are also allowed in the blend but gropello is the main grape. There are only 300 hectares of gropello in the world and like pinot noir, it can be a fussy grape, needing much care and attention. In order to produce chiaretto, the producer can only use the first press and he has to be careful that the must has only brief contact with the skins in order to get not only the lovely pink hue but also to obtain the optimum fruit without unbalancing the wine. It is a delicate balancing act and one that has been perfected over the centuries. The local vintners call it the “wine of one night” because vinification takes place over one day and one night and  it remains in contact with the must for not more then 6-8 hours. Chiaretto is a wine that should be drunk young and because it is so fresh and...

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