The Mael is a blend of 40% Garganega (the noble white grape of the Veneto), with the balance split just about evenly among Trebbiano, Trebbianello, and Riesling, all grown in a single, southeast-facing site on the estate. Though fermented and aged exclusively in stainless-steel tanks, this is indisputably luscious wine. Texturally, it’s broad enough to stand up to heartier pastas, risotto, grilled fish, or roasted poultry—and its bright acidity provides a welcome counterpoint to their rich sauces or inherent fat.
In the glass, Mael is a perfect, crystalline blend of silver and gold. Expect a blast (in a good way, I promise) of honeycomb, poached pear, and toasting almonds on the nose, along with subtler notes of dried apricots, wildflowers, and mint.
On the palate, the wine is silky, sunny, opulent, and full of golden apples spritzed with lemon juice. A touch of unsweetened English Cream and flaky sea salt accentuate the long finish.
About this wine producer: Gianni Piccoli is as stubborn as he is modest and self-effacing, with no interest in following the easy paths to guaranteed market share if they mean compromising his principles. He and his sons Mattia, Andrea, and Stefano simply make the best wine in Bardolino. Which is how they find the best customers. Corte Gardoni was established in 1980, when Gianni decided that his beautiful grapes – carefully farmed at low yields on the stony slopes of the moraine in Valeggio sul Mincio – would no longer be sold in bulk, to be blended anonymously in the vats of industrial wineries like Bolla and Folonari that still dominate Bardolino. Building a winery was a risky undertaking in a region that had such little prestige, but Gianni Piccoli never looked back. Today, under the direction of his son Mattia, Corte Gardoni supplies the finest Bardolino and Custoza to nearly every Michelin starred restaurant in Italy.