The wine comes from the oldest of Corte Gardoni’s Garganega vines. Whole clusters, some of which may be affected by botrytis, are hand harvested and dried on straw mats until February, when they have lost a third of their volume. The partially shriveled grapes are then gently pressed into small oak barrels, where the wine matures for twelve months. In a good large glass, the Fenili has a saturated golden yellow color, with flashes of polished copper just at the edge. Aromas of spiced pears, wildflower honey, and crème brûlée emerge when the wine is first poured, later alternating with suggestions of toasted hazelnuts, crystalized ginger, and orange marmalade, as the nose evolves in the glass. On entry, the wine is refreshing, sweet, and exuberant, with persistent flavors that echo the evolving nose, and that leave the palate clean and dry. Perfect with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gorgonzola Piccante and no less rewarding entirely by itself after dinner.
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.