The Veneto revisited

Posted on: 13th November, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

The town of Garda is located on the southeastern corner of Italy’s largest lake. Just to the north is Punta San Viglio, reputed to be the most scenic spot on the whole lake, and the lovely and the unusually tourist-free town of Torri del Benaco. To the south of Garda town is Bardolino, which gives its name to the famous light red wine of the Veneto wine growing region, one of Italy’s most important. The history of the southern part of Lago di Garda is dominated by the struggles between the powerful  city-states of Verona, Venice and Milan for control of strategic lake towns. The far north of the lake has a different feel about it having been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was under Austrian rule right until 1918.

Last month we flew from Cork to Verona and transferred to a nice three-star hotel in Garda town. We made various ferry trips from Garda including to Gardone Riviera on the western shore to visit the world-famous Heller Gardens.

For me the highlight of the trip was a visit to one of the Veneto’s best wineries. By a most fortunate coincidence, a good friend from Torino who was manager of one of the O’Brien’s wine shops in Dublin for the past 10 years, had recently become Assistant Export Manager of the prestigious Guerrieri-Rizzardi Estate. We met Federico for dinner in a Garda Trattoria one night and he generously offered a personal tour of Rizzardi’s state of the art winery along with a tasting of their fine wines. First of all he drove us around the Bardolino hills affording wonderful views through olive trees and vineyards down to the lake. As we passed one famous winery after another it reminded me of the California wine district portrayed so enticingly in the popular film Sideways.

The entire back of the wine-making buildings are lined with solar panels, which thanks to the wonderful lake climate, produce surplus to needs energy which can be sold to the town of Bardolino. It was amazing to see the enormous vats, some steel, some wooden, in which the wine is made and stored. Finally we got to sit down with some specialty snacks of the area and taste five different Rizzardi wines. First up was a slightly sparkling rose or chiaretto as it is called in this area. Next was a delicious Soave white wine.

The third wine was one of my favourites, Tacchetto (pronounced ta-ketto) Rizzardi’s trademark Bardolino. (see below). Next up came the Munus, unusual because it is made with Merlot, not one of the main grapes usually associated with Bardolino wine. Last of all came a  tasting of the magnificent and powerful Amarone, along with Chianti Classico and Barolo one of the kings of Italian wine. Amarone acquires its bitter rich style from sun drying Valpolicella grapes on mats for a number of months. Both of  my pocket wine guides list Guerrieri-Rizzardi as one of the best producers of Bardolino, which is generally a light, cherry-scented red delicious with lighter cuisine or just imbibed on its own.


Tacchetto. Gorgeous single-vineyard Bardolino. Unoaked, spicy, purfumed and tasting of bitter black cherry. Simply Wonderful. €16.45, although often less on special. O’Brien’s have the exclusive rights to Rizzardi wines in Ireland. Nearest shop, Douglas, Cork.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Duca di Sasseta) 2011. €15 on special in Lidl. Superb wine made from the chianti grape in the town of Montepulciano, thus not to be confused with lesser wine made with Montepulciano grapes used in the Abruzzo region.

Latest News Articles:

Sam Maguire School Tour launched
Fundraising drive to get Kinsale students to World Robotics Championships to Kentucky
Answer the Call to save lives on March 23
Clonakilty students return from trip of a lifetime to rural Malawi
Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads
Clonakilty Access Group AGM hears of many frustrations and challenges for people with disabilities in the town
Schull student scoops top invention award at BT Young Scientist
Schull Garda Station wins ‘Leading Light in Road Safety’ award from Road Safety Authority
Go quackers at the 2018 West Cork Bird Race

Join us on Facebook

Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
... See MoreSee Less

20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
... See MoreSee Less

8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
... See MoreSee Less

20th February, 2018  ·  

Did you know..... ... See MoreSee Less

Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Jump to: