The Calvachina winery is located along the southern shore of majestic Lake Garda. It has belonged to the present owners, the Piona family, since the beginning of the 1900s. As far back as 1848 Cavalchina was registered officially as having the finest vineyards in the region, and thankfully they still do. Presently, the Piona family harvests grapes from two distinct sites: 16 hectares at the original Cavalchina estate in the Veneto and at La Prendina, a nearby parcel just over the regional border of Lombardia. Grapes from both estates are vinified at Cavalchina, but each is fermented and bottled individually.
Cavalchina specializes in traditional regional wines, including a very fine Bianco di Custoza and several excellent Bardolino (a blend of the local Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes) in varying styles. Giulietto Piona, the reigning family patriarch, invented Bianco di Custoza at Cavalchina in 1962; he is now considered the founder of that thriving DOC. Presently, his talented son Luciano makes all of the wine at Cavalchina.
At Cavalchina and La Prendina, the estate wines are marvelously consistent and always delicious. Yet, every vintage brings a new and interesting surprise from this ingenious proprietor: one barrel of an innovative and scrumptious dessert wine, a Bardolino Novello, an older vintage of something squirreled away in the cellar, or a wonderful vino da tavola. Luciano Piona always keeps life fun and interesting, just like the marvelous array of wines he loves to produce. And even though Luciano Pioni routinely fashions increasingly superlative wines from one vintage to the next, the outstanding 2004 vintage may be Cavalchina’s greatest effort to date, placing this estate into a whole other dimension.
Cavalchina’s wines are enormously popular in their native Veneto, and they can be found in nearly all of the area’s best trattorias. One of the greatest pleasures of the regional Italian table (and in Italy there is only regional cooking as there is really no such thing as a national Italian cuisine) is to eat fresh lake fish and home made pastas accompanied by a genuine Bardolino, Bianco di Custoza or estate bottled Soave. Wines of such breeding may be considered unassuming by those who have never tasted honest estate bottled examples, but the traditional wines of the Veneto contribute so much to the splendor of the Venetian table and to the enjoyment of fine food, everywhere. Cavalchina’s delicious wines are natural partners to northern Italy’s culinary cavalcade. In fact, this estate’s Bardolino is considered by consumers, critics, and local cognoscenti to be the consummate wine of the Bardolino appellation and the finest accompaniment to its regional fare. Certainly, we agree. Cavalchina is in a class by itself.