Bardolino? Seriously?

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Could this cheerful Italian red be the next Beaujolais Villages?

More than 15 years ago, Matilde Poggi's wines were unanimously rejected by American importers.

Remembering a conversation with California-based importer Oliver McCrum, Poggi says, "He told me, 'The wine is good, but the consumer is not ready for it.'"

The problem? The wine was Bardolino—Valpolicella's lighter, fruitier cousin, which had a poor reputation in Italy and was largely unknown abroad.

Today, the fortunes of Poggi and her Le Fraghe wines have changed. Not only have her wines gathered acclaim in Italy, they have been imported for 10 years by McCrum, now one of Le Fraghe's eight U.S. importers. What's different? Says Poggi, "In the United States, they started selling wines that were easier-drinking."

For a little more than 30 years, Poggi, 53, has been one of a small group of  producers striving to make high-quality Bardolino in the hills west of the Valpolicella appellation and east of Lake Garda.

Changing Bardolino's image hasn't been easy...read the full blog at winespectator.com