The Wines of Zenato

by artfuldiner on October 18, 2019

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

Zenato WineryFounded by Sergio Zenato and his wife, Carla, in 1960, Zenato is an important and highly-regarded producer in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. It is located in San Benedetto di Lugana, 15 miles west of Verona on the shore of Lake Garda. The Zenato Winery was originally based on the production of quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana.

Beginning in the 1990s, Sergio extended his oenological vision, purchasing land and making wines in Valpolicella at the Costalunga estate in Sant’Abrogio. Here, Corvina and Rondinella grapes are cultivated, the two varieties at the base of the famous Amarone della Valpolicella. The winery’s flagship wine is Ripassa, a Valpolicella Superiore DOC created in a unique method: The best selection of Valpolicella wine is “passed over” the still-warm marcs (the solid remains of grapes after pressing) and used to make Amarone wine. This ancient method was rediscovered in the ‘90s by Sergio Zenato and produces an intense wine rich in body, color, and aroma.

Over the course of time, responsibility for the winery has been passed to Sergio and Carla’s children, who continue to maintain and expand upon their father’s vision. Daughter Nadia currently is in charge of the marking and promotional activity for the company, while son Alberto oversees all aspects of production, from the growing of the vines to the completion of the bottling process.

Although particularly known for its above-mentioned Amarone della Valpolicella, the winery also produces a range of other wines, from Pinot Grigio and Soave to varietal Corvina wines. The winery has also recently introduced a Bardolino red and Bardolino Chiaretto (rosé).

The two wines from this producer that you are likely to run into are noted below…

Zenato Winery - Pinot GrigioZenato 2018 Pinot Grigio (Delle Venezie): This wine is a perfect introduction to Pinot Grigio. It is delicately scented, soft on the palate, and offers up classic citrus and floral notes in a balanced elegant style. It is light-bodied with a refreshing, tangy acidity and a smooth dry finish.

This is a wine that is best enjoyed while it is young when you can fully appreciate its zesty fruitiness. It is also versatile and food friendly, matching well with hors d’oeuvres, garden salads, and grilled sole or tilapia.

The best part, however, is undoubtedly the price, which averages around $11.00 a bottle. I’ve seen it as high as $15.00 and as low as $10.00, so it pays to do a little research both on and offline.

Zenato Winery - Alanera RossoZenato 2013 Alanera Rosso Veronese: The 2013 Alanera is a blend of 55% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The word “Alanera,” Italian for Crow, refers to the black skin of the Corvina grape.

This wine is produced in appassimento style. This is a wineprocessing technique in which harvested grapes go through a drying process prior to fermentation. This process is used traditionally in Italian wine regions to make the popular Amarone, Recioto, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Sforzato wines. Appassimento influences the flavor and concentrates sugars in dried grapes. This results in flavor and mouthfeel alterations in the wines that utilize these grapes. As the sugar concentrates, through water evaporation, wines produced from dried grapes may result in higher alcohol content. Flavors also become richer and bolder, adding complexity to still wines.

These characteristics are clearly demonstrated in the 2013 Alanera, which is a delightfully full-bodied wine with elegant and velvety tannins, a vibrant acidity, and a smooth and harmonious finish. Recently receiving a 91-point rating from wine writer James Suckling, the 2013 is an exceptional wine at an exceptional price. It normally retails at the $18.00 mark, but I’ve seen it on sale in State Stores for as low as $14.99. Definitely worth seeking out.



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