Zenato – The soul of Lugana and the heart of Valpolicella
Zenato is a tale of two cities with 95 hectares of the best vineyards in Lugana and Valpolicella’s “classic zone”. They carefully craft soulful white wines in Lugana and red wines from the heart of Valpolicella.
The story of Zenato begins in 1960 in San Benedetto di Lugana, in the heart of Lugana. Sergio Zenato was a trailblazing pioneer. He first saw the potential of Lugana in 1960, a time when there was very little attention or appreciation for the region. Sergio deeply believed in Lugana and was passionate about the local grape varietals. Today, thanks to the efforts of the Zenato family, Lugana is considered amongst the top great white wines of Italy.
Today Zenato streches from Lake Garda to the hills of Valpolicella. They produces the highest quality red wines in Costalunga in Sant’Ambrogio from Corvina, Rondinella, and Oseleta.
Zenato Lugana di San Benedetto 2018, SRP $20
This wine comes from the south shores of Lake Garda. Lake Garda is a popular and beautiful tourist attraction, and this wine was reserved for tourists visiting the lake. Due to its popularity and increase in quality, Lugana di San Benedetto is now available in the US. It is made with the unique local grape variety Trebbiano di Lugana.
Pale lemon-green in color, San Benedetto Lugana has fresh notes of peaches, citrus, bananas, and herbs, which are underscored by crisp acidity and supple body on the palate. Wonderful notes of almonds and apples on the finish. A perfect pairing for grilled fish or pasta carbonara.
Zenato Alanera Rosso Veronese 2016, SRP $20
Alanera means “black wing” which refers to the raven “corvo” in Italian. This wine pays homage(three ravens on the bottle) to the Valpolicella’s treasured indigenous grape, “Corvina”. It’s mostly made of Corvina, which makes up 55% of the blend. A very unique wine that is a spin on the traditional appassimento style. 50% of all the grapes harvested to produce this wine are partially dried for 45-60 days. The highly concentrated juice from these partially dried grapes adds an unusually complex spectrum of aromas and flavors to the blend.
Brilliant ruby in color, Alanera delights the senses with a variety of aromas and flavors that include fresh and dried cherries and prunes, sweet spice, and hints of coffee and tobacco. On the palate, Alanera is full-bodied with elegant and velvety tannins. Vibrant acidity brings balance and freshness and supports a long and harmonious finish. Pair Zenato’s Alanera with medium-aged cheeses, cured meats, meaty fish such as sea bass fillet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or with braised meats and stews.
Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore 2015, SRP $30
This is one of my favorites from the Zenato. Ripassa means “repassed” – as soon as the dried grapes for the Amarone are fermented, selected batches of Valpolicella wine are “re-passed” over the left-over Amarone grape skins, starting a second fermentation that gives the wine deeper color and more intense flavors. For this reason, Ripassa wines are often referred to as “baby Amarones” – they have some but not all of the powerful concentration of Amarones and are usually about half the price.
A blend of traditional grapes from the area (85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, and 5% Oseleta). Deep ruby-red in color, this wine shows intense aromas of blackberries and black currants underscored by aromas of spice pepper and a hint of leather. On the palate, it is smooth and viscous with well-balanced acidity and alcohol. Pair this wine with risotto, hearty flatbreads, Lyonnaise sauces, and rabbit ragu.