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"The Soul of Lugana and the Heart of Valpolicella"

Zenato Winery’s tagline “The soul of Lugana and the heart of Valpolicella” encapsulates the essence of this winery located in Veneto in northeastern Italy.

Sergio Zenato and his wife, Carla, founded Zenato in 1960. Sergio’s life-long dream was to create a winery and produce memorable wines reflecting the “fruits of the earth” from which they were grown. His vision was realized and today these expressive wines are the result of his tireless efforts, love for his land and passion for quality. Both children, Nadia and Alberto Zenato, now run the winery. Nadia manages the marketing and promotional activity and Alberto is the winemaker who oversees all aspects of production.

From left to right: Nadia, Carla, and Alberto Zenato. Photo courtesy of Zenato Winery.

Zenato has 95 hectares of vineyards that stretch from the banks of Lake Garda in Lugana to the hills of Valpolicella’s “classic zone” in the province of Verona.

The Santa Cristina estate is located in San Benedetto di Lugana where Trebbiano di Lugana grapes are grown. Lugana DOC is a small denomination that produces only white wines and is renowned for its distinctive morainic terroir of penetrating humid clay soils and rich minerals deposited by the glacial moraines of thousands of years ago. The wines are naturally high in acidity with characteristic aromas of white flowers and citrus.

Zenato’s Costalunga estate in Valpolicella produces the famous grape varieties Corvina, Rondinella, and Oseleta. Valpolicella is considered the most famous red wine area in Veneto and was given DOC status in the 1960s. There are many styles produced here such as Classico, Superiore, Amarone and Ripasso and they range from light and easy-drinking to powerful and complex wines.

I had the pleasure of tasting three Zenato wines that are great examples of what this winery produces.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Lugana di San Benedetto DOC 2018
This wine is made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana harvested from the San Benedetto vineyard on the south shore of Lake Garda. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

A pale lemon color opens to heady aromas of floral, citrus and stone fruit. Beautiful notes of white flowers, peach, pear and minerality sate the palate with a hint of apricot on the finish. This wine has a round, creamy mouthfeel that is blended nicely with crisp acidity. Drink as an aperitivo or serve with fish, light salads and Asian cuisine.
Alcohol: 13%
SRP: $20

Alanera Rosso Veronese IGT 2017
This wine is a blend of 55% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fifty percent of the grapes harvested for this wine are partially dried for 45 to 60 days. The highly concentrated juice from this process adds an array of aromas, flavors and complexity to the blend. A period of 12 months is spent aging in French barrels with another three months of bottle aging.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Lovely aromas of cherry, plum, tobacco, floral and spice segue onto the palate with added flavors of dried herbs, prune and vanilla. It is a perfect blend of silky tannins and acidity with the bonus of a long and luxurious finish. Serve with meat, stews, aged cheese and fatty fish.
Alcohol: 13.5%
SRP:  $20

Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2015
This wine is a blend of 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta.
The Ripasso method is a technique where the Valpolicella wine is re-passed onto the pressed, dried grape skins from which Amarone is made that are still warm and rich in sugar. A second alcoholic fermentation begins which increases the alcoholic content and the wine becomes richer in color and bouquet. The wine is aged in French oak for 18 months and an additional six months in the bottle before release.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is an elegant wine with intense aromas of dark fruit, plum, spice and forest floor. The palate is layered with rich, ripe fruit such as cherry, plum and blackberry. Hints of baking spice, dark chocolate and minerality show through with creamy tannins and are nicely balanced with acidity and alcohol on a long finish. Serve with meat, game, pasta and hard cheese.
Alcohol: 14.5%
SRP:  $30

These are expressive wines and a great representation of Zenato. And, they have definitely captured the heart and soul of Lugana and Valpolicella!

Until next time…


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