Strawberry fields forever, soft rose petals and vibrant simplicity in a wine that’s approachable and at the same time beautifully refined. Bright, lively ruby colour with violet reflections, delicate and inviting aromas of fresh strawberries, cherries and cranberry with rose petal accents framed by warm spices of vanilla and cinnamon, soft and fresh on the palate with medium-high acidity, timid tannins and a silky, light body, incredibly balanced with a smooth, elegant finish.
Food pairings: This is an easy drinking wine with versatility which could accompany simple, every day dishes such as soups, pasta dishes and white meat. Some examples include butternut squash soup, grilled chicken with sautéed vegetables, cordon blu or pasta fagioli (pasta with beans).
The Zenato winery is a second-generation, family owned producer with vineyards in Valpolicella Classico and Lugana wine regions in Veneto, Italy. Sergio Zenato started the winery in 1960, and it is now run by his wife, Carla, and their two children Alberto and Nadia. In Valpolicella, alongside this wine, they also produce noteworthy Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto wines. Although it is a relatively young winery for the region, it is loved by critics with numerous national and international awards including points in the 90s from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and James Suckling.
Zenato’s Valpolicella Classico Superiore is a blend of 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 5% Corvinone. The grapes are handpicked and fermented in steel vats with maceration for 10 days. The wine is then separated from the grape skins and aged in large oak barrels for about one year.
Valpolicella’s name is believed to derive from “Le valle delle mille cantine“, translating to The valley of a million cantinas. In fact, the region of Veneto is first in Italy for quantity of wine produced as well as quality. While the recent craze for Prosecco has brought this region to the forefront in Italian wine exports, Valpolicella, alongside Bardolino and Soave in the province of Verona, has produced some of the best wines in Italy for centuries, making such wines as Recioto, Amarone, and Soave symbols of Italian viticulture.
The bold austerity and complexity of Amarone ranks it amongst some of the most important red wines in the world, however it shares humble origins with its simple, easy drinking sibling, Valpolicella. Both wines are produced from the same grapes which are indigenous to the area: principally Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, sometimes supported in minimal parts by Molinara, Rossanella and Oseleta.
These grapes are also used in the production of Ripasso and Recioto, which are equally distinct from the others, contributing to the diverse potential and character of the 4 red wines from this area. While Recioto is a sweet wine made from dried grapes, Amarone a dry wine made from dried grapes, and Ripasso a dry wine made partially from dried grapes, Valpolicella is the pure, unadulterated expression.
I was skeptical of this wine, perhaps even prejudiced given I tend to prefer bold, full bodied red wines, but I must admit that when simplicity is achieved with elegance and charm, the result is captivating.