Deep ruby color; cherry, strawberry, dark fruits on the nose; candied dark cherry, plum, blackcurrant, strawberry-blackberry jam, red licorice, smoke, oak spice, chocolate on the palate.
Dry; nicely integrated tannin and acidity. Assertive darker fruits lead to lingering finish. Medium-plus body. Easily approachable style that still presents with some attitude, especially in the initial tart attack. You know you are drinking a serious red with depth, concentration, complexity. Same time, there is silkiness on the palate with a smooth segue into dark and almost jammy fruit and oak notes in the mid-palate, leading to an impressively long finish with signature sour cherry that lingers and lingers. Impressive. Good last vintage, a click better this one. 14.5% ABV
Ripassa/ripasso sometimes is called “baby Amarone.” Amarone is made with dried grapes, basically raisins. Zenato is a major amarone maker. As soon as the dried grapes for Zenato’s amarone are fermented, selected batches of Valpolicella wine are “re-passed” over the amarone lees, thus starting a second fermentation that slightly increases the alcohol content and gives the wine deeper color, more complex aromas, and dark-fruit complexity.
This refines in tank for six months, then ages in French tonneaux—132 gallon barrels—18 months. The large barrels impart oak notes, but oak is a bit player in this drama. Bottles age for at least six months before release.
Sergio and Carla Zenato founded the winery in 1960. The original focus was exclusively on trebbiano di lugana, but as their children, Alberto and Nadia have taken over the business they have expanded the vision. Today they also make amarone with grapes from Valpolicella region. Alberto is the winemaker while Nadia is in charge of marketing and promotional activities.
Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore 2017 is bold, beautiful, refined example of Venato ripasso. Very ripe dark fruit from a master maker of ripasso wine. Balanced, fresh, smooth, generous, delicious, opulent. Pair with rich red meat cuts; barbecue; pot roast; slow-cooked brisket; beef negimaki; rabbit ragu; meaty fish such as sea bass; grilled salmon; seafood stews; roasted or barbecued chicken; roasted vegetables; lamb; wild game; pastas with red sauces; risotto; cured meats; charcuterie; parmigiano-reggiano and other medium-aged cheese. $24-30