Medium ruby color; cherry, forest floor, coffee, tobacco on the nose; cherry, plum, dried herbs, cedar on the palate.
Dry; brambly elements and grainy tannins; decant to integrate and smooth everything out. Medium-full body; chewy and full in the mouth. Blend of 55% corvina, 25% rondinella, 10% corvinone, 5% merlot, 5% cabernet sauvignon. Corvina and rondinella are two of the classic—and main—grapes in amarone. Zenato is noted for its amarone. This is not amarone, but what can be considered “amarone light.”
Corvina is a signature grape in Valpolicella. It delivers big red fruit flavors when young that turn darker during the making and aging. Rondinella brings floral elements and low tannin. The wine ferments in stainless steel. Some then ages in stainless steel tanks, while another part spends a year in French oak (large 300-500 liter [79-132 gallon] tonneaux) to round out tannins and add some complexity. The oak is reserved and appropriate.
Zenato Rosso Veronese Alanera is not made using the complete appassimento method (dyring grapes before pressing). It does have an amarone light feel to it because half of the grape harvest is partially dried for 45-60 days in Zenato’s drying facility in Sant’ Ambrogio and Santa Cristina wineries. Valpolicella area is centered around the city of Verona, thus the reference in the label. “Alanera” is Italian for “black wing” and references the raven (“corvo” in Italian), from which the signature indigenous grape corvina takes its name.
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 business they have expanded the vision. Today they also make amarone with grapes from Valpolicella region as well as this amarone light effort. Alberto is the winemaker while Nadia is in charge of marketing and promotional activities.
Zenato Rosso Veronese Alanera 2016 delivers a delicious spectrum of red Valpolicella fruits. Half of the grapes are dried for up to two months to concentrate flavors and engender complexity. This is amorone light from one of the world’s top amorone makers. Balanced, fresh, smooth, generous, delicious. What more do you want? Pair with meaty fish such as sea bass; grilled salmon; seafood stews; earthy, meaty stews; roasted or barbecued chicken; roasted vegetables; lamb; wild game; pastas with red sauces; cured meats; charcuterie; parmigiano-reggiano and other medium-aged cheese. $16-20