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Alpha Zeta `A` Amarone

Valpolicella, Veneto

Alpha Zeta

Alpha Zeta was started in 1999 when Liberty Wines set out to produce a range of modern, fruit driven wines from the hills outside Verona...

Working with leading New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson, our aim was to work with growers (rather than buy bulk wine, which is standard among most wines from Verona at this price) to obtain ripe grapes (by reducing yields and picking later) and then, using Matt’s expertise, preserve these flavours in the finished wines. The result is a realisation of the potential inherent in Veronese viniculture.

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Vineyards

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

Vintage information

After a fresh start to the growing season in June and July, August and September saw record-breaking temperatures throughout Italy with the north of the country experiencing the hottest temperatures since 1800. This was accompanied by a severe lack of rain which resulted in clean, healthy fruit that was concentrated and ripe. In the Veneto, harvest began approximately 7 days earlier than normal and yields were down 5% on 2010.

Vinification

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large ‘botti’ and French oak barriques) for 18 months, lightly fined with egg-whites and then bottled.

Tasting Notes

Deep and intense on the nose with perfumes of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful but modern, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

Vintage information

Vintage 2011
Grape varieties 90% Corvina/Corvinone
10% Rondinella
Region Valpolicella, Veneto
Winemaker Matt Thomson
Alcohol (ABV) 15%
Acidity 5.6g/l
Residual Sugar 8g/l
Wine pH 3.55