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Alpha Zeta `R` Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso

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 poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress helping to produce superior quality fruit.  

Vintage information

The summer of 2012 was hot and very dry right through to the start of harvest for the early varieties. The first rain for some time occurred just as they were completing the earlier harvests, which was very welcome as it breathed life in to the later ripening varieties such as Garganega and Corvina. The rain continued to fall in sporadic bursts until close to the end of the harvest period. Selection and careful monitoring of vineyards was necessary this year as a result. Although yields were dramatically down, the quality of grapes harvested was excellent and very healthy.  The wines are ripe and concentrated.

Vinification

This wine is made using a traditional Veronese practice known as "ripasso". Traditionally, the young wine was re-fermented on the skins of the Amarone grapes once they had finished fermenting in March. The new, more expensive approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. This blend of modern and traditional winemaking produces a wine with a combination of freshness, structure and depth that is fairly rare among Ripasso wines. Following fermentation, the wine is aged for just over a year in a mixture of large oak and small, French oak barrels prior to bottling.

Tasting Notes

Ruby red in colour, with a concentrated perfume of red and black cherries, with the ripasso adding a dried cherry intensity. Full-bodied on the palate, with a lovely balance between opulent cherry-pie character and supple structure. Good length with a mouthwatering bitter-cherry twist on the finish.

Vintage information

Vintage 2012
Grape varieties 95% Corvina/Corvinone
5% Rondinella
Region Valpolicella, Veneto
Winemaker Matt Thomson
Alcohol (ABV) 13.5%
Residual Sugar 6.5g/l