Saturday, April 18, 2015

Veneto, Valpolicella, Appassimento, Corvina, and the Zenato 2012 Alanera Rosso Veronese IGT

Italy's Veneto region is most known for its Soave wines; but their reds have been somewhat a mystery.  My main exposure was a Protocol Wine Studio session last year focusing on the Valpolicella DOC. Fortunately, Leonardo LoCascio Selections has allowed me to revisit the region by sending me the 2012 Alanera Rosso Veronese IGT ($20, 13.5% abv). It is produced by the Zenato winery, which was founded in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato and is a leading producer of Lugana, Valpolicella and Amarone wines.

Like Amarone wine, the 2012 Alanera Rosso Veronese IGT is made using the local appassimento method in which 50% of the red grapes (predominately Corvina) are partially dried before fermenting. The process concentrates the fruit and provides earthier attributes, but doesn't sweeten the wine as I has expected. Besides Corvina, the blend for the Alanera also includes the native Rondinella, Corvinone, and smaller percentages of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - with a portion of each variety partially dried using the appassimento method.  And the name Alanera is a tribute to the Corvina grape, raven in Italian, and thus Alanera or "black wing". 

The wine is extremely dark, another attribute of Corvina, and starts with sweet tobacco and leather on the nose. The flavor is similar to chewing on dried cherries - there's a velvety texture - with the wine finishing dry and tannic. After decanting, the tannins mellowed quite nicely and the dark cherry flavors deepened. A very nice and approachable wine.

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