This is the second of two posts on a group of wines we received for review from Zonin USA. This selection of wine is a small cross-section of the extensive range of wine production (64 wines in all) by Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A.
Current generations of the Zonin family manage wine estates in seven well-known Italian wine regions (Veneto, Friuli, Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia) and the US state of Virginia at Barboursville. The Virginia estate was the property of Thomas Jefferson.
2011 Masseria Altemura Negroamaro — inky dark ruby-violet in the glass. Blackberries and blueberries on the nose with spice in the background. Significant, grippy tannins are present along with juicy acidity. Overall, the weight of this wine is surprisingly light in the mouth in spite of the mouthful of grippy tannins and the layers of fruit flavors. A flavorful, food-friendly wine, not at all over-ripe or jammy. ABV is 13%.
Negroamaro is indigenous to the Salento Peninsula of Puglia in southern Italy. This very flat portion of Italy, the “heel of the boot”, is hot and dry. Vinification of this 100% Negroamaro IGT begins with crushing and destemming followed by skin contact for about eight days. After fermentation, aging in oak for 12 months is followed by bottle aging before release.
This bright, juicy wine would accompany any beef or lamb stew, hearty pasta or a roast. Just the thing for a hearty cold weather dish.
2011 Zonin Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore — dark ruby in the glass, with dark fruit, earth and smoky aromas. Flavors echo the nose with concentrated dark fruit flavors, smoke and earthy flavors. This combination of flavors is classically Italian to me. Smooth, moderate amount of tannins are well-integrated. ABV 14%.
This wine is produced in the northeastern corner of Italy. Valpolicella is located within the Veneto region. The Ripasso style of vinification in this region produces a more concentrated, flavorful wine. The process is closely related to that of Amarone, which is also made in the region.
Zonin uses the classic Ripasso method involving a second fermentation that is initiated by contact with the dried grape skin pressings from the production of Amarone. This increases the complexity, aroma and alcohol of the wine. For an interesting explanation of the Ripasso method, see this excellent post at Palate Press. Aging is for 12 months in Slovenian oak followed by an additional 6 months in bottle before release. This DOC classified wine is a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara grapes.
Once again, this is a wine for a “comfort food” meal, anything meaty and hearty would be an excellent partner.
As the weather cools and your style of cooking moves to hearty dishes these are just the kind of wines you will be looking for. That includes, of course, Thanksgiving which is definitely a hearty meal. The variety of side-dishes, various kinds of gravy and dressing served for Thanksgiving can pair with a variety of wine styles. These two wines could easily fit the bill. You could take them along and introduce your family and friends to flavorful Italian wines.
Casa Vinicola Zonin, “Vintners since 1821”, have been making wine for seven generations. Wine Enthusiast Magazine has named Gianni Zonin recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. Gianni is current Chairman of Casa Vinicola Zonin and has been a part of the family business since he was very young. You can read his story here.
Thanks to Zonin USA for providing the tasting samples and technical sheets for the wines.