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.
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, helping to moderate the climate and 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.
This wine was 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 modern approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for just over a year in a mixture of large and small, French oak barrels prior to bottling. 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.
Ruby red in colour, this Ripasso opens with a concentrated perfume of red fruits and dried cherries. Full-bodied on the palate, it shows lovely balance between an opulent cherry-pie character and supple structure. The finish is long with a mouthwatering bitter-cherry twist.