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 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.
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.