May 31, 2009

Tasting Note Tuesday - 2006 Zenato Ripassa

Italian wine was my first love, which is rare. Usually people enjoy the fruitier, "New World" wines of the US, Australia, etc. Then once they "develop their tastes", they move on to the more complex "Old World" wines of France, Italy, etc.

Well, I've been enjoying a break from my first love and have really been digging the the fruity, oaky, "New World" stuff. But you know what they say... there's always that soft spot in you heart for your first love.

Italy is a huge wine producing country. With so many regions and varietals, it can be very confusing. Italian wine is very unique, and is relatively a good harvest every year. Pick up any vintage, and you won't go wrong.

Zenato is a very well respected Italian winery. In fact, their high-end wine (Amarone) is always stunning, but will set you back about $75. As the name suggests, Ripassa refers to how after the wine is made, they "pass" the wine over the grape skins one more time, which helps add further body and complexity and produces a "bigger" wine. Thus, it boast the same decadent properties as Amarone... but will only pinch your wallet about $25.

2006 Zenato Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa
Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore

Purchased a 375ml off a restaurant list for $30. Opened, and not decanted. This wine is dark ruby in color and has an amazingly complex nose. There are hints of raisins, cherry, flowers, spice and black cherries. Its a big, almost "thick" wine. I don't want to say "syrupy" because I think that would turn a lot of people off. But it definitely is viscous and will coat the inside of your mouth when you drink it.

On the palate, there are flavors of plum, raisins and blueberry. The tannins are still firm, but not too much that you can't enjoy this after opening for about 30 minutes. What's nice about this is there is no hint of oak or any wine-maker interference. These notes are all from the grape. It really is an enjoyable experience. And this pairs excellent with all types of Italian food. If you're looking for a better bottle to enjoy this weekend, then look no further. If you can find this for $25, then don't think twice.

My Rating: Outstanding