April 8, 2011

Alpha Zeta Ripasso Valpolicella 2008

Discovered at a tasting event at deVine. Usually I find Valpolicella on the thin side, like Pinot Noir but without the character. Maybe I've only ever tasted mediocre Valpolicellas. The one - Alpha Zeta - is very robust, more like a meaty Zinfandel. At first it blew me away: I was thinking 91 points. But as I keep tasting it, the wine doesn't hold up. It's still very good, but usually a fine wine will start tasting better as you get further into the glass. Not this one for some reason.

My initial reaction was that it engaged all of the palate, especially a slight sweetness that balanced the sour acidity nicely. But as I keep going, the sweet just seems to take over. A little pruney, to be honest. I am impressed that it has such a full body and mouthfeel, and I think this would be excellent paired with any good pasta (especially a tomato vodka sauce), veal or chicken.

From the winery website:
This wine is made using a traditional Veronese practice known as "ripasso". Traditonally, the young Valpolicella 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 unique among Ripasso wines.
A great value, and something a little different that I wouldn't have otherwise tried.

89 points. $19.99 at deVine

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