2011 ‘Sergio Zenato’ Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva DOCG, Verona, Italy
This Amarone Riserva cuvée called “Sergio Zenato” is produced only in excellent vintages and is the flagship Amarone by Zenato.
It is made from a selection of traditional Valpolicella grapes, a blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, and 10% of Oseleta, and Croatina.
They are sourced from the oldest of Zenato’s vineyards in Costalunga estate in Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella. Particularly-low yields from these old vines lead greater concentration, while the longer ageing of the ‘Riserva’ treatment infuses more depth and finesse.
After harvest, the grapes are left to raisin for 3-4 months in small trays in the typical Amarone-style fashion (only one layer), well-spaced out to allow good air circulation).
The wine pressing takes place in January through de-stemmer and pre-maceration of the skins on the must. Skin contact fermentation lasted 15-20 days, then the wine has been aged in 7,500-litre Slavonian oak vats for 48 months (4 years).
Disclaimer: the label as photographed on this post was damaged and humid. Below is how the packaging normally looks like.
This Amarone Riserva comes, as is expected, in a pretty dark and deep red color, black to the core looking concentrated, and dark red to the rim.
The nose is also very intense and deep.
Loads of intense prune notes join forces with sweet spices such as clove and nutmeg, somewhat like ginger bread but further backed up by black pepper and licorice for such a powerful scented dark-caramel-like profile. There is a lot going on the nose and you could spend 20 minutes smelling it you could still identify more notes, and I could spend an hour writing about it. Although who would read it?!
Complex, ripe and deep summarize the aromatic profile. Prune, blackberry and a wealth of spices are the main elements.
The palate is much softer and smoother that you might expect!
Yes, it is big and super-ripe, not to the point of feeling really sweet, but yes, the dark berry jam and prune flavors make it somewhat taste like ripe cooked fruits.
Tannins are dense and present, but they feel velvety and round, nearly smooth if it wasn’t for some granulous grip to the finish.
Round body, mouth-coating texture and flavors of blackberry and prune are sooooo intense.
The finish is long and facetted between the super-fruity notes and savory notes of black olive, burnt caramel and clove. Add sweet spices and licorice like in one of these herbal licorice lollies that explodes on your palate, and you’re in for a powerful, roller-coaster of a wine tasting ride.
A big red, or an Amarone to be more precise, that is not for the faint-hearted. Big flavors, big body, a wealth of tannins and alcohol, hugely-concentrated flavors it surely delivers a unique tasting experience.
Somewhat elegant despite all of its powerful features, it is unarguably complex, deep, and multi-faceted.
Just like on a roller-coaster though, you have to be prepared for what to expect before you hop on for the ride. Get ready!