In a nutshell: Concentrated and rich, a stylish take on this sumptuous Italian wine style.
The lowdown: To make Amarone the newly harvested grapes are left to dry for 3 months in specially ventillated rooms before the wine is made. The result is a uniquely intense and full bodied wine. We had to taste a lot to find one to meet our expectations and, at the price, this one actually exceeds them. It's fruit forward approachable with essence of nuts, raisins and figs in a soft, silky full body.
When to drink: It has all the powerful Amarone character but in a modern style exhibiting more rich, raisiny fruit, less forward acidity and supple tannins.
Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and renowned New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with the belief in the possibility of making great wines in the Veneto region of Italy at everyday prices that still fully express the character of both the grape variety and the land.
They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona. The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance.
Working with local Veronese grape growers Matt selects the best parcels of fruit from the hillside vineyards, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they've been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.
Matt works in New Zealand as a consultant winemaker for several premium wineries in Marlborough, including Delta Vineyard, Saint Clair, Tinpot Hut and Lake Chalice Wines. He has spent every vintage since 1993 making wines in Europe, including every vintage in the Veneto since 1999 when he made the first Alpha Zeta wines.