In a nutshell: An Italian classic that's mid-way between the lightness of Valpolicella and the richness of Amarone.
The lowdown: Ripasso wines are traditionally made by re-fermenting the wine on the skins of grapes used for Amarone. The result is a bright, vibrant style with lts of lively Valpolicella fruit up front, with underlying layers of nuts, raisins and nougat. The addition of unpressed Amarone skins to the young wine, adds depth, flavour and a little tannin and produces a voluptuous wine with a velvety texture and rich raisined style.
When to drink: It's a comfort wine and will also go well with duck, or a meat ragu.
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.