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Zenato Chardonnay Riserva Sergio 1999
Zenato is a company that possesses a strong link to the richness of its local history and culture, and continues to develop this connection today. The estate is based in a territory that surrounds Lake Garda, an area with an extraordinary microclimate that allows for an optimal growing season. The Zenato family is passionate in their dedication, vigorous research and innovation.
The company started with Sergio Zenato and his wife Carla as they began to produce quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana, and it has been passed down through the generations to their children. Currently, their daughter Nadia handles the marketing and promotional activity for the company, and their son Alberto oversees all aspects of production, from the growing of the vines to the time when the bottling process is complete.
Over time Zenato has explored another very important area of Italian wine production, Valpolicella, where they have dedicated endless efforts to the improvement and success of Amarone production, a wine of noble attributes and prestige. Zenato has entered into international markets and received the highest accolades from the wine industry's leading experts. Today, Zenato continues to look forward and make investments to develop projects based both in the area of Valpolicella and the area of Lugana.
A large and diverse wine region in northeastern Italy, the Veneto is home to a vast array of different styles of wine.
The sub-region of Valpolicella (meaning “valley of cellars” in Italian) is a series of north to south valleys and is the source of Veneto’s best red wine with the same name. Valpolicella—the wine—is juicy, spicy, tart and packed full of red cherry flavors. Corvina makes up the backbone of the blend with Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina and others playing supporting roles. Recioto and Amarone follow the same blending patterns but are made from grapes left to dry for a few months before pressing, resulting in wines that are intense, full-bodied, heady and often, quite cerebral.
Soave, based on the indigenous Garganega grape, is the famous white here—made ultra popular in the 1970s at a time when quantity was more important than quality. Today one can find great values on whites from Soave, making it a perfect choice as an everyday sipper! But the more recent local, increased focus on low yields and high quality winemaking in the original Soave zone, now called Soave Classico, gives the real gems of the area. A fine Soave Classico will exhibit a round palate full of flavors such as ripe pear, apricot, or yellow peach, have smoky and exotic aromas and a sapid, fresh, mineral-driven finish.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.