David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: an impressive Italian blend at a great price
Zenato 2009 Rosso
$11.25 | Veneto, Italy | 89 points
The hills of Veneto in the vicinity of Verona are home to fresh, light valpolicella on one hand and powerhouse amarone on the other, with all manner of blends and tweaks in between. This wine is one such experiment, from a mid-size family company making very modern, polished wines near the shores of Lake Garda. It’s a very effective and careful blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and corvina, the main local grape of the region—and it’s a stupendous value.
The taste: It pours with deep ruby colour. The nose is quite rich, yet soft, wafting blackcurrant and blueberry fruit (thanks to the cabernet) with typical Veneto chocolate, nuttiness and leather. It’s medium-full-bodied, smooth, sweetish and plush (the merlot), then sour-edged on the finish like any Italian red worthy of the name (thanks to the corvina). The tannins, however, are very soft. This is very impressive for the money, with very good to excellent length.
How to drink it: This wine has the stuffing to age five years—but why bother? It’s plainly made to drink now, with virtually no tannic grit. Open it lightly chilled, and pour it into a big-bowled glass that will give it the room it needs to flex. You could sip this solo or match it with rich pastas, roasts and hard Italian cheeses.