Zenato Alanera

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I happily move from season to season here in Minnesota, but fall holds a special place in my heart. From the smell of fireplaces to geese flyovers, to the excuse to revisit red wines that have taken a back seat to the white wine and gin & tonic days of summer, fall simply suits me. I came across Zenato’s Alanera bottling a few years back when I was trying to break out of a rut that found me heavily in the new world. I knew at first sip that this could quite possibly put me into another rut of drinking only wines from the Veneto region. Valpolicella is widely known, and Amarone is king in these parts of northeast Italy. While this isn’t from either exact region, it does take both varietal and methodical cues from each. Start with the wine’s blend of classic regional grapes Corvina, Rondinella, and Corvinone along with small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Then apply the appassimento process (used to make Amarone and Ripasso wines) of drying a portion of these grapes, in this case, 50%, before extracting juice. The result is a gloriously decadent wine filled with notes of cherry, both dried and ripe, plum, espresso, and mint. Drinking this is a luxurious experience. It coats your mouth, lingers on the finish, and makes you quite happy to settle in on a cool night with a glass or two of this old world red.

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