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Cheerful, dry but fruity and all too easy-to-drink Italian pink from the Valpolicella grape, corvina. Enjoy as an aperitif, with olives and bruschetta, or go all-out pink with a selection of salami.
Product Code: QVG-IT26651
View all products by Alpha Zeta
New Zealander Matt Thomson began his winemaking career in the late 1980s after graduating from the University of Otago. Since 1992 he has been building a reputation as a premium producer of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, but for almost just as long he has also acted as a consultant at wineries in France and Italy. In 1999, he decided to realise his ambition of creating a range of modern, good quality wine from vines in the beautiful hillsides surrounding the city of Verona, and the Alpha Zeta brand was born. Many brands from this area of the north-eastern Veneto region buy their grapes in bulk from a range of sources, but Matt knew that he could have better control over quality and vineyard practice if he instead chose to work with a select handful of growers. He now works with just two co-operatives whose vineyards cover 1,900 hectares in the Valpantena Valley to the north of Verona. The star grapes for Matt’s wines are pinot grigio and the cherry-scented corvina variety.Cool breezes sweep the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, moderating the temperature and helping the grapes to ripen at a slow and steady pace. This means that harvesting grapes later – something Matt ensures the growers do – helps the fruit to reach its ideal ripeness. The poor, chalky soil also means the roots dig deeper for moisture, putting the vines under stress and increasing the grapes’ concentration, and the Alpha Zeta growers restrict yields to enhance this flavour intensity even further. In the winery, grapes undergo cool fermentation in order to retain their fruity aromas. Matt’s skill at realising the huge potential of Veronese wines made him the obvious choice for The Society’s Pinot Grigio, which comes from a single vineyard for added precision of flavour.
Three regions constitute this wide and varied area. In the very north-east, abutting Slovenia and Croatia lies Friuli-Venezia Giulia. South and east of Venice spreads the broad swathe of the Veneto, one of Italy’s main wine producing areas in terms of volume. Finally, falling from the foothills of the Dolomites is Trentino-Alto Adige.Since the 1970s Friuli-Venezia Giulia has earned a fine reputation for high-quality white wines and a burgeoning one for reds. Most of the estates here are family owned with some co-operatives dotted around. Much of the inland area is hilly or mountainous with flatter vineyards sited around the Isonzo River as it comes down to the sea. The two principal white wine making areas are the Friuli Colli Orientali in the north-west and Collio Goriziano in the centre and east around the curve of the Slovenian border. The Orientali vineyards are in the lee of the Julian Alps and are cooler than the vineyards of Collio Goriziano though they are protected from northerly winds and have a more continental climate. They sit at altitudes of between 330 and 1200 metres on soils that were once beneath the ocean, so marl and sandstone predominate. The Collio Goriziano vineyards enjoy slightly greater influence from the Adriatic to the south, though the cool air draining from the higher ground in the north plays its part, and the vineyards sit upon the many steep slopes in this hilly country.Pinot grigio was an early success here and is still widely made, but chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot bianco have joined local varieties like tocai fiuliano, picolit and verduzzo in producing some of Italy’s freshest and most interesting white wines. Local varieties like schioppetino and refosco have struggled to find an audience outside of the region in the past though this is changing, and some Bordeaux blends from the Grave region of free draining alluvial soils are making people sit up and take notice.Trentino-Alto Adige was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and in the northern parts of the province (Alto Adige) German is still widely spoken. Indeed, the architecture, food and customs owe much to their Teutonic roots and there are elements that remain in the vineyards that echo a Germanic past. Riesling is planted here and the village of Tramin gave its name to the gewürztraminer grape which is now so widely planted in another region with Germanic influences, Alsace. To reinforce that comparison, sylvaner, muscat, müller-thurgau and pinot gris (grigio) are also to be found here. Alto Adige is also known as the Süd-Tyrol (South Tyrol) and lies on the border with Austria and is Italy’s most northerly wine region. Here the vines grow in the foothills of the Alps, on the lower slopes along the Adige Valley. Altitudes vary between 200 and 1000 metres. White wines made the reputation of the region for their lively, fresh purity but reds are grown here too. Schiava and the burlier lagrein are the indigenous varieties much used here, though bracing cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines are made from plantings that can struggle to ripen and escape some greenness. Some very fine pinot noir wines are having an impact for their high-class and poise.The Veneto is something of a vinous bread basket. The soils are fertile, which is not usually propitious for fine wine production, and officially permitted yields are unacceptably high. The region produces enormous quantities of everyday wines for exporting and blending but also embraces the Valpolicella region where the jewel in the crown is Valpolicella Amarone, the sweetly rich, full-bodied expression of semi-dried corvina and rondinella grapes that is sought after the world over. Though bulk production, particularly through large and highly-efficient co-operatives, is still prevalent the improvements in winemaking and viticulture are clear, and there are many producers in formerly workaday DOCs like Valpolicella and Soave who are turning their corvina, rondinella, garganega and trebbiano di lugana (turbiano) grapes into vinous gems. Prosecco is also produced here from the glera grape in the hills around Conigliano almost due north of Venice, and is something of a worldwide phenomenon in terms of sales volume. As ever, there is a lot of basic fizz but the producers who take a little more care in vineyards and wineries are making delicious bubblies at all price levels.
"Pleasant rose perfect for bbqs. Subtle flavor not bursting in fruit. Quite neutral but quaffable. Good value for money"
"Pleasant rose perfect for bbqs. Subtle flavor not bursting in fruit. Quite neutral but quaffable. Good value for money"
The Times 6th Jul 2019
"With bright, tangy, pomegranate fruit, this pale,
rose-pink jewel is the bottle to serve at a summer buffet party as it can cope
with spicy and not so spicy foods. - Jane MacQuitty"
The Times 8th Jun 2019
"Italian rosatos have
a bitter nip that makes them a whizz with garlicky alfresco spreads, so snap up
this zesty, fruit first, pomegranate-scented 2018. - Jane MacQuitty"
"Raspberry/red berries nose and fruity red berry taste. Dry finish. Went perfect with barbecue. Would re-order/try new vintage."
Mr Nathan Whittamore (25-May-2019)
"From The Times
2017 Alpha Zeta R Rosato (Italy, 13 per cent)
Wine Society, 01438 741177, £6.25
A pretty-as-a-picture, rose-red rosato, made by draining the just-stained juice from corvina grapes. Kiwi expertise, low yields and poor chalky soil help to explain why this herbaceous, red berry-stashed pink is so good."
Mr Toby M H Smart (05-Jul-2018)
The Times (30th Jun 2018)
pretty-as-a-picture, rose-red rosato, made by draining the just-stained juice
from corvina grapes. Kiwi expertise, low yields and poor chalky soil help to
explain why this herbaceous, red berry-stashed pink is so good. - Jane MacQuitty"
"Goodness knows how
they pack in such herbaceous, red berry flavour, but at £6.25 ...it might just
represent the best value of all the wines on my [top 50 white and rosé] list. - Jane MacQuitty"
"Lovely crisp rose. Not too sweet or dry, just a lovely fresh fruity wine. Definitely worth the very small price tag."
Miss Sally Brown (11-Feb-2018)
"Colour: Pale salmon pink.
Aroma: Subtle and understated, pink grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and rose petal.
Taste: Dry, light-bodied (lean) with good acidity. The red fruit flavours are reflected on the palate but the length is hollow and short and the finish brief.
Overall: Disappointing, although the aroma and flavour are very nice they are both muted and need to be intensified. OK this is not an expensive wine but still expected more, not one to impress the guests and I would not recommend."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (24-Dec-2017)
"Great wine, especially for the price. More than just a little sweetness, but well balanced by the acidity. The favourite of 8 rosés, at a local Wine Society tasting group."
Dr Paul Fernandes (15-Jun-2017)
"Classic crunchy cherry and cranberry, refreshing acidity, an excellent aperitivo rose. Easy to use screwcap, a bargain price and the sort of wine you can glug from a tumbler. Will also suit any lighter Italian style foods. Part of a wider range of alphabetically labelled Italians, all good value examples of their type (but not available from the WSoc)."
Mr R Piggott (24-Apr-2017)
"This is a lovely Rose. One of the nicest I have ever tasted.. Recommended without reservations."
Neil Butter Esq (18-Feb-2017)
"Easy drinking, lightweight, crisp and dry Italian pink. Perfect aperitivo with the usual suspects (olives, peppers, breadsticks etc) or just for general glugging while the bbq gets going! Lovely red cherry fruits and that cleansing high acidity freshness make this the perfect picnic wine (screwcap/lowish alcohol) and it's a bargain too."
Mr R Piggott (17-Jun-2016)
Scotland on Sunday (12th Feb 2017)
"... well made and
substantial, corvina-based … This has ripe plum and red currant fruit and rose
petal aromas with, crucially, a prickle of apple and pink grapefruit freshness
to keep everything lively and in balance. - Brian Elliott"
"A lovely dry rose, which is a pleasure to drink, at a very reasonable price."
Miss Deborah Boyd (20-Nov-2015)
"Clean and fresh, good value, but a wine champion I cannot agree with. I was expecting a touch more substance of flavour and complexity on the palate - I'm a hard man to please..."
Mr Tomas Bexton (05-Jul-2015)
"I acquired two bottles as apt of the 2015 Wine Champions Italian Champions Case. Well made, clean, inoffensive and perfectly good for the price rose."
Mr Tristan Ward (30-Jun-2015)
"This is a rosé of a quality well above that of its French counterparts, which always manage to be a little bit cloying, even at twice the price. Alpha Zeta have managed to blend Valpolicella and corvina into a small miracle that is a particular pleasure to serve to rosé-sceptics."
Prof John Joseph (04-Aug-2012)
"Enjoyable rose, which needs food to fully complement this style of Italian wine."
Mr Malcolm J Davies (25-Jul-2012)
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