Tag Archives: Zenato

Zenato Wine Tasting

The main reason we decided to stay in Verona in the first place during our recent trip to Italy, was to visit the vineyard of our favourite wine label, Zenato.

Trebbiano grapes with the Italian Alps in the background

Zenato have two vineyards. One in the Valpolicella region, to the east of Lake Garda, where they grow Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes to make their wonderful red wines, like amarone, and one in the Peschiera Del Garda, at the south east tip of Lake Garda. Here they grow Trebbiano grapes to make white wines like their Lugana.

Zenato also grow their own olives to make their olive oil

Our friendly guide, Anna, walked us through the wine making process, where we found out what a truly complex art it can be. The flavour of each wine is so reliant on seemingly endless factors from nature, from the soil composition and weather to the types of plants that grow near the grapes – all encapsulated in the terroir that gives each crop their unique qualities.

Grapes drying to make amarone

While all of this was fascinating to me, we also had the benefit of being able to take in the spectacular scenery of the Italian Alps in the background, as well as seeing the grapes to make amarone being air-dried in crates before being pressed. The end result is an sweet, intensely flavoured wine that we just love.

No swans were harmed in the making of this photograph ! The awesome Lake Garda

Getting dropped off at Lake Garda on a stupendously gloriously sunny day after going through tasting eight of their wines made a slightly tipsy D and I a little emotional at just how good life can be.  La dolce vita !

Zenato Azienda Vitivinicola
Via San Benedetto, 8
37019 Peschiera Del Garda (Verona) Italy
Email: info@zenato.it


Zenato wine tasting @ Basilico @ the Regent Hotel

Yellow-fin tuna and salmon tartare with toasted pistachios, wild fennel and citrus dill oil

Ponti Wine Cellars recently held another Zenato wine tasting.  The last time was at the Imperial Treasure Peking Duck Restaurant, where they paired various Zenato wines with Chinese food, which I don’t usually associate with wine, and found to my delight that wine enhances Chinese food as well. This time around, it was with more traditional Italian cuisine at Basilica in the Regent Hotel.

We started the evening with a prosecco – Lugana Metodo Classico Brut.  Crisp and dry, this was a perfect way to end a Thursday night after work and to ease ourselves into the rest of the evening.

First course was a yellow fin tuna and salmon tartare with toasted pistachios, wild fennel and citrus dill oil, paired with the Lugana San Benedetto 2009. But food first. The tuna and salmon tartare was firm and sweet and we noticed that it was not even seasoned, leaving the additional flavours coming from the fennel (ho hum), the pistachios (a surprisingly fanastic pairing) and the dill (for me the strongest and best flavour with the fishes). The wine was certainly one of those you’d easily drink all evening, but seemed to lack any punch (like I would expect with a pinot gris) which I think would pair well with the more neutral flavours on the plate.

Wild boar and ricotta agnolotti with black truffles and baby artichokes

Second course was a wild boar and ricotta agnolotti which is similar to a ravioli, but rather than having two sheets of pasta and then sealing it, it is simply one piece of pasta folded over – a technicality to me. The pasta was served with black truffles and baby artichokes. Maybe because of the truffles, but the three squares of pasta filled with delicate, tender wild boar with just a hint of creaminess from the ricotta left us almost gagging for more. The thing I find is, similar to sashimi, there is a limit to the amount of really good food that you can eat, before it becomes too much, and I presume three is the limit, but gosh on the night we all felt like we could have eaten at least another serving each.  Paired with a Cresasso Corvina Veronese 2005 (the corvina grape is the main grape in an amarone) this single grape wine was a good all-rounder, but nothing to write home about).

Roasted wagyu beef tenderloin 9+ with asparagus, ratte potatoes and roasted cherry tomato

The meat course was a roasted wagyu beef tenderloin 9+ with asparagus, ratte potatoes and a roasted cherry tomato.  Ratte potatoes are from France and lay claim to being “the potato” by several high end chefs like Joel Robuchon, but for me, the single roasted cherry tomato held the best flavour that married with the tender melt-in-the-mouth tenderloin.  The tenderloin was absolutely bang on perfectly medium-rare and ok I admit all three of the vegetables went well with it, but perhaps it was just so delicious that you could have stuck boiled brussel sprouts next to it, and they still would have been delicious. Paired with this was the Zenato Amarone Valpolicella Superiore 2007.  We thought the Cresasso Corvina was good, until we tasted this and we shouldn’t have been surprised but you just can’t go back once you’ve tasted the amarone.  Strong concentrated berry flavours hit your palate with hints of truffle in a gorgeously mellow wine.

Roasted peach with almond ice-cream and crushed amaretti biscuits

Dessert was a roasted peach with almond ice-cream, biscotti and crushed amaretti biscuits.  And with this, I had for the first time, a red dessert wine – Zenari Reciota della Valpolicella  Classico 2006.  I always think of dessert wines as having a syrupy texture.  This wine was dark cherry red in the glass, had lots of legs when you swirled it in the glass, and had all the sweetness expected with a dessert wine, but a surprisingly light and almost refreshing lightness in texture.  Amazing stuff.

We are still such novices when it comes to wine, but we do know what we like, and D and I are planning our entire trip to Italy later this year around a visit to the Zenato vineyard.  Each time I sample their wines, that trip is simply too, too far away for my liking.

Ponti Wine Cellars stock Zenato wines
G/F 204 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: 6733 0369

Basilico @ the Regent Hotel
Second floor, One Cuscaden Road
Tel: 6725 3232


Zenato Wine Dinner

When we were in Amalfi, we picked up a few bottles of Sergio Zenato Riserva Amarone Classico DOC 2001.  It was the best wine we had ever tasted, and remains our favourite to this day.  D found a few bottles of the 2004 and they are ageing nicely in our wine chiller for a few years before we decide to indulge ourselves.

We were invited recently by Ponti Wines to a Zenato Wine Dinner at the Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant last Thursday.  Four Zenato wines were to be paired with a Chinese menu – something they said they’d tried before and felt worked.  Call me old fashioned but I’m still not convinced this is the case.  However, we were eager to try more Zenato wines, and also got to meet the daughter of the late Sergio Zenato who handles the marketing for the small, family-run company.

The dinner was an intimate affair in a private room, with just D and I and two other guests, along with the Ponti Wine representative, and Nadia Zenato, a beautiful Italian woman, who exuded the famed Italian style.  The dinner itself was good – unremarkable and for that type of establishment, I would say even disappointing, but it was for the wine that we attended, and it was the wines that we got.

We started with Zenato San Benedetto Lugana DOC 2009.  For such a young wine, this wine, made with 100% Trebbiano di Lugana  grapes, was a light, refreshing way to begin the evening.

It was followed by the Zenato Pinot Grigio IGT delle Venezie 2008.  100% Pinot Grigio grapes, fermented for just 15-20 days before aging in stainless steel tanks for 6 months, this was crisp and fresh and a perfect accompaniment to the Four Treasures Platter we were served – cold starters.

The food and wine pairing attempt fell apart at this point and for food we were served prawn ball with egg white and hairy crab roe, where the prawn was suspiciously ridiculously crunchy, making us cringe at the soda bicarbonate trick to “freshen seafood”, and sauteed pea’s leaf with bamboo shoot.  This was paired with Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2006.  80% Corvina, 10% Sangiovese and 10% Rondinella, the wine is “passed over” the semi=dried skins from the amorone.  This makes for a more intense flavour but the wine would have been perfectly acceptable if it weren’t put side by side with the next two wines.

Pan-fried sea perch with asparagus, roasted Beijing Duck and braised pork with brown sauce and vegetable rice followed with the last two wines of the evening.  The Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2006 – a full bodied, liquorice and berry flavoured wine with little tannins, was a gorgeous wine.  The Zenato Sergio Zenato Riserva Amarone Classico DOC 2004 though, was the clear winner of the night.  Zenato only make the reserva from their best years – 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 5% Molinara and 5% Sangiovese it’s a big, ricjly textured wine – spicy and oaky.  To be paired with big meats – a good steak, rich pastas or even chocolate – this is the ultimate wine for us.

This evening reminded us that amarone is, while not to everyone’s taste, certainly is to our palettes and we look forward to meeting Nadia again in Venetto next year when we plan to visit the Zenato vineyard.  Ah bliss.