The Valpolicella Region of Italy is located in the northern province of Verona, just east of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. While the region has been made famous in history and theater as the home of Romeo and Juliet and also the home of Two Gentlemen from there, the region is also known as a premier producer of quality, varied wines.
It is thought that wine production in the region goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks, though the exact period isn’t known. The tradition of using partially dried grapes, known as the “Greco” or “Greek style” of winemaking has its origin during this period. Throughout history from the time of the Empire, wines have been exported from this region to all corners of the known world. In the eighth century, traders from the Republic of Venice, a world power, merchant’s records show that local wines from the northern hills of Verona were regularly exported throughout the Mediterranean to the Byzantine Empire.
A while back I wrote about another wine, San Benedetto, which is another member of this wine family. Founded in 1960 by Sergio Zenato and his wife, it was truly a dream come true for them. Their fondest desire was to create a winery that was one with nature. One which could capture the fruits of the land and transform them into a world class wine. With undaunted passion they began to fulfill that dream, using a local grape, the Trebbiano di Lugano, and taking full advantage of the soil and the ideal weather. Following their first years in business, their drive and ambition to excel took them to research ways to improve and to surpass their own results. Now, over time, this tradition, this commitment to quality and innovation has been handed down to their children, Nadia, who handles the marketing and promotional activity, and Alberto, who oversees the production of the wines, from planting to bottling.
Alanera Rosso is a blend of several grapes, 80% Corvina and Rondinella, with some Cabernet, Corvinone and Merlot making up the balance. The wine is a rich ruby red with aromas of sweet cherries and slight hints of chocolate and tobacco. It is full bodied wine with elegant tannins and a long and pleasing finish on the papate. Although it does benefit from about a 2 hour decanting, it drinks very well after immediately opening. Don’t forget that a red wine, a good red wine is not meant only as a thirst quencher. A glass of wine is meant to be sipped on its own or with meals, and as such will technically decant in its drinker’s glass. And if you think about it, that is not a bad concept because wine, as most know, does improve with age. So nursing a glass of a good wine, well, you get the idea.
Wines from this region are full bodied, hearty and flavorful and Alanera is no exception. And while it is by no means the flagship product of this winery, it is most certainly a product of which they can be proud, and you will be most proud to serve. Alone or with a meal of grilled meats or stews, Sunday gravy or pizza, this is a versatile wine that will stand up. As I have said in the past so many times, if you can produce something of which your ancestors would be proud, you have a good product. This is most certainly the case here.
Just as an aside here, this winery is available for tours and vacations. The accommodations are luxurious, the food is delicious and the experience is that of a lifetime. The medieval charm is enhanced by luxurious rooms, meals which can be ordered in your room and available excursions to nearby localities and on Lake Garda. This has really nothing to do with the wines, except that the winery is right there so a tour is totally possible and I’m sure worth the time, and the idea that since the winery is there, so are the wines.