- Category: On the Road with the Grape Guy
(November 4, 2020) ... You may have seen the Monte Zovo name on bottles of Italian wine while perusing the shelves of our liquor monopoly here in Ontario – or maybe (when we could), while wandering wine shops in Italy or around the world. Today, some principles from the winery joined us via Zoom to discuss the wines they make and the vineyards they come from.
Owned by the Contini family Monte Zovo is a four-generation wine family that can date its roots in agriculture back to 1925.
Monte Zovo owns 140 hectares over three estates:
Caprino Estate - their Lake Garda vineyard, at about 450 m above sea level ... and their most northerly vineyard.
Tregnago Estate – the estate where grape drying occurs for Ripasso and Amarone wines; located in eastern Valpolicella at 300 to 600 m above sea level and is dubbed there "valpolicella vineyard".
Le Civaie Estate – their most “southerly” vineyard, aka the Lugana Vineyard, at much lower elevation (130 m above sea level).
They also have access to an additional 240 hectares which are not owned by the family, but “supervised” by them. Through the years they have learned that high elevation is very important to the making of their wines because it provides better diurnal temperature plus sun exposure and ventilation to the grapes.
They have two lines of wines that come out of their winery – the main line Monte Zovo and their secondary wine Villa Annaberta ... the difference between the two labels are:
Monte Zovo ... Classic line “real expression of terrior”, more refined, elegant and ageable – grapes come from high altitude vineyards that are 100% family-owned.
Villa Annaberta ... This easy going, more consumer friendly line described by the family as "juicy and velvety" – 30% of the grapes are from family-owned vineyards, 70% from suppliers, and most from the eastern area at medium to high altitude.
Two of the wines tasted are Ripasso wines from the 2017 vintage, described as "very hot”, but because of the planting being at such high altitude was a help with temperature regulation. Low-lying vineyards did get some frost, but higher vineyards did not suffer the same fate.
The Wines ...
Monte Zovo 2017 Sa’Solin Valpolicella Ripasso
$19.95 - Italy - #650713
The name of the wine refers to the soil the grapes are grown in, “Sa Solini” - little stones. It's 70% Corvina, 20% Corvinone and 10% Rondinella, grown at 350 to 450 m above sea level ... Re-fermented with Amarone skins then aged 18 months in French barrique and tonneau (large barrels). Baked and fresh fruit with spiced-cherry, cassis, and cocoa with a lovely easy finish – the acidity balances the tannins – this one is easily ageable 5 to 7 years. (*** ½+)
Villa Annaberta 2017 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore
$18.35 – Italy – #378091
This incredibly palate friendly Ripasso is made from 60% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella and 10% Molinaro and Oseleta that was re-fermented with Reciotto pumice (instead of the usual Amarone) – aged 24 months in big barrels and conical shaped tanks. Lots of cherry and white pepper provide the basis for this supple and easy drinking cherry-fruit-forward wine. (*** ½)
Villa Annaberta 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella
$38.95 – Italy - #433961
The makeup of this wine is 70% Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella – the rest is a winery secret – only hand-harvested and dried in the “Frutaio” (ventilated room) for 3 to 4 months, then aged 24 months in a mix of barrique and tonneau. As described in the opening, and description of Annaberta, this wine is another fruit forward number with plenty of spiced-cherry and other red fruits. On the finish: red currants, vanilla and mocha all make an appearance. (****)