Just The Italian Job With Liberty Wines
Alpha Zeta Makes A Winning Impression
Alpha Zeta sounds more like a college fraternity rather than a winery. But a winery it is, started in 1999 when Liberty Wines, working with leading New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson, set out to produce a range of modern, fruit-driven wines from the hills outside Verona. The wines here have distinguishing single letters on the label. The Chardonnay below, by the way, is a Gold Medal winner from the recent Irish Wine Show.
Alpha Zeta "C" Chardonnay Veneto (IGT) 2018, 13%, €14.99
Stockists: 64 Wine; Blackrock Cellar; O'Donovans Off Licence; C Morton & Son Ltd; McHugh’s Off Licence; Thomas`s of Foxrock; The Vintry; Jus de Vine; Myles Creek; Martins Off Licence; Next Door @ The Mary B; Leopardstown Inn; World Wide Wines; The Old Stand; JJ O’Driscoll; Wineoline.ie.
Really bright in the glass with a light straw colour. Aromatic, tropical fruits. Concentrated fruit on the palate, superb acidity too. And this fresh and lively medium bodied wine has a good long finish as well. It was a Gold Medal Winner at the recent National Off Licence Awards at the Irish Wine Show, beating off all-comers in the Old World White Under €15.00 category. Think I agree with the judges. Very Highly Recommended.
As you go to the second glass, you have to remind yourself that this is an Italian Chardonnay, not a French one, not one from Australia. It was a Gold Medal Winner at the recent National Off Licence Awards at the Irish Wine Show, beating off all-comers in the Old World White Under €15.00 category. Think I agree with the judges. Very Highly Recommended.
Alpha Zeta say they are “are resolutely modern yet rooted in the ancient traditions of the area. ‘C’ is for the Chardonnay grapes and for the contemporary style of this wine. This Chardonnay is lightly oaked (half the wine was fermented in oak), with crisp flavours and that combines with a creamy richness on the palate to make an impressive wine.”
Alpha Zeta “R” Valpolicella Ripasso (DOC) Superiore 2017, 13.5%, €19.99
McHughs Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd & Malahide Road; Baggot Street Wines; Mitchell & Son Wine Merchants; 64 Wine; The Vintry; Lilac Wines; C Morton & Son Ltd; Clontarf Wines; World Wide Wines; Myles Creek; JJ O’Driscolls; Bradley’s; The Old Stand; Dwan's Off Licence; Wineoline.ie
Alpha Zeta use a modern approach to the traditional practice of Ripasso with this “R” cuvée, a blend of 85% Corvina/Corvinone and 15% Rondinella.
Colour is mid ruby. Aromas are intense, mainly of cherry, plus other red fruits. The palate experience is similar, concentrated, aromatic and silky. Full-bodied yes but with a lovely and lively cherry character somewhere between the lightness of Valpolicella and the more serious character of Amarone. It’s a good place to be and the acidity is present right through to the long dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.
The traditional Veronese practice, known as “Ripasso", saw the young wine re-fermented on the skins of the Amarone grapes once they had finished fermenting in March. The modern approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for just over a year in a mixture of large and small French oak barrels prior to bottling. The producers say this blend of modern and traditional winemaking produces a wine with a combination of freshness, structure and depth that is fairly rare among Ripasso wines.