Meet and taste with Nadia Zenato at Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience Oct. 17-19

We’ve just learned that Nadia Zenato will be pouring Zenato and Sansonina wines at the Wine Spectator “New York Wine Experience” tasting October 17-19 at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.

The annual New York Wine Experience is one of the most prestigious tasting events in the U.S. Each year, the magazine’s editors select nearly 300 of their top-rated wineries to participate — by invitation only. This year, Zenato will be one of 273 wineries pouring and talking about their wines.

Click here for ticketing information.

And click here to view the list of this year’s wineries.

It’s a veritable who’s-who of European and American wine royalty!

Image via the Wine Spectator Facebook.

Monica Larner (Robert Parker): 91 points for Sansonina Lugana Fermentazione Spontanea

What is “fermentazione spontanea” or “spontaneous fermentation”? Click here for our recent post on the use of native yeast to make this extraordinary wine.

Sansonina 2016 Lugana Fermentazione Spontanea
91 points

The 2016 Lugana Fermentazione Spontanea is fermented in oak and aged in stainless steel. This pretty white wine is enormously redolent of peach, white apple and summer-ripe pear. This wine is slightly creamy in approach, with a softness and richness to the palate that is reinforced by those summer fruit flavors.

Monica Larner
Italian reviewer
Robert Parker
September 2019

Zenato launches new photo project with top German photography students

This month, the Zenato winery hosted a group of German photography students from the celebrated f/16 Schule für Fotografie (f/16 School for Photography) in Berlin.

The young artists were selected especially by renowned Italian art critic Luca Panaro, professor at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. They spent a week in the vineyards and at the winery, capturing images and impressions of the winemaking process. Zenato brought them down from Germany during harvest so they could photograph the vineyards during the most “photogenic” time of year. The images will be displayed in spring of 2020 in Milan and they will be collected and published in a catalog of the exhibition following the show.

This new project and partnership is the second “installment” of the newly founded Zenato Academy.

Last year, Professor Panaro tapped students from the Brera Academy for a similar project.

Click here to see some of the photographs of the photographers taken during their visit.

And click here to see some of the images from last year’s show.

The Zenato Academy is just one of the ways that the Zenato family supports the arts and other culturally meaningful projects.

Monica Larner (Robert Parker): “Beautifully delicious, 93+ points”

We are thrilled to share the following review of the 2016 Sansonina Merlot by leading Italian wine critic Monica Larner for Robert Parker.

Sansonina 2016 Merlot
93+ points

Beautifully delicious, the 2016 Merlot is an austere and proper expression of Merlot (made from fresh fruit) that stands tall and makes a great first impression. The wine is immediate and very open, but that does not mean it won’t hold for some near-term cellar aging. The bouquet shows cherry and sweet spice, all carefully dosed: not too strong and not too weak. I tasted bottle number 3,203.

Monica Larner
Italian reviewer
Robert Parker
September 2019

A “pile of rocks” is part of what makes Sansonina so special.

A moraine, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a mound, ridge, or other feature consisting of debris that has been carried and deposited by a glacier or ice sheet, usually at its sides or extremity; the till or similar material forming such a deposit.”

And morainic subsoils are part of what makes the vineyards at Sansonina so special.

That’s a photo, snapped last week, of the morainic material — debris of an ancient glacier — that you find as you walk through the rows. I actually dug those up myself from the top soil, which you can see in the photo below.

Earlier this year, I translated the first part of Professor Attilio Scienza’s essay on the origins of the morainic subsoils at Sansonina (check it out here). In the piece, he describes the Würm, “the fourth and last phase of the cooling of the earth. It was a classic example of the erosion and accumulation of detritus that the glaciers left behind as they retreated from the most barren areas of the Alps.”

In the case of Lugana, where Sansonina is located, the same glacier that formed what is now Lake Garda also pushed and accumulated debris south of the lake.

At Sansonina, the presence of morainic subsoil is particularly high — higher than in most parts of the appellation. That’s why the Zenato family decided to plant Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Sauvignon Franc there: Because the soils are very similar to Bordeaux’s right bank, where the same grape varieties are planted, with a predominance of Merlot just like at Sansonina.

The stony nature of the soil makes it drain well. And that means that the vines will undergo what is called “hydric stress” as they struggle to find the water table below the layer of morainic material. As a result, they produce much richer fruit. And it’s just one of the things that makes this particular growing site, surrounded by white grape plantings, an ideal place for Merlot — a red from the land of whites.

Jeremy Parzen

The 11th annual Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato Golf Tournament

Click here for a Facebook photo album featuring images from the tournament. Thanks to everyone who came out to compete!

The 11th Annual Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato Golf Tournament

On Sunday, September 15, the Golf Club Paradiso in Peschiera del Garda (Verona) hosted the 11th Annual Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato Golf Tournament. Italians from across the country, Canadians, Americans, Swiss, and Finnish — more than 100 golfers in all — played the gorgeous 18-hole course.

The yearly gathering combines a celebration of the Lake Garda region, where the Zenato family began making wine 60 years ago, with the family’s devotion to excellence, quality, and attention to detail — values shared by golfers and winemakers alike.

This year, for the first time ever, the event also featured an exhibition of more than 2,000 historic golf clubs and balls, some dating back as far as 1850, a collection on loan from the Museo Privato Bisagno della Storia e dell’Antiquariato del Golf (The Bisagno Private Museum of Golf History and Antiques). Highlights from the show included photographs, books, and rare documents (some dating back to the 15th century). The show also included four of the world’s most famous golf clubs: Walter Hagen’s “Lay Flex” (1930), Bobby Jones’ “Calamity Jane” Putter (1931), the “MacGregor” iron (1948) Ben Hogan used to win the U.S. Open in 1950, and the “Jack Nicklaus MacGregor” putter (1968).
Continue reading “The 11th annual Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato Golf Tournament”

Harvest 2019 has begun at Zenato and Sansonina (why hand-picking is key)

The grape harvest in Verona province is one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see. Nothing can compare, visually, to the picturesque, fully ripe grape bunches on the vine being picked.

But beyond the cinematic, harvest is also the most important moment in the vines’ vegetative cycle. It’s at this moment that the quality of wines the vintage will be set in stone.

The grape grower needs to pick at just the right moment to ensure that the balance between sugar and acidity is perfect. As important as vineyard management and winemaking are, it’s this decision that will determine the ultimate caliber of the wine.

Those are some of the first grapes to be picked in Valpolicella Classica above (you can see more on the Zenato Facebook here).

As you can see in the image, the grapes for Zenato and Sansonina wines are picked by hand. And as any great winemaker will tell you, hand-picking is key in this extremely important moment of the grape’s life, so to speak.

In order to make great wine, the winemaker needs the fruit to arrive in the cellar as pristine as possible. If the skins of the grapes break before fermentation begins, it can cause major problems down the line. Keeping those clusters intact is a top priority for the pickers, who place them gently into crates that are then transported to the winery.

Grape picking is labor-intensive, exhausting work. But it’s thanks to the diligent pickers that the berries will make to the fermentation vats in perfect condition. Without their hard work and care, the entire year’s work would be moot.