The Infusion of Local Vineyards and International Winemakers at Alpha Zeta
With Verona at the heart of this wine producing region and Lake Garda bordering it to the west, the continental climate in Veneto makes for good vineyards and Veneto is known as one of the main wine producing regions in Italy.
It is situated in north–east Italy with the Soave and Valpolicella zones, the two key areas for wine production which expanded rapidly in 1968 with the DOC’s creating an export frenzy expanding the territory but due to the demand the quality of the wines deteriorated and slowly destroyed the reputation of the region.
Grapes grown in the hillsides where yields are controlled produce quality wines and the Garganega grape is the grape of choice for making quality wines as well as the Pinot Grigio as both are grown in poorer soils on hilltop vineyards, creating a greater intensity and flavour for the wines produced.
Winemakers – The history
Alpha Zeta was created by UK wine importer, David Gleave and New Zealand winemaker Matt Thompson in 1999 with the belief that it is possible to make great wines by marrying local grape growers with impeccable wine making and their wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north east of Verona.
Thompson began his wine making career in the 1980’s where he graduated from the University of Otago and since 1992 he has built a reputation as a premium producer of Marlborough sauvignon blanc and acted as a consultant for wineries in France and Italy. His ambition was to create good quality wines from Verona with the amalgamation of the local vineyards.
Matt works with the local grape growers where he selects parcels of fruit and they have worked together to reduce yields improving the quality and flavours of the grapes.
Alpha Zeta partners
Now that we know a little about the company’s winemaker we also have to mention that there are others behind Matt helping with the wine making process and the distribution of their wines.
Alana McGettigan has worked in the wine industry since 2002 with her winemaking experience coming from New Zealand, Australia, France and Italy. In 2005 she joined Matt’s consultancy firm and she has recently launched her first vintage on a solo venture and she loves the challenge of translating the potential of the fruit from the vines into wine.
Luca Degani came from a family of wine producers from the Valpolicella Classica. He then worked in the laboratory at Cantina Bussolengo. Luca was introduced to David Gleave by Franco Allegrini in 1992 and with the common aim of producing good quality wines from local grown grapes, David, Matt and Luca teamed up in 1999 to make Alpha Zeta wines.
Gaetano Tobin was born and bred in Monteforte and graduated in Oenology in 1983 and became the managing director of Cantina Monteforte in 2001. He was introduced to the duo by Luca and they forged an alliance in 2003.
Wines from Alpha Zeta
Alpha Zeta – C Chardonnay 2012 6x 75cl Bottles€39.47 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – P Pinot Grigio 2014 75cl Bottle€7.86 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – V Valpolicella 2012 12x 75cl Bottles€88.51 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – R Rosato 2014 6x 75cl Bottles€35.89 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – A Amarone 2012 6x 75cl Bottles€174.38 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – S Soave 2013 12x 75cl Bottles€71.09 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – R Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2013 6x 75cl Bottles€82.31 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – G Garganega 2014 12x 75cl Bottles€95.62 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – C Corvina 2014 75cl Bottle€8.62 Find Merchant
Alpha Zeta – V Valpolicella 2011 12x 75cl Bottles€106.40 Find Merchant
Most of their grapes come from the vineyards in Valpantena and Alpone valleys with the cool breeze blowing down the valley off the foothills with cool currents from Lake Garda moderating the climate and giving the grape growing season a long run.
The Pinot Grigio grape is planted on granite and decomposed volcanic rock situated in the commune of Monteforte d’ Alpone in eastern Soave.
They select the grapes and then combine expertise to create good quality wines that are well produced and carefully managed by the team at Alpha Zeta who have introduced modern technology to their wine making by adding a must- chiller into the winery ensuring the must is kept cool prior to fermentation.
Grapes are obviously meticulously selected and then hand harvested, pumped to press without the use of sulphur.
They use a mixture of French oaks barriques and large botti and they use screw caps on most of their bottles to prevent the wine from “cork taint.”
Alpha Zeta has won 7 awards for their wines and their collection consists of; Soave, Garganega, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Rosata, Corvina, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Amarone Della Valpolicella and they also produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Getting to Know the Wines
- Pinot Grigio is made from 100% Pinot Grigio grapes and is a clean, crisp and fresh white wine with aromas of baked bread, perfumes and pear
- Garganega a pale gold wine in colour with aromas of honey, peach and almond with a zesty end note
- Rosato is made with Corvina and has aromas of lifted perfumes, wild strawberries and cherry pie with flavours of cherry fruit and a fragrant finish
- Chardonnay an unusual wine for something made in Italy but it is made from 100% chardonnay and half of the grapes were fermented in oak creating depth and complexity
Visit Alpha Zeta
The mentioned wines are a few of their wines and a visit to the winery might be a good idea in order to see the blend of local vineyards and international winemakers.
Contacting them via email to make an appointment might be a suggestion worth taking on board.
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂