Founded in 1921, Zonin is Italy’s largest privately-owned wine-making concern in operation today. Considering how far back many Italian wineries go, this makes the company a relative newcomer. In all fairness, it is important to state that prior to establishing the firm seventy years ago, the family had actually been active in the wine industry through seven generations. The founder’s (Commendatore Domenico Zonin’s) four nephews, Gianni, Giuseppe, Gaetano and Silvano, enthusiastically maintain the family tradition.
Well known as a pace-setter in the use of modern winemaking technology, with diligence and dedication, the Zonin family has expanded production and bottling to four-and-a-half million cases per year.
Zonin is actually not just one winery, but a conglomerate of vineyard holdings, vinification facilities and prestigious wine producing estates. Their Montepulci a-no d’Abruzzo vineyards lie at about the same position on the Italian boot as Rome, but well to the east, near Italy’s Adriatic coast.
Here the hearty Montepulciano vine reigns supreme, yielding grapes of robust generosity. In the past, its wines were used for boosting lightweight northern vintages. With technological advances, however, Abruzzi wines have taken immense strides since their emergence on Italian and international markets about twenty years ago. Incidentally, do not confuse this wine with Vino Nobile di Montalcino, a Tuscan wine made almost exclusively from the Sangiovese grape of Chianti fame. In general, Montepulciano d’Abruzzc is a purplish wine with an agreeable, straightforward aroma and a warm, generously fruited, slightly tannic taste.
Our Zonin selection, however, goes far beyond the norm. It will be noted to have the medium light ruby color of a mature red wine. The nose is very “Italian”, somewhat intense, with a spicy aspect (like thyme) plus an intriguing fruity facet (like gooseberries). The taste is full, dry, smooth and satisfying. With its well-stated fruit impressions, firm acidity, and smoothness, this is a well-structured wine. The finish is dry, but not astringent, with nice raspberry, strawberry and gooseberry flavors lingering.
Serve at room temperature with red-sauced pasta, minestrone soup or Manhattan-style clam chowder.
Cellaring Notes: Close to its peak: can hold for 2-3 years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper