Zenato is a large scale operation near Lake Garda in northern Italy. Despite their size, the company has consistently put out excellent –if occasionally anodyne—wines in Valpolicella.

Vintage after vintage, the Zenato Amarone is an excellent, highly sought after, and rather expensive wine. A personal favorite, however, is the significantly lower priced Ripassa. For this wine style, grape skins from the Amarone are repurposed into a new batch of red wine.

Aged in French barrels, the Ripassa is mostly Corvina, with a small amount of both Sangiovese and Rodinella. It comes across as a deft balance of Belgian chocolate and espresso beans, with a velvety texture and a rich infusion of black berries, and just a touch of rustic charisma. Full bodied and decadent: a very sexy bottle of wine.