As an addendum to A Weekend To Remember, we were “allowed” to visit one winery the next afternoon, and Zýmē’s beautiful cave was only a couple of miles away from where we were staying. Carved into the hillside, their barrel cellar is a fifteenth century quarry hewn out of the sandstone, painstakingly recovered from nature and sympathetically fitted with dramatic uplighting, climate control and a beautifully appointed tasting room. Not to mention the occasional sculpture dotted between the barrels.
From the three or four wines tasted at Celsetino’s house the first time we visited him, this time we were offered nine of the eleven wines in Zýmē’s portfolio. All of the wines were very good, but the stars were:
- 2008 Metodo Classico Vino Spumante Brut (€25, 12% ABV, 100% Pinot Noir) a bready, yeasty, mushroom nose; toasty, citrussy, floral and long on the palate, very refined and drinking beautifully.
- 2011 Valpolicella Réverie (€10, 11.5% ABV, traditional blend) archetypal old fashioned Valpolicella, light, bright ruby; fresh slightly tart cherry fruit, delicately structured and refreshing. A joy.
- an excellent but youthful 2004 Amarone (€80, 15.5% ABV, traditional blend) five years in Slavonian oak botti; just opened and rather inexpressive, but dusty, plummy raisin fruit with off dry cherry fruit; touch of sweet spices, a lovely bitterness and very fine tannins – infanticide!
- an exciting new wine, the 2001 Amarone Classico Riserva La Mattonara (€160, 16% ABV, traditional blend) just 2000 bottles produced, nine years in botti; deeply fruity, hugely complex and beautifully balanced; a softer, old fashioned, off-dry style, spicy, rich and exotic with an amaro edge. Again, still a baby.
- the ever impressive Harlequin (2006, €195, 15% ABV, up to 22 native varieties) Celestino’s Super Veneto with a beguiling, sweet, smokey dark fruit nose; spicy, creamy oak, full bodied dark forest fruits, modern yet lithe and massively complex. Its little brother, Kairos, was no slouch either, but as great as these siblings were, to me they never speak of their origins in quite the same way that either the charming Valpolicella or the beguiling Oz did.
I'd have loved to have been able to bring a case of the Metodo Classico and a case of the Amarone home with me but, financial considerations aside, Ryanair is not known for being luggage friendly. Having said that, I can never leave this cellar without tasting the lovely Harlequin Grappa, a bottle of which just happened to find it's way into my suitcase and which is currently giving me the eye across my desk.