Abbona and Zanella, from A to Z

High-end wines at low-end prices from two of our favorite pioneering producers

Langhe winemaker Marziono Abbona in his vineyard. All of his wines feature birds on their labels.

The wines of Langhe producer Marziano Abbona are instantly recognizable: each wine's label features the image of a different bird.

Within Piedmont’s vast array of great winemakers, Marziano Abbona is surely among the region’s most innovative. Founded in 1970, the Abbona winery in Dogliani (in the province of Cuneo) has exhibited a remarkable attention to detail, beginning with the very planting of its fruit. Abbona owns 42 hectares of vineyards in Dogliani, Barolo, and Barbaresco, where particular sites are chosen to offer the greatest benefit to each grape variety. This meticulous approach has born excellent results, and Abbona, his brother Enrico and enologist Giuseppe Caviola, are today responsible for wines which while unmistakably of the Langhe, still maintain an individuality true to their makers.

Resembling more closely a luxury hotel lobby, the Abbona winery's new cellar is the envy of most winemakers.

Resembling more closely a luxury hotel lobby, the Abbona winery's new cellar is the envy of most winemakers.

For Airone Cinerino, an intensely fragrant yet mellow white wine, Abbona uses the Viognier grape, traditionally cultivated in the Rhône valley (where it is often blended with Syrah in the Côte Rôtie appellation). Recent DNA analysis however has revealed that the grape is a “white” cousin of Nebbiolo, the variety used to make Barolo and Barbaresco. On hearing this, Abbona set about producing a wine from Viognier grapes grown in Dogliani. The wine is classified as Langhe DOC, an appellation created in 1994 to raise national awareness of some of the area’s smaller local varieties. Marziano named his wine after the elegant gray heron of Northern Italy, the Airone Cinerino, meaning the “ashen heron” (from the Italian cenere or “ash”).

A rare glimpse of Maurizio Zanella without his glasses, in his cellar at the Ca' del Bosco winery in Franciacorta.

A rare glimpse of Maurizio Zanella without his glasses, in his cellar at the Ca' del Bosco winery in Franciacorta.

Regarded as a true pioneer in the Italian wine industry, Maurizio Zanella‘s refreshing sense of originality in his approach to wine, winning him universal respect amongst colleagues, critics and wine enthusiasts alike. His story is the stuff of legend: bored with school life in Milan, the 17 year-old Maurizio began racing motorcycles and on a whim signed up for a bus tour of some of France’s greatest vineyards. “I wasn’t interested in winemaking,” he says. “I just wanted to get out of school.” But Zanella’s attitude soon changed after tasting wines in Burgundy, and he immediately spent all his remaining francs on three bottles from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC). Zanella returned to Italy with a new direction in life: at just 18, he took out a bank loan and opened his winery at his parents’ summer home in Erbusco, near Brescia.

Not one to shy away from the limelight, today Maurizio Zanella is internationally-admired for his wines and his lust for life.

Not one to shy away from the limelight, Maurizio Zanella is internationally admired both for his wines and his lust for life.

Having assembled a team of expert enologists, Zanella’s Ca’ del Bosco (meaning “house in the woods”) winery is now arguably the most sophisticated producer in Lombardy’s Franciacorta DOCG. Today, infinite international exposure has made Zanella something of a celebrity within the wine world, but there is no doubt his wines have no less personality than the man behind them. Determined to produce a truly world-class red, Zanella felt he’d finally achieved his goal in 1981, even lending his own name to the wine. Rosso del Sebino is made of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot and one of the finest Bordeaux-inspired blends we’ve ever tasted, proving that Zanella’s experience in France shaped not only his career, but has also strongly influenced his very approach to winemaking.

small-winesNow these two stunning wines can be yours at a spectacular 30% off!

Viognier Airone Cinerino 2006 Abbona
was $50, now $35

Rosso del Sebino 2001 Maurizio Zanella
was $102, now $71.40

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email contact@vinosite.com.

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One Response to Abbona and Zanella, from A to Z

  1. Do Bianchi says:

    not that I am a fan of modern style wine but…

    the Cinerino by Abbona is a guilty pleasure of mine… the rules are the rules and I have to admit it!

    have you ever tasted Maurizio’s Carmenero? I got to taste the 99 this fall… another modern and guilty pleasure!

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