Zeni (Roberto)

Grumo, Trento

Brothers Roberto and Andrea Zeni have made wine together since their student days at the prestigious wine school of San Michele. They understood early on that the future of wine from the Trento was quality and not quantity and have taken their Grandfathers business, an Osteria and grape-growing, and turned it into a full winery and distillery. The next generation has now also joined the business with Andrea’s son Rudi taking on the management of the new ‘Schwarzhof’ project. This adds a third and very distinct terroir to the family holdings, it also takes on a niggle that has bugged them for years; the family name which is unfortunately is shared with an Internationally-known wine giant based in Bardolino. Just to be clear, the two companies are in no way connected - Zeni (Roberto and Andrea) produces around fifteen thousand cases a year and Zeni (Bardolino), millions of cases.
The heart of the business is Teroldego, an indigenous vine grown in the vineyards of Pini and Lealbere on the Campo Rotaliano. The combination of mixed alluvial soils over deep gravel on a granite bedrock, and high summer daytime temperatures with cool nights is unique and Teroldego could not be more at home than it is here. Teroldego di Rotaliano has had a DOC since 1971, the wines are highly prized in Italy (over seventy percent of Zeni’s sales are in Italy) and there is not that much left for overseas markets. The Rossara is also planted on the Campo Rotaliano in tiny quantities and, whilst it may be lovely, the truth is that it is probably kept going for sentimental reasons and what would the world be without sentimental romantics?
The white grapes are planted off the Campo Rotaliano, mostly in Maso Nero, a twelve hectare vineyard that clings to a one-in-two slope on the Sorni Hill (400m). Roberto and Andrea bought Maso Nero in 1988 and have since completely re-terraced and re-planted using Guyot training systems rather than the local tradition of pergola. The soils are rich in chalk which truly suits white grapes for both still and sparkling wines.
The third terroir at their disposal is Schwarzhof, these vineyards are above Lavis and have clay top soils on limestone. The wines are very different in consequence: open and generous as opposed to the taught freshness of the Campo Rotaliano vines. The first vintage from Schwarzhof was the 2013, it was an instant success.
All of the vineyards are farmed organically.