PV Tasting Notes
The 2003 Zyme Harlequin is an extremely intriguing wine; I’m not entirely sure how to describe it a “Super Veneto” perhaps....is there such a thing? Independent Review
Actually, there is NOW!
And without question, this is just the man to create it. The wine is made by blending 15 grape varieties, 11 red and 4 white following a short period of 40 days air drying in small baskets, and it is a remarkable achievement, black purple in colour, deeply concentrated, almost a reduction of wine, like old Balsamic, this explodes from the glass, smoky 100% pure chocolate, spice, liquorice, black cherry, plum, citric, violet ink and purple flower aromatics. Palate staining with flavours of coffee liqueur, spices, tobacco, herbs, ripe fig, and simply tons of sweet red and black fruits which just build to a lovely spicy finish. This is as full-on as you could wish for, decidedly not for those who believe less is more, I tasted this as the very last wine following a flight of the top Amarone producers, and whilst this is not Amarone, it blew everything else out of the water. I realise this is a 2003 vintage wine and having already spent 40 months in 200% New Oak, but I feel there are yet some secrets to be revealed, and another 3-5 years in bottle will bring out those secrets from underneath the cloak. Yes, it is insanely expensive, especially with the austerity in the World right now, also given that it is fairly new to the market. But, like Sassicaia, the first Super Tuscan, everyone will want these early vintages in years to come and it’s made in very small quantities, less than 3,000 bottles. It is also sold in single bottle cases! Remember the name, Celestino Gaspari and Zyme Harlequin! The Harlequin is just like Arlecchino’s costume made from many grape varieties containing a kaleidoscopic variability of flavours; it is a stroke of pure genius.
95 points Wine Spectator April 2009
An enticing, enveloping nose offers prune juice, cinnamon and nutmeg, with citrus peel and vanilla bean notes. Full-bodied, with juicy fruit and red licorice coating the fine, firm tannins. Finishes long, with a fresh, spicy aftertaste. An exotic Veneto red using more than a dozen local and international grape varieties, both red and white. Best after 2010. 250 cases made.
The motive for producing this wine: A yearning for creativity forms part of my very being, even – perhaps – of my genetic make-up. I wanted to make a wine whose parameters were different from any other. My goal, then, was not to indulge in competition as an end in itself, but simply to express to the utmost degree all that our territory, its grape varieties and our collective and personal experience have to offer.
Zyme, is the ancient word for Yeast or ferment, and Celestino Gaspari chose it as the brand name for his own dream project located in Valpolicella. The fifteen hectare estate and was founded in 2003, The aging of the wines continues in beautiful and quite dramatic underground cellars which are carved out of a sandstone quarry dating from 1400AD although winemaking activity precedes this date. Celestino was the winemaker at Quinterelli for a period of eleven years and is married to the daughter of Giuseppe Quintarelli, widely considered the heir-apparent; but he has a deep sense of individuality and felt without adequate expression here, wanting to stamp his own mark on the world of wine, decided to work on his own project; Which included, developing new and unique grape varietals introducing different growing techniques and bringing back almost extinct species.
Gaspari is a quiet and very determined man, technically highly proficient and totally in touch nature, he wants his wines to have strong individuality drawing from the best of nature and with his skills creating something on a higher plain. He is clearly very ambitious and has struggled within the bounds of tradition in both previous employment and working within the rules of the DOC, because of this, his and unlike many other top producers of the region his top wine is not the Amarone, but is in fact quite simply Vino Rosso IGT (red table wine); however, there is nothing simple about this or his other wines; Above all else - one thing is certain, Gaspari is an Artist.
In order to pay the bills over last few years Gaspari has been assisting some of the most exciting young properties in the north Italian provinces, but has totally scaled back the consulting work now to concentrate more on his own dreams and I simply cannot believe any of these other projects will be nearly as exciting as this.