Giuseppe QUINTARELLI Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2011
The estate was founded at the turn of the 20th century by Silvio Quintarelli, a grape grower utilising the mezzadria system (sharecropping). The family finally bought the land and passed to Sylvio’s son Giuseppe in the 1950s who maintained the traditions of winemaking but modernised to a certain extent.
The winery is surprisingly modest, there are only 11 hectares of vineyards, but there are many, many vintages of the wines in the barrels. The tasting is hushed and low-key in a dimly lit room and always from pre-opened bottles. It almost has the atmosphere of an old library or a Dickensian office – a real throwback, but this is how they like it. As if the laws that Giuseppe set down two generations ago are still revered.
Quintarelli is not for everyone. Yes, they are high priced, but not just that: these are the essence of artisanal winemaking and have tremendous personality. They have admirers all over the world with the name being uttered with reverence and respect.
AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA DOC
Amarone is the speciality for Quintarelli and a candidate for one Italy’s greatest wines. The reputation of this wine was forged back in the 1950s when Giuseppe Quintarelli took over from his father. Their Amarone is only made in great years, when the vintage is of ‘normal’ quality, the wine becomes Rosso del Bepi. There are many great producers of Amarone, but there is only one Quintarelli.
The wine is made from carefully selected bunches and dried until January when the grapes have lost a considerable amount of their weight. What is left after this process are grapes rich in sugar, concentration and acidity, perfect for making profound and complex wines. After pressing the juice undergoes a long maceration, followed by a slow fermentation of 45 days, finally being racked into large, Slavonian oak barrels where it spends at least seven years.
The wine itself is surprisingly elegant. Make no mistake it is pure hedonism, dense, concentrated and exquisitely rich, but never heavy. Aromas of liqueur cherries, blackberries, forest floor, tobacco, then enhanced by notes of hedgerows, flowers and wood fires. You could be forgiven for wanting to try a bottle of this now, and it will give a lot of pleasure and would be a profound vinous experience, but for those who have deep cellars, bury this one away, as you will often see Quintarelli Amarone from the 60s and perhaps older still drinking incredibly well.
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