Quintarelli Amarone Tasting

Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 07:00 PM

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“In wine there is truth”
Roman Proverb

Wine is one of those things that brings me back to a place in time and I remember the first time I tasted a wine from Quintarelli.  Toni and I were up in Washington DC and it was the day before we got married.  We were out to dinner at a famous Italian restaurant in DC which the name now escapes me, but I ordered my favorite wine at that time or one that I just loved to say, Braida Barbera Bricco Dell Uccellone.  The sommelier informed me that this wine was not available and recommended the 1990 Quintarelli Valpolicella.  If he had not brought the bottle to the table, I may have continued my search on the wine list but the hand-written label intrigued me and I went with his suggestion.

I knew Valpolicella as a simple wine, one that was the entry level into wines from this famous wine region near Verona, the home of one of the world's largest wine fairs, Vin Italy.  One smell of this wonderful elixir and I was hooked, the bouquet of dried flowers, meats, that play dough/clay like minerality that complimented the tart red cherry fruit was complex and unique.  I remember thinking of what an interesting wine this was, and it was like nothing that I had ever had before from Valpolicella or anywhere else.

When I got home to Fort Lauderdale, I found who the US importer was and contacted them in hopes of obtaining everything that I could from Giuseppe Quintarelli.  The importer at that time was Robert Chadderdon and his representative here in South Florida was Bill Pelzer.  Bill informed me politely that I would have to take a selection of wines from their portfolio just to get a few cases of the Valpolicella and that if I wanted to get some Amarone it may take a little while and a lot more cases of Chadderdon wines in the store.

That was 20+ years ago and today the Wine Watch has one of the best selections of Quintarelli wines in the United States and we give you our wine drinking people a chance to taste these legendary wines once a year at our annual Quintarelli tasting.  This event is coming up on March 21st and if you love Amarone and have never tried the wines of Quintarelli you don’t want to miss this event last year it sold out without even sending out an e-mail to promote the event!  This year we will be opening the 1990 Riserva Amarone that I bought at the winery over 10 years ago- it’s time to drink it!

If you can’t make the tasting and still would like to experience this magical elixir, we have a big enough stash below to host your own Quintarelli wine tasting.  Check out the new releases and the older vintage wines from the godfather of Verona.  The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $395 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

Quintarelli Wine Tasting - The Godfather of Verona
Saturday March 21st
7:00pm

2018 Quintarelli Bianco Secco Ca Del Merlo ​

2016 Quintarelli Primofiore IGT ​

2011 Quintarelli Rosso Ca Del Merlo Veneto IGT ​

2008 Quintarelli Rosso Del Bepi ​

2011 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico ​

1990 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Riserva

2009 Quintarelli Alzero ​

2007 Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella ​

​​2007 Quintarelli Amabile de Cere Bandito Passito Bianco

Menu
Cheese and Charcuterie Selection
Foie Gras Torchon with Blackberry jam and Hummus fries
Amarone Braised Shortrib over Black Risotto
Chocolate covered Bacon and Blackberries

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $395 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions when you make your reservations and chef Toni will be happy to accommodate you.
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A bit about Giuseppe Quintarelli - The Godfather of the Veneto

Known as “The Master of the Veneto,” Giuseppe Quintarelli makes some of the world’s most sought-after wines. From aperitifs to digestifs, his limited production Amarones, Reciotos, and Valpolicellas are the benchmark for excellence. Their greatness stems from the inherent quality of the terroir and natural talent of this master, whose concept of vintage approval and strict grape selection rival great Chateau of Sauternes.  Quintarelli makes stunning wines in average vintages by hand picking everything and making severe selections- sometimes going cluster by cluster and selecting each individual berry!

Giuseppe puts his wines on the market when he deems them ready, often keeping them in the cellar for decades until the right moment arrives.  Quintarelli Produces around 2,500 cases of Valpolicella, 850 cases of Amarone and 300 cases of Recioto.  Valpolicella is a terroir with a long history.  It has weathered difficult times and has now been saved by the commitment of a large number of young producers, and the example of a great one, Guiseppe Quintarelli.  Giuseppe’s winery, situated at Negrar on the gentile Valpolicella hills, has 12 hectares of vineyards at an average altitude of 240 meters above sea level.  Some of the grapes are brought in bringing the average annual production up to 50-60,000 bottles.  In the best years, Giuseppe Quintarelli makes an Amarone Riserva, and of course 1990 was no exception.  Before release, this seriously good wine spent ten years ageing in Slavonian oak barrels.  The deep garnet hue is appealing and there are sweet cocoa powder and ripe berry fruit on the nose.  The palate is generous with plums, fruit liqueur and coffee in a harmonious, lingering profile.  The Alzero, made from raisined Cabernet Franc grapes is deep ruby red and proffers aromas of red peppers, vegetables and tobacco on the nose.  The palate has remarkable finesse and hints of cocoa, morello cherries, pepper and pencil lead create a very stylish, bitter-sweet effect.  The fresh-tasting nicely rounded Valpolicella has hints of aromatic herbs, cherry fruit and liquorice, as well as good extract.

According to archaeological evidence vines were growing in the Valpolicella area some 40 million years ago, but winemaking probably came about around the 5th century BC somewhere that is now referred to as Fumane, the home of one of the most famous Amarone producers, Allegrini.  This wine was referred to as Retico and came from the county of Catullus, Verona.  Late in the Roman period the name Retico changed to Acinatico.    Cassiodoro, a famous Italian minister to the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, has been quoted making reference to Acinato:  “It has a pure and exceptional taste and a regal color, so that you may believe either that purple got its colour from the wine or that the wine is the epitome of purple.  Its sweetness is of incredible gentleness, its density is accompanied by an indescribable stability and it swells over the tongue in such a way that it seems either a liquid made of solid flesh or else a drink to be eaten.”

Valpolicella, according to some accounts, means “valley of many cellars,” which seems fitting.  It is derived, they say, from the Greek word poli (many) and the Latin cella (cellar).   This area is approximately 27 miles long and 5 miles wide, it passes north and west of Verona, extending from the Adige River to the Cazzano Valley.  Bardolino and Lake Garda lie to the west and Soave to the east.  The land ranges in altitude from 490 to 1,475 feet above sea level.  The vines in the classico district to the northwest of Verona, are planted on the hillsides and mountain slopes of the valleys of the Adige tributaries and the Fumane, Marano, and Negrar torrents.  Some of the vineyards are terraced with stone.  The cretaceous, calcareous soil is of glacial origins.  And volcanic activity in this area contributed elements to the soil as well.  

The area around Sant’Ambrogio is considered the heart of the Amarone production zone.  Within this area, northeast of Gargagnago, is a valley called Vaio Armaron, which may have given the wine its name.   The blend of grapes typically used in Valpolicella is Corvina (40%-70%), Rondinella (20%-40%), Molinara (5%-25%) and may contain up to 15% Negrara Trentina, Rossignola, Dindarella, Barbera, and/or Sangiovese.  Before 1989 producers were allowed to add as much as 15% of grapes, must, or wine from outside the zone to correct problems from a weak vintage, but this practice is prohibited today.  Corvina contributes color, body, bouquet, flavor, and the basic Valpolicella character to the wine.   Rondinella, which is resistant to disease and rot, is added for its color and strength, tannin and vigor, it also adds some refinement to the azromas.  Molinara, or Mulinara, is also known as Rossara Veronese and Rossanella, is blended in to make the wine lighter and more drinkable.  It also contributes dryness and acidity, as well as that characteristic bitterness.  Negrara, adds softness, freshness and early drinkability.

The first dry Amarone, according to writer Cesare Marchi, was the result of a fortunate accident.  In the early 1950s, Adelino Lucchese, Bertani’s cellarmaster, discovered a barrel of wine in the cellar that had been overlooked and neglected for some time.  Certain that it had spoiled he was about to discard its contents, when curiosity prompted him to take a taste just to see what had happened.  He was astonished to discover that the forgotten wine had a velvety texture and a penetrating perfume, a slightly bitter taste, but not at all unpleasant.  There is however evidence that the Romans made a type of bitter Recioto for diabetics or other people who couldn’t take sugar.  Sandro Boscaini of Masi pointed out that some of the oldest families in Valpolicella, the Count Campostrini and Count Serego Alighieri, as well as his own produced an Amaro, a dry Recioto.  This would seem to indicate that Amarone is considerably older that Marchi admits.  According to another book called Valpolicella Spolendida Contea Dei Vino, written by Lamberto Paronetto, the name Amarone has been in use since the eighteenth century.  It became popular at the beginning of this century and the name could very well be derived from the Italian word amaro, meaning “bitter” (scholar Scipione Maffei, writing in the first half of the eighteenth century, refers to an amaro, a dry wine from the Valpolicella area), or it could come from Vajo Armaron, where some highly regarded Amarones have been produced for ages. 

All the Quintarelli in the store:

Bianco Secco Ca Del Merlo
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2018 Quintarelli Bianco Secco Ca Del Merlo ​
Price: $56.00 Your Price: $49.28 Quantity in Stock: 55​

The master of red makes a stunning white as well, an artful blend of Garganega, Trebbiano Toscano, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Saorin (believed to be a clone of the Tokay grape and meaning "flavor" in Veronese dialect). This marks the debut arrival of the 2018, providing a glimpse of what we can expect from Giuseppe in his standout reds. A pretty bouquet of tree fruit apples, pears, melon and lemon blossom with a touch of honey.  Nice weight on the palate, a texture of whole milk and lovely richness on the tongue, a good amount of ripe tree fruits and citrus with a tongue tingly mineral laced finish.  Finish 40+      Excellent +
Primofiore
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2014 Quintarelli Primofiore ​
Price: $69.00 Your Price: $60.72 Quantity in Stock: 1​

2015 Quintarelli Primofiore ​
Price: $70.00 Your Price: $61.60 Quantity in Stock: 14​

2016 Quintarelli Primofiore IGT ​
Price: $75.00 Your Price: $66.00 Quantity in Stock: 12​

Primofiore, or “first flower,” is the youngest Quintarelli wine to be released each year. It shows a perfect balance between the fresher notes of the Cabernets and the juicier and denser nuances of the local grapes, Corvina and Corvinone. It is eminently drinkable --you will be tempted to empty the bottle as soon as you open it, but remember, be patient and let the wine show you its many faces. -Caterina Brault
Rosso Ca Del Merlo
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2006 Quintarelli Rosso Ca Del Merlo Veneto IGT ​
Price: $101.25 Your Price: $89.10 Quantity in Stock: 7​

2010 Quintarelli Rosso Ca Del Merlo Veneto IGT ​
Price: $108.50 Your Price: $95.48 Quantity in Stock: 8​

2011 Quintarelli Rosso Ca Del Merlo Veneto IGT ​
Price: $109.50 Your Price: $96.36 Quantity in Stock: 17​

The Ca del Merlo (NOT Merlot) is aged longer in large wood vessels and comes from a single hilltop vineyard named after a plot of land where a large Merlo (bird) sat perched on a tree overlooking the hillside.
The wine of Valpolicella is made in various styles.  The most common is the light-bodied, dry, fruity red.  This wine is most appealing when drunk young and cool.  Some producers make a more serious style of Valpolicella using a method known as ripasso.  This word is derived from the Italian verb ripassare, meaning "to pass over" or "to do something again."  In the late winter or spring, occasionally later, the new Valpolicella is refermented on the grape pomace from the Amarone, which still contains a lot of sugar.  The wine is put into the barrels that had been used to ferment the Amarone immediately after the wine is drawn off.  The pomace, still high in sugar, nutrients, and extract, activates an alcoholic refermentation.  The temperature increases, due to the warming of the season combined with the warm pomace, causes the development of Saccharomyces bayanus yeasts, which bring about the refermentation of the Valpolicella.  This adds alcohol, total acidity, dry extract, and glycerine to the wine.  The alcohol increases 1.5 to 1.7 percent and total acidity 0.5 to 1 percent.  The wine becomes deeper in color, bigger in body, and richer in alcohol, extract and tannin.  In fact at one time the wines of the Veronese hillsides were classified by the farmers according to their degree of sweetness, and they were priced accordingly, with the sweetest wines commanding the highest prices.  The recioto wines were the sweetest, mezzo recioto was medium sweet, pastoso off dry, and amaro dry.  The first two wines here are made from the same varietals as Quintarelli’s Valpolicella, however the Ca del Merlo (NOT Merlot) is aged longer in large wood vessels and comes from a single hilltop vineyard named after a plot of land where a large Merlo (bird) sat perched on a tree overlooking the hillside.

Rosso Del Bepi

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2008 Quintarelli Rosso Del Bepi ​
Price: $205.00 Your Price: $180.40 Quantity in Stock: 4​

2010 Quintarelli Rosso Del Bepi ​
Price: $220.00 Your Price: $193.60 Quantity in Stock: 2​

2010 Quintarelli Rosso del Bepi MAGNUM ​
Price: $525.00 Your Price: $462.00 Quantity in Stock: 6​

Since Giuseppe demands absolute top quality, he labels his Amarones only in exceptional vintages; in lesser vintages he refuses to produce any Amarone at all; but in fair years he declassifies it, giving it an IGT appellation and calling it Rosso del Bepi, as in 1996, 1999 and 2002. Forward, delicious, and already becoming a cellar addition for many collectors. Made from the classic Amarone formula of Corvina, Rondinella, with Cabernet, Nebbiolo, Croatina, traces of Molinara and Negrara.

 

Amarone

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1998 Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella ​Classico
Price: $499.00 Your Price: $439.12 Quantity in Stock: 2​

2011 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico ​
Price: $450.00 Your Price: $396.00 Quantity in Stock: 9​

This is one of the hardest wines to come by from Italy. This wine comes primarily from the indigenous Corvina, as well as Rondinella with a small percentage of Molinara with traces of Cabernet, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo. A truly stunning wine with great potential for long-term aging, but is tremendously rewarding to drink right now, but I would caution you to finish with this wine as it is hard to follow this wine with anything else.

Amarone Riserva
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2009 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Riserva ​
Price: $795.00 Your Price: $699.60 Quantity in Stock: 3​

It is a special occasion indeed when you get to taste the Riserva Amarone which is only had a few times a decade and our allocation is a meager 3 bottles! 

Alzero
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1998 Quintarelli Alzero ​
Price: $495.00 Your Price: $435.60 Quantity in Stock: 1​

2009 Quintarelli Alzero ​
Price: $527.00 Your Price: $463.76 Quantity in Stock: 5​

Alzero is a massive--and massively delicious--wine. Quintarelli makes it only in the very best years, solely from fruit derived from old vines, predominately Cabernet Franc, usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and a small percentage of Merlot. As in the estate’s Amarone, Quintarelli treats Alzero’s grapes with the appassimento technique, drying the grapes in single layers upon straw or plastic mats for 60 to 100 days to concentrate and intensify the flavor; it’s also the sole Quintarelli wine that’s aged in barriques.

Dessert Wines
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2001 Quintarelli Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico (375ML) ​
Price: $201.25 Your Price: $177.10 Quantity in Stock: 1​

2004 Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella ​
Price: $450.00 Your Price: $396.00 Quantity in Stock: 4​

2007 Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella 375ml ​
Price: $212.00 Your Price: $186.56 Quantity in Stock: 4​

2007 Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella 750ml ​
Price: $416.25 Your Price: $366.30 Quantity in Stock: 11​


​ For 100 years this small producer from the Veneto has been exporting limited quantities to the U.S. The absolute traditionalist has not changed the techniques set by his father. As those who are familiar with Quintarelli know, he creates miracles in off vintages and legends when Mother Nature shines - and in 1990, 1993 and 1995 she did just that, rivaling her efforts of 1990 and perhaps 1976 or 1985. For Giuseppe, like his father, the challenge of Recioto is a labor of love. After arrested fermentation, which provides Recioto's distinctive sweetness, this wine's vinification follows the same pattern as for the Amarone.


2007 Quintarelli Amabile de Cere Bandito Passito Bianco (375 ml) ​
Price: $299.00 Your Price: $263.12 Quantity in Stock: 7​

Toffee, caramel, dates, figs, brown spice, very complex bouquet with incredible complexity with more spice and fruit coming out as the wine opens, coffee, dried apricots, clove and more.  Thick and unctuous on the tongue with wonderful intensity of fruit, dates, raisins and apricot with an array of spice and a firm hand of acidity holding things in place, this wine has a ton of sweetness but is balanced by intense acidity and it seems this wine will last a lifetime or two!!  Finish 50+               KILLER

 

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