Our next stop apparently was a very special one as every sommelier, winemaker or person involved with wine I told we were visiting the vineyard of Guiseppe Quintarelli was surprised (maybe even a bit jealous) they wanted to receive us… I’ve been told that they rarely open their doors for visits. So I can say for a fact that we felt honored!! Guiseppe Quintarellli stands for a style, a tradition, a way of doing things… but also for time, effort, patience, and care that go into the making wine. Although I think most people who didn’t have had the pleasure of drinking the wine will for sure recognize the handwritten labels of the wine that were all handwritten by a family friend who was cook from a local restaurant 🙂
Unfortuantely Guiseppe passed away a few years ago at age of 84, but his legacy will live forever. Today it are 2 of his 3 daughters together with his grand children that continue leading the family vineyard that Guiseppe himself took over from his father in 1924. The word ‘perfection’ or ‘perfectionist’ is used a lot to describe Guiseppe who’s drive for perfection was from an unknown level. From the corks, to the bottles, to the grape selection, etc… everything had to be perfect (even if this meant inspecting every bunch of grapes separately). This perfection is also the explanation why most of the wines they produce are not produced/available or exists every year. If for example the grapes that were normally foreseen to make an Amarone were not good enough, they don’t want to put the label Amarone on it but rather call it Rosso del Bepi…for many a fantastic wine, but for Guiseppe not worthy the name Amarone:-) INDEED, this level of perfection :-). Other estates would just call it Amarone… FYI, all grapes are handpicked!!!
The perfection and strict selection also leads to the estate ‘only’ producing 60 000 bottles a year (all types of wine together). Unfortunately this also has an impact on its price (if it is too expensive or not is another discussion), but drinking a wine from the hand of the Master himself is never a disappointment!! You can’t really compare these wines to any other in the region, with maybe one exception Romano dal Forno (but they have lesser vine locations in comparison to Quintarelli), who was Giuseppe Quintarelli’s protégée. Something remarkable (in comparison to other wineries in the area) is the kinds of grapes used for their wines as next to the traditional Corvina and Rondinella they blend it with Cabernet Sauvignon (used a lot in Bordeaux wines) and hints of Nebbiolo (used for Barolo), Sangiovese (used for Brunelllo & Chianti) and Croatina… A blend of everybody’s favorites could be a good description 🙂 maybe we could name a new style?? Bordeaux al Amarone or a Super-Tuscan-Barolo Amarone-style…? Super Tuscan as in some way it makes me think of Ornelaia, Tignanello and Sassicaia aka the super Tuscans as they also blend with French grapes. In case of Guiseppe he takes even a step further to also blending with some Italy’s most renowned grapes 🙂
When we arrived at the Quintarelli vineyard it was grandson Francesco who hosted us and showed us around the vineyard. You could clearly tell that a new generation was running the vineyard as they were in the middle of renovations (that were already busy for 2 years if I’m correct). The parts that were already done were a success a good marriage between the old and the new 🙂 . Francesco told me he (and his entire family) were looking forward to the moment they could finally stop living on a construction site.
I would be lying if I would say I wasn’t looking forward to the tasting as this is always the best part of a tour right 😉 We started with the Bianco Secco which already put smiles on our faces just by smelling the wine. If I then tell you it only went crescendo you’ll believe me when I say that our smile only became bigger as the tasting continued.
Tasting the wines starting from the Valpolicella up to the Amarone’s brings up a very comforting feeling like ‘sliding’ into an old leather armchair in front a fireplace… it somehow also calms you and its aroma’s wrap themselves around you. The 2001 Valpolicella we started with its first aroma’s we discovered were black cherry with hints of leather spices and dried flowers. Not as full-bodied as an Amarone… let’s call it medium-bodied :-). In the mouth we find earthy and mineral tastes… very velvety and beautiful finish. Could it get better we thought? Yes it could 🙂 I won’t be describing all the wines, but the 2003 Amarone does require some extra attention as this was one of the last wines bottled by Guiseppe himself!! It is a wine with lots of different layers and it keeps changing when opening up… we obviously (sadly) we didn’t sit there for hours to drink to finish the whole bottle 🙂 but in the time we were sitting there you know it is a wine that keeps surprising after every sip … Complex though! Ethereal aromas, seductive spices and an unbelievable balance!! Once you have a taste of Quintarelli’s Amarones it will keep you it’s power for always and you’ll never forget that experience. Normally I would be spitting wine when tasting, but this time I didn’t 🙂
As the production of all of the Quintarelli wines are so small, on site you are only “allowed” to buy 2 bottles per types of wine. A reason is basically because the wines are so wanted all over the world that their stock at the winery itself isn’t enormous They ‘only’ have 60 000 bottles a year to distribute. I don’t think that the importers of their wines have limits.. but then again they also don’t have enormous stocks… Moral of this story… if you ever get the chance to drink one (even better if somebody else offer the bottle 😉 ) do it without hesitation!!
If you might have more questions about Quintarelli wines you can contact Young Charly. Also if you might want to buy a bottle they are also the perfect people to contact. You might have also noticed I never put a link towards a website, this is because for as far as I know they aren’t online also not on social media… the word is spread mouth to mouth…
After Red Friday we were ready for white wine Saturday 🙂 Up to Sirmione!!