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Giuseppe Quintarelli: The Importance
Arguably the most important producer in the whole of the Veneto, Giuseppe Quintarelli has been producing legendary wines for close to a century, and his wines, especially his Amarone, serve as the benchmark in quality for this region.
Quintarelli is known by some as ‘The Master of Veneto’ and demand for their range always far outstrips supply. In Robert Parker’s words, “the best wines are phenomenal”
Giuseppe Quintarelli: The Insight
Founder Giuseppe Quintarelli was staunchly loyal to traditional methods and values both in the vineyard and in the cellar. While this has sometimes attracted accusations of living in the past, it was was clear that his dedication to ancient methods was due to his determination to produce only the best quality wine. It was nonetheless clear that Quintarelli was not scared to innovate, producing for example a dry white wine from the rare local grape variet Saorin and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Corvina called Primo Fiore.
The revolution in the way that Valpolicella is perceived around the world was arguably triggered by Quintarelli. Where previously, the wine was known for being cheap, simple, mass produced wines to be stocked on supermarket shelves, Quintarelli showed the world how truly outstanding this complex and long lived this wine could be, when given the proper care and attention. This was through extremely rigorous grape selection, and extensive ageing, with the wines often being aged for seven to eight years in Slavonian casks before bottling. Quintarelli only released his wines when he felt that they were ready, which was often several years after other producers in the region. This attention to detail extended to the bottles and corks, and the labels were often hand-painted and glued by Quintarelli himself and his daughters.
The estate is best known for their Amarone and Recioto and a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend called Alzero, which Quintarelli produced with encouragement from the American importer Robert Chadderdon and made with the Amarone method of appassimento.
Of the 2004, 97 point rated Alzero, Antonio Galloni writes that “I loved this wine when I tasted it at the property over the summer, and it is equally magnificent tonight. Soaring aromatics lead to layers of blue and black fruit, graphite, savory herbs and tobacco. Rich and voluptuous to the core, the 2004 captivates us from the very first taste.”
Of the 2000 Amarone della Valpolicella, Antonio Galloni writes that it is “a thing of beauty. This mid-weight, delicate red offers up a gorgeous array of crushed flowers, red berries and sweet spices in an ethereal style. As it sits in the glass the wine acquires concentration and richness. The wine possesses the grace of a ballerina, phenomenal balance and impeccable pedigree.”
Some of the best vintages at this estate have been 1990, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004.
Giuseppe Quintarelli: The Background
The Quintarelli estate dates back to 1924, when Giuseppe’s father Sylvio set up his own estate, having cultivated vineyards for many years. Gisueppe, born in 1927, took over his father’s estate in 1950, immediately implementing changes in order to improve the quality of the wine produced.
Giuseppe Quintarelli passed away in January 2012 at the age of 84, and his estate continues in the hands of his children, with the estate now being managed by his daughter Fiorenza, her husband Giampaolo and their two sons, Francesco and Lorenzo.
The legend of Giuseppe Quintarelli lives on through his estate and the generation of winemakers he has inspired, notably Romano Del Forno, who was his protégée for many years.
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