Master of the Veneto - A renowned producer in the Classico area is Quintarelli.
Visiting Quintarelli is like seeing inside an artists workshop, where wine is so finely made it is an art form. There is also something humble here too. As you drive up, there is no grand chateau but a lovely seemingly two-story home. The cellar is also a rather modest, only modernized to showcase the history of the winery.
The story goes, some sixty years ago the late Giuseppe Quintarelli succeeded in establishing this legendary estate built on traditions. His perfection to his craft shows through in the quality of the wine. Referred to as the Master of the Veneto he has inspired a generation of winemakers, some of whom after their apprenticeship have gone on to their own success moving beyond the tradition but always with quality ingrained. Today his oldest daughter and her family carry on running the winery in his spirit and practices.
The attention to detail starts in the vineyards and continues throughout the process. Two weeks before harvest any bad bunches are removed, then hand-picked, then sorted for the best of the best which go into a separate drying room to make the Amarone and in good years an Amarone Reserve. After four months of drying and nearly a month of fermentation, they go into large oak casks to patiently wait for eight or ten years respectively. The final artisanal step is the handwritten label.
Their vineyards span eleven hectares and produce just a mere 60,000 bottles per year. The vineyards mainly use the Pergola system for traditional grape varieties such as Corvina, Corvinone or Rondinella, and some very old ones such as Saorin (a white wine grape). The rest are Guyot trained, for international varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah.
Our tasting covered six wines starting from very good to outstanding, each one better than the last. First up was the ‘Primofiore’ meaning first flower or youngest wine and we ended with the Recioto which we would consider a dessert wine.
Quintarelli wines are always small in allocation and in high demand due to the extraordinarily high quality. After seeing this first-hand, I can appreciate the price tag; their Amarone a special occasion wine.