WorldWine Blog

2012-01-15

Quintarelli - A legend says Ciao!

Italy mourns Giuseppe Quintarelli, the doyen and Grand Master of the Valpolicella area near Verona (Veneto), who died today at the age of 85. That, at least, is what I am just reading on the blog pages of Italian journalist Franco Ziliani. "Bepi", as Quintarelli was called by his friends, was a legendary producer of Amarone and Valpolicella wines. I myself met him the first time at the end of the 1980ies when tasting the Veronese wines for Italy's wine guide Gambero Rosso, and I will always remember my last visit at his estate roughly 10 years ago.

Giuseppe Quintarelli, Negrar (Valpolicella)
Giuseppe Quintarelli †, on the terrace of his house, high above Negrar. (Foto: E. Supp)

Quintarelli was criticized by some for what people believed an excessive traditionalism - he continued for many years to fill his wines out of large "damigiane" by hand into bottles - but behind this traditionalism was hidden an unbelievable knowledge of his vines and his terroir. He called his vines, so people said, one by one, by their "names", and his wines were and perhaps still are the only ones to show a clear terroir expression in the area.

As long as I have been allowed to taste and judge Quintarellis Amarones - only the best vintages were bottled -, I have always rated them as "dream wines", and his Alzero from dried Cabernet grapes as well as his Valpolicella Monte Ca' Paletta showed incredible longevity as well. Ciao Bepi!

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