Known as “the Master of the Veneto,” Giuseppe Quintarelli is considered by many to be the best producer of Amarone della Valpolicella. The estate dates back to 1924 and Giuseppe has been in charge since the mid-1950s.
He is an absolute traditionalist, not having changed the techniques set by his father. He ages his Amarone for seven years in Slavonian oak “botti”. The resulting wine is one of the most complex wines produced in Italy.
Giuseppe is a known for his ability to create great wines in off vintages and legendary wines in good vintages. Many have tried to recreate his wines, but he is beyond imitation.
Primofiore is the entry level wine for Quintarelli. It is made from first-press juice, meaning that after the free-run juice is siphoned off for the higher-end wines, the remaining grape matter is gently pressed. The wine includes all of the varietals Quintarelli grows, including: Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Cabernet Sauvignon and is rumored to include Cab Franc. The grapes are partially dried prior to fermentation and complete their ripening during a period of storage in wooden boxes. A technique that produces a more full-bodied and voluptuous character ( though surprisingly not very complex).
Violet, plum, dark current and spice on the nose. The wine’s treatment with Amarone lends rich flavors of cherry, olives, plum, spices, and oak — and there is also some green herbaciousness (which seems to validate the Cab Franc rumors……). Great balance and weight. Great purity — dry, nice minerality, acidity and tannins with a solid finish.
I hesitate to label this a great food wine, but it would pair well with many dishes and make for a memorable meal. I would pair this with lamb, duck, pork — or pasta.
This is not the easiest wine to find, but certainly worth the effort.
Italian Wine Merchants has a large selection of Quintarelli wines — including those well above any price point in my budget. Berkeley Wine Company also has a lot of his wines — and many of them are on sale, including the Primofiore.