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Wine Reviews

Giuseppe Quintarelli, Rosso del Bepi

  

Today we're going to try something very special! It's from one of Valpolicella's greatest Amarone producers, Giuseppe Quintarelli!

Amarone Della Valpolicella of Ancient Origins

The history of Amarone from the Valpolicella region is as rich as its wines, with a wine-making history that dates back to the age of the ancient Roman Empire.

Amarone wine is made through a production method called Appassimento – a three to four month long process of drying the grapes until they lose up to 40% of their weight, turning the grapes into raisins. This makes for a wine with a higher alcohol content and deeper, richer flavours. The practice of making wine from raisins is not a modern one. In fact, the earliest documentations of wine made from raisins can be traced to the age of the ancient Roman Empire in the 1st century AD, with early records of Pliny the Elder detailing the types of wines around the Italian region of current day Valpolicella made through the appassimento method.

 

    

This was Recioto wine – a dessert wine and predecessor to Amarone. After drying and fermenting the grapes and turning them into wine, the wine has to be aged in barrels for at least two to five years before it is bottled. This appassimento method to create Amarone wines produces a potent, deep, and rich flavour, making Amarone among the most coveted of Italian wines. 

Today, Amarone is a DOCG (which translates from Italian to Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin) wine, the highest classification of Italian wines. This means that a wine has to pass a strict analysis by an Italian government committee to be legally classified as an Amarone, and only Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella grapes varietals can be used in the production of the wine.

Giuseppe Quintarelli – Quality Born Out of Time and Patience

Enter the Godfather and Maestro of Amarone wines itself, Giuseppe Quintarelli. In the world of Valpolicella and Amarone wines, Giuseppe Quintarelli is probably the most world-renowned, and is widely regarded as the greatest Amarone producer. The late Giuseppe Quintarelli was known as a perfectionist in his craft, dedicated to producing only excellent quality vintages. The Quintarelli winery is located in Veneto in the Valpolicella region, in the hills above Negrar.

When Giuseppe inherited the winery from his father – who inherited from his father – he sought to honour their traditional methods of wine production dating back to the early 20th century. Giuseppe’s commitment to producing only the best quality vintages meant that time and patience were the key ingredients to allow the wine to mature and develop its complexity, harmony, and robustness. The Quintarelli reds are aged in oak casks for at least six to eight years – the longest ageing period in the region.

 

   

The Quintarelli estate is so hardline about quality that they’ve adopted somewhat of a “no-spit policy”. If you paid a visit to the Quintarelli winery for a tasting, you’d find a noticeable lack of spittoons, making sure that every single drop is savoured and nothing is put to waste. Quintarelli sadly passed in 2012, dealing a great blow to Amarone lovers and oenophiles around the world. But his legacy continues to live on in the Quintarelli estate, which is now managed by his daughter, Fiorenza. Till today, the Quintarelli family remains devoted to producing only Amarone wine that they believe are exceptional vintages.

 

 

The Rosso del Bepi gets its name from Giuseppe Quintarelli’s nickname, “Bepi”, and is the name affectionately given to Amarone wines that the estate has decided to declassify. It is in effect, produced in the same manner and with the same grape varietals as an Amarone, but being ever the perfectionist, Quintarelli decided to declassify these wines as Rosso del Bepi, a true testament to his craftsmanship and devotion to the best quality vintages.

We’re trying Giuseppe Quintarelli’s Rosso Del Bepi 2016. This wine is crafted from a blend of local Valpolicella grape varietals (55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella) as well as a medley of international grapes (15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc Nebbiolo, Croatiana, and Sangiovese). The Quintarelli estate’s Rosso del Bepi is rumoured to be of a quality high enough to be practically indistinguishable from the Valpolicella region’s Amarone wines.

Let’s give it a go!

Giuseppe Quintarelli, Rosso Del Bepi 2016 - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Colour: Ruby

Aroma: Soft but dense notes of dark fruits of blackberry and mulberry, wrapped in a light envelope of tobacco leaves.

Taste: An outpouring of dark fruits - blackberries and mulberries galore. It’s incredibly rich with a perfumed aromatic bouquet. Soft smoke, with an earthiness of tobacco that grows and dominates. It’s full bodied with an incredible earthy richness that’s supported by a base of denser and slightly sweeter dark fruit. Firm tannins that give it a nice structure.

Finish: Cleans out nicely, with more on blackberry, and a flinty minerality of river stones. Back to that tobacco, here joined by cacao - it’s rich, dark and earthy sans the bitterness.

 

My Thoughts

This was rather spectacular if I’m being honest. It was a little quiet on the nose although it was quite aromatic, perhaps more time would have opened it up more.

Yet when we got to the palate it was incredibly rich and lush, decked out with black fruit and then came the incredibly aromatic wave of earthiness of tobacco and cigar smoke. The combination of which was simply incredible - it was aromatic, earthy and rich but at the same time had a base of dark fruits to support it with lots of juiciness. It’s entirely rounded and cohesive with firm tannins giving it the perfect structure.

The finish demonstrates more complexity with a more prominent mineral backbone, which subsequently returns to the rich earthiness that resembles dark chocolate.

Just absolutely stunning!

 

Till next time, happy sipping!


@ChopstickPride