The Italian winery Giuseppe Quintarelli in Cerè near the municipality of Negrar is one of the best wineries in the Valpolicella wine-growing region and is known for the high quality of its Amarone. The former owner Giuseppe, who died in 2012, is regarded by wine connoisseurs as the godfather of the legendary Amarone.
The Valpolicella production area
The history of viticulture in the Valpolicella region can be traced back to the sixth century BC. Notes by the Roman historian Cassiodorus show that the sweet wines from this area were already very popular at the Ostrogothic court. The cultivation area received its DOC status in 1968. Climatic influences in the wine region belonging to Veneto are mainly due to Lake Garda and the Lessinian hills.
In the foothills of the Lessinian hills is the zone classified as "classico". Here the grapes ripen at an altitude of 150 to 460 meters. The best wineries are located in the three well-known valleys of Fumane, Marano and Negrar. Usually, different types of grapes are grown, harvested and processed together on the same plot. The soils in the Valpolicella region consist of limestone and basalt.
The uniqueness of Amarone
Amarone means "The Great Bitter". Its production requires the special process of appassimento. For this process, part of the grapes are dried for around a hundred days before pressing. The appassimento ensures a particularly high proportion of sugar and alcohol and thus creates an intense, well-rounded taste experience. In order to consistently ensure the highest quality, the grapes are constantly turned and aerated.
An anecdote from 1936 tells exactly how the elaborate production of Amarone came about. Allegedly, a winegrower made the mistake of forgetting a barrel of Recioto, which as a result went through a second fermentation. The result of the mishap was a sweet and slightly nutty aftertaste. Between 1940 and 1950 this experiment was sold as the Recioto Amaro. The wine now known as Amarone has been on the market under that name since the 1960s.
Giuseppe Quintarelli - tradition and elegance combined
The history of the Quintarelli winery began at the beginning of the 20th century. After the First World War, Silvio, Giuseppe's father, founded his own winery in the Negrar Valley. Since that time, the company has been in family hands and is traditionally run as a family business. In 1950 Giuseppe inherited the winery and began experimenting with new grape varieties.
The Amarone is world famous for its inimitable aroma. As a winemaker with a sense of tradition, Giuseppe was on a mission to elicit the highest quality from his grapes. Only the best grapes were considered for the Amarone, which the master allowed to dry on straw mats for weeks and then mature in his barrels for at least five years. Lovingly designed labels give the bottles an unmistakable, elegant style.
In the last years of his life, the owner received active support in the management of the approximately 12 hectare winery from his daughter Fiorenza and her husband Giampolo Grigoli. After his death, the couple took over responsibility for the family business's viticulture and have been running it together with their two sons ever since.
Another wine with cult status, which is now one of the most valuable wines in Italy, is the Alzero. It is made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Similar to Amarone, Alzero is only produced in vintages when the grapes are fully ripe. Cold maceration is used in the production of Primofiore Veneto IGT to extract valuable tannins and coloring from the grapes. It can take up to eight years from fermentation to final aging in large oak barrels.
The Valpolicella Classico is one of the most popular and well-known wines of Quintarelli. The four grape varieties required for production, Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Corvinone, thrive particularly well in the Classico region due to their altitude. Soil, sunlight and wind harmoniously contribute to the pleasantly fresh and light character of the wine.