Quintarelli's Alzero is one of Italy's most unique, compelling wines, particularly in top vintages, in which it can be utterly mind-blowing. Alzero is mostly Cabernet Franc, with a dollop of Merlot, made Amarone-style. The 1998 reveals compelling layers of ripe dark fruit, sweet herbs, chocolate and spices that gradually unfurl in the glass. The wine possesses gorgeous length and balance, but not the sheer opulence of the profound 1997. Aged in cask, this traditionally made, hand-crafted wine shows more volatile acidity than many wines these days, yet it also offers a totally unique drinking experience.