First vintage of this was 1983. A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot, the fruit is dried for 5 months. Ageing of the wine is in old wooden barrels for 8 years. 15% alcohol and 15 g/l residual sugar. Ripe plum fruit and peach skin sweetness offset the tell-tale Cabernet tones of pencil lead, with complex notes of spices and dried cassis.
Giuseppe Quintarelli was one of the world’s most enigmatic and maverick winemakers. He took over his family estate in 1950 and embarked on numerous improvement projects. Although he still used the traditional appassimento method (drying the grapes until they became raisins), he was always a great moderniser and ever the perfectionist. Above all, the wines were allowed time. No stranger to innovation and experimentation, Giuseppe began producing a cuvee incorporating Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot; the famous Alzero. The estate’s Valpolicella and Amarone are typically made with Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella and are aged for as long as they need in large old oak casks, depending on the vintage and the cuvee. This can often be up to 8 years. Such perfection and rarity have made these wines highly popular among enthusiasts and collectors the world over. Thankfully this amazing legacy seems set to continue, as the late, great Giuseppe was succeeded by his daughter and grandsons in 2012.
Now the largest wine-producing region in Italy, Veneto sits in the north-east of Italy stretching westward to Lake Garda and north to the Austrian border. Soave and Valpolicella are the regions two most important zones, but drastic enlargments of existing DOCs means that quality is not always assurred. Look for quality conscious growers such as Gini who use the single varietal Garganega rather than the other, permitted but somewhat neutral varieties.