Italy, Veneto

Quintarelli is without a doubt the reference point for wines from Valpolicella and the Veneto hills. In fact this historic estate makes some of the world's finest wines, hugely sought after by wine-lovers in every continent. We are delighted to be representing them now in the UK and sharing these spell-binding creations with our customers. The estate came to prominence during the 60 year career of the legendary Giuseppe 'Bepi' Quintarelli, a visionary man who must be credited with reviving this historic region through the production of his incredible wines. The mantra here is 'tradition and time'. These wines are never rushed - they are given as much time as they need in the cellars, to hit their stride, before bottling and releasing to the market. A prime example is the Valpolicella Classico - the estate's calling card - we are just shipping the 2010 vintage, the latest release, a mere 8 years on from the harvest! Most 'Classicos' are drunk a year or 2 from the harvest! In the pursuit of perfection here, the family's patience is an invaluable virtue. Old barrels, cool cellars, traditional methods, patience and soul are the keys here - and the results are extra-ordinary. Sadly the Maestro 'Bepi' passed away in 2012, but thankfully his spirit lives on and his daughter Fiorenza has taken the reins with her two sons: Francesco and Lorenzo and her husband Giampaolo. They are respecting all that the great man achieved and any tweaks are proving to be both positive and minimal thankfully - purely designed to improve the consistency of the wines and raise the profile of this incredible gem.

I recommend anyone who has yet to taste a Quintarelli wine does their best to do so. Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com  (Jan 2012)

'Bepi', as Quintarelli was also known, was anything but a marketing wizard. A staunchly traditional man, he believed that good quality grapes could come only from the hillside, and his Amarone, which was produced only in exceptional years, received prolonged cask ageing, his Riserva version at least 10 years compared to the eight prescribed by law. In more modest years, unlike most of his neighbours, he always declassified his Amarone, a big financial sacrifice for a wine which fetches up €300 a bottle, to the modestly named 'Rosso del Bepi'. But the wine world's ongoing fascination with his wines is due to the fact that they are so very different of most Amarone nowadays: a rich, sweet, heady and alcoholic dark red wine, while Quintarelli's is about freshness and elegance. But Quintarelli didn't eschew international varieties and he was one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. He dried the grapes, just like Amarone, to produce a dry passito wine called Alzero, and which, just like the Amarone, achieved cult status with many imitations throughout the region. Quintarelli may have been thought of as living in the past, but his staunch clinging to traditional values in the vineyard and the cellar and insisting on producing only the highest quality, has made him from the very beginning the region's leader. The fact that his wines commanded the prices they do in the international market is proof that Valpolicella, considered by many a simple, cheap wine associated mainly with supermarket shelves, can be a great wine if made with care and dedication. His way of working has inspired a new generation which, more than ever, wants the wine to be a true expression of terroir. Quintarelli has shown them the way, insisting on large oak casks, choosing natural drying processes for the grapes, reappraising old vines' pergola training and, most of all, an independence from the market which dictates annual production of one of Italy's greatest wines, Amarone, whether the vintage conditions permit it or not. Walter Speller, www.jancisrobinson.com  (Jan 2012)

The last time I visited this historic estate, Giuseppe Quintarelli was alive and I photographed him in the soft afternoon light with his beloved Negrar landscape at his back. So much has changed here since his passing in 2012. His daughter Fiorenza and her children have refurbished the winery with modern touches and new spaces, added new barrels (with beautiful wood carvings on the front panels dedicated to various family members) and have expanded the estate's commercial reach. In fact, on the day I visited this year in early Spring, the winery was full of visiting wine lovers and tourists. One corner that has not changed at this historic estate is the dark and damp tasting room that Giuseppe Quintarelli used. In fact, everything has been left exactly as he would have liked. The concept of tradition runs deep in these parts and no one among his heirs felt it necessary to change Giuseppe Quintarelli's tasting room. Unfortunately for us wine lovers, the family has opted not to replace the model of tasting glasses used. They continue to use small flute-shaped glasses with a small opening and thick glass. Swirling the wine and properly appraising the bouquet is nearly impossible. The moist air and dimly lit environment of the underground cellars certainly do not make the task easier. I asked grandson Lorenzo why they didn't use more technical stemware when tasting with visitors and journalists. He replied in Italian: "tradizione." I'm all for traditions, but I stand strongly against this one. The glasses used at the winery are terrible and next time I come, I'll be bringing my own thank you very much. The wines tasted below were scored under these difficult conditions at the winery. The only exception is the 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva. I ended up buying a bottle of that important wine to taste in the comfort of my home office. Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (www.robertparker.com)  (May 2017)