2009 Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC

Year: 2009
Appellation: Veneto
Country: Italy
Wine Advocate: 93
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
Price :
$79.95

55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Croatina, Sangiovese

"The 2009 Valpolicella Classico is a wine of pedigree and depth. The blend is Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara, and other loose odds and ends found in the vineyards. Half the grapes are pressed as fresh fruit. The other half sees a brief two-month appassimento. The two are blended and macerated on the leftover skins of Amarone. The wine then goes into botte grande for six years and bottle for an additional six months for full integration. This classic vintage shows sweet fruit and black spice with lingering sweetness on the close. The wine imparts a round and slightly sweet flavor profile with earthy end notes of spice and campfire ash.

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." (WA)

Winery Notes:
• Grapes are pressed immediately after harvest

• After 3-4 days of maceration, primary fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts

• Wine is racked and then sits until February

• Wine is racked onto the lees of the Amarone which starts a second alcoholic fermentation (this process is called ripasso)

• After this fermentation, the wine is racked into large Slavonian oak barrels for seven years