2007 Quintarelli Alzero Cabernet

Year: 2007
Appellation: Veneto
Country: Italy
Wine Advocate: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 16.9%
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40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot

"A blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, the 2007 Alzero is an Amarone-inspired red blend. The two Cabernet varieties undergo a three-month appassimento process and the Merlot is added at the last minute before bottling. This last grape adds a very evident layer of cherry sweetness and softness that goes a long way in defining this wine. Alzero has been in production since 1983 and no vintage has ever been skipped. This is a dark and brooding expression with a playful mix of sweet fruit intensity and dark tannic background shading.

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:
The late, great Maestro del Veneto, Giuseppe Quintarelli, succeeded in establishing his mythical and legendary estate during an amazing sixty-year career. All of the tradition, love, heart, and soul of crafting one of the world’s finest wines continue at the Quintarelli home and winery in the hills north of Verona. Giuseppe’s daughter Fiorenza, his son-in-law Giampaolo, and his grandsons Francesco and Lorenzo are all keeping a close watch over the family’s legacy.

It is impossible to speak about Quintarelli without superlatives. The name itself stands for so much: the family, the wines, a style, a tradition, a way of doing things. After all the time, effort, patience, and care that go into the making of a bottle of Quintarelli, it truly does mean so much more than wine. Giuseppe, fondly known as “Bepi” to those closest to him, was a perfectionist in every way. From the beautiful handwritten labels, to the best possible quality cork, to the exquisite wine in the bottles, the Quintarelli name is a stamp of authenticity and the ultimate indication of an artisanal, handmade, uncompromising wine of the highest quality.

Nothing is ever hurried at Quintarelli. The wines take their time and are given the time they need. In the still, quiet calm of the family cellars above the town of Negrar, along the winding via del Cerè, deep in the Valpolicella zone, the wine from the family’s hillside vineyards ages patiently and gracefully in large casks until it is ready. Every release is a masterpiece, a testament to time, tradition, skill, and passion, the creations of a master artisan. You can’t really compare these wines to any other in the region, or anywhere else in the world. They really are in a class and a category all their own.

Multiple passages through the vineyards produce a myriad of wines, many produced using the appassimento technique whereby the grapes are dried on rush mats before being pressed and made into wine. From the delicious and seductive Bianco Secco, to the benchmark Valpolicella that created a revolution in the thinking about what it was possible to produce in this region, to the Rosso del Bepi and Amarones produced according to the quality of the harvest, to the otherworldly Recioto and the exceedingly rare Bandito, the sheer artistry and depth of the range is truly exceptional. A bottle of Quintarelli never disappoints!