Producing a bottle of Quintarelli is no simple task. After harvest, while half of the fruit—in this case, a diverse blend made up mainly of Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella—is crushed and fermented like a traditional red wine, the remaining grapes are set to dry for two months in a process known as appassimento. After the two lots are blended, the wine is then passed over the pressed skins from the family’s Amarone, a powerful wine made entirely from dried grapes. During this ripasso, the sugars left over in the Amarone pomace set off a small secondary fermentation, slightly boosting alcohol content and, crucially, contributing additional texture and rich, complex flavors. Only after all this has taken place is the wine racked to massive Slavonian oak botti, where it rests for no fewer than seven years before bottling. And now here it is: the fruit of all that labor, a product of local tradition and clever innovation perfected over many decades by the Quintarelli family. Edition 2013 of the Ca’ del Merlo is a vibrant and tightly wound beauty with a dense, elegant core of luxurious black fruit and sweet spices, the whole showing class and restraint. Treat it as you would a fine Barolo: decant it young, cherish it old, and serve it alongside full-flavored, savory dishes such as braises, wild mushrooms, and hearty pastas coated in slow-cooked ragù.
It is impossible to speak about Quintarelli without superlatives. The name itself stands for so much: the family, the wines, a style, a tradition. After all of the 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 handwritten labels, to the best quality cork, to the exquisite wine in bottle, the Quintarelli name is a stamp of authenticity and the ultimate indication of an artisanal wine of the highest quality. From the seductive Bianco Secco, to the exceedingly rare Bandito, the artistry and depth of the range is exceptional. A bottle of Quintarelli never disappoints!
Italy’s most prolific wine region by volume, the Veneto is the source of some of the country’s most notorious plonk: you’ll find oceans of insipid Pinot Grigo, thin Bardolino, and, of course, the ubiquitous Prosecco. And yet, the Veneto produces the highest proportion of DOC wine of any Italian region: home to prestigious appellations like Valpolicella, Amarone, and Soave, it is capable of excelling in all three colors, with equally great potential in the bubbly and dessert departments.
With almost 200,000 acres planted, the Veneto has a wealth of terroirs split between the Po Valley and the foothills of the Alps. While the rich soils of the flatlands are conducive to mechanization, high yields, and mass production of bulk wine, the areas to the north offer a fresher climate and a diversity of poor soil types, ideal for food-friendly wines that show a sense of place. Whether it’s a charming Prosecco Superiore from the Glera grape, a stony Soave or Gambellara from Garganega, or a Corvina-based red in any style, the Veneto’s indigenous grape varieties show real character when worked via traditional production methods.
Since his first visit in 1979, Kermit has regularly returned to the Veneto to enjoy its richness of fine wines and local cuisine. Our collaboration with Corte Gardoni, our longest-running Italian import, is a testament to this. The proximity of beautiful cities like Verona and Venice, with their deep culinary heritage, certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa