Quintarelli Rosso del Bepi 2008

£148.75

In Stock

“Giuseppe Quintarelli’s namesake 2008 Rosso del Bepi (made well before this legendary figure would pass away in 2012) is made in the so-called average vintages when Amarone is not produced. This wine replaces Amarone in those declassified years, meaning that we see Rosso del Bepi made in 2008 and next again in 2010. The estate’s Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, however, is produced in 2009 and 2011. The final decision on which wine will be released is made just a few months before bottling. In very difficult years, neither wine is produced. I have reviewed the 2008 vintage currently on the market now, although the 2010 vintage of this wine was shortly to be released when I visited the estate (but I did not get a chance to taste it). This wine reflects the ideals of a classic blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella (with a smaller percentage of other varieties mixed in for good measure), although you do feel some of the extra heat of the vintage, with some lingering sweetness on the close. The wine registers at 15.5% alcohol, and there are ripe nuances of dark fruit, sweet cherry and jammy blackberry. The wine is immediately open, accessible and beautiful, but like all of Quintarelli’s releases, it would also benefit from additional aging. Drink: 2019-2038. 93+ points

Tasting wines correctly at the Quintarelli family winery is not as straightforward as it could be, and my belief is that the wines suffer because of it. The process is weighed down by tradition and folklore (for example, the late Giuseppe Quintarelli reportedly didn’t approve of visitors spitting his wines) that is practiced at the winery today as a way of keeping his memory and presence alive. The setup involves dim lighting, small and thick glasses, no spit bucket and tiny pours from half-full bottles. Having experienced this in the past, I brought my own tasting glass with me to the winery this time. I was happily surprised when Lorenzo, Giuseppe’s grandson who was pouring for me, asked if I wanted to taste in a more appropriate stem instead of the heavy glass his grandfather loved. I never had to pull out the Riedel wrapped in cloth in my purse. A spit bucket also appeared by request, and I was able to obtain slightly larger pour sizes with a little extra coxing. I can report that things have improved since my last visit the year before, although they could be better still. In complete honesty, I can say that tasting at Quintarelli is a source of some frustration for me. However, the wines themselves are a delight.

Today, the Quintarelli family (Giuseppe’s daughter Fiorenza, her husband Giampaolo with sons Francesco and Lorenzo) farm 12 hectares of vines on limestone and basalt soils between the property adjacent to the winery and other plots in the surrounding hills. Most of the vineyard land was purchased by Giuseppe Quintarelli, but the house and winery were acquired by his father. The Quintarellis worked with consulting enologist Roberto Ferrarini (who passed away in 2014), and the stunning 2007 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico (reviewed here) is dedicated to him.

The winemaking process for Amarone is simple. The best clusters are selected during harvest and left to dry on wooden boxes or mats. Noble rot starts to appear in November and develops carefully until January of the following year. After appassimento, the dehydrated grapes are pressed at the end of January and undergo 20 days of skin contact with alcoholic fermentation on ambient yeasts. The entire fermentation lasts 45 days, and the wine is then racked into Slavonian oak casks for seven years, slowly concluding alcoholic fermentation during aging, thus resulting a dry wine.

The wines are sold according to market demand, so there are no official release dates or schedules. When stock sells out, the family moves more wine from barrel to bottle accordingly. The Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is only made in the best years, and when it is not produced, the family opts to make Rosso del Bepi instead. In terms of the current and upcoming releases, we have the following wines to look forward to: the 2008 vintage went to Rosso del Bepi, the 2009 vintage is Amarone, the difficult 2010 vintage is Rosso del Bepi and the 2011 vintage is Amarone.

Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (244)