Giuseppe Quintarelli was a trailblazer in the Veneto region of Italy, where until his death in 2012 he led one of Italy’s most respected wine estates. Quintarelli grew up on the estate that his father founded in the 1920s, and by the 1950s Giuseppe was cutting grape yields and taking other labor intensive steps to improve the quality of the estate’s wines. His attention to quality paid off, and by the 1970s his Valpolicellas and other wines had attained cult status. In the 1980s his Amarones and Reciotos were some of Italy’s most sought after wines. Today the 30-acre estate in Negrar is run by his children and the estate is still winning awards. Gambero Rosso, Italy’s leading wine journal, has awarded the estate 3 Bicchieri, its highest rating, numerous times. Gambero Rosso notes that “distinctive character and complexity…are the hallmarks of all Quintarelli products.”
Veneto in northeastern Italy is one of the country’s most important wine regions and has 220,000 acres of vineyards. It is the third largest wine producing region in Italy after Sicily and Puglia. Though Veneto produces more red than white wine, it is most famous for its Soave and Prosecco, both white wines. Venice is the best-known city in the region, but the area’s wine-making capital is Verona. Close to Verona are the appellations for Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave. The Veneto is also home to Amarone, the densely concentrated, seriously alcoholic, big red wines made by using grapes that are partially or fully dried. The results are lush, sometimes nearly syrupy red wines that approach 20% alcohol, even though most are not sweet. The most famous conventional red wine is Valpolicella, which means “valley of many cellars.” The name is perhaps a reference to the fact that Veneto is home to a number of indigenous grapes not found elsewhere, including the deep red grapes Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, all used to make Valpolicella. Garganega is the indigenous white grape used for Soave.