Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Drinking Quintarelli’s legendary Valpolicella in Verona

Eating out in Verona during Vinitaly is a bit of a challenge. 50,000 visitors descend on a small city already quite full of young tourists, all wanting to eat out, all wanting to drink something special.  Our solution is to cross the Adige river which encloses the historic centre and walk to Veronetta, just beyond the river’s curve.  The destination is Ristorante Du Schei (‘two coins’ in old dialect, ‘small’ or ‘cheap’) and enjoys very good food with an excellent wine list especially strong on Soave and all levels of Valpolicella, filled with a smattering of local families interspersed with foreign visitors.  (With the bonus of a view of ancient Verona below your feet if you eat downstairs.) And here, for €49 in a restaurant, you can drink one of the legendary bottles of Italian wine, Quintarelli’s Valpolicella Superiore Classico 2007.  And what is even better, I can judge if my investment in a few rare bottles of this in-bond at much the same price was a good idea or not.  

The first surprise is that the current release of this apparently simple Valpolicella is that it is 2007, nearly 9 years old.  But this is no ordinary bottle.  From the first sniff, you realise this is complex, perfumed, with smoky notes, red berries and autumn leaves.  The palate is of medium weight and carries this complexity forward with ripe fruit and a sublime silky, ethereal, texture.  And the second surprise is that in no time at all after we had finished our antipasto (raw sea bream and red prawns), half the bottle has gone somewhere. Drinkability is an underrated quality.  After a long subtle finish, we notice the final surprise. This apparently lithe wine is actually 15% abv … There is a certain sweetness to the palate but that is the only hint.  Remarkable.   And I am very happy at this moment and with my in-bond purchase.  

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