“What Was That!” – One of the World’s Most Distinctive Wines. It Is the New Release of Quintarelli Alzero and the Prized Primofiore, Valpolicella, and Ca del Merlo.

“I first learned of this wine a decade ago, and I purchased several bottles of the 1983, also a super wine. In fact, after tasting the super-concentrated, full-bodied, massively-endowed 1990, I pulled a bottle of the 1983 to see how it is aging. The amber-free color is followed by a glorious array of cedar, red and black fruits, spice, truffle, and exotic Far East spices. The wine is as young as I remember it at release, which bodes well for the 1990, an even more concentrated and impressive example. Perhaps the only way I can effectively articulate what this wine tastes like would be the following: imagine Cheval Blanc (1) picked at even higher sugars than it was in a great vintage like 1990 or 1982, (2) given more aging before release, and (3) bottled with no fining or filtration! The 1990 Alzero possesses a thick, viscous, purple color, an unctuous texture, fabulous purity, and gobs of black fruits intermingled with aromas of licorice, truffles, and roasted meats. Unbelievably rich, yet totally dry, this should prove to be one of the rarest, most provocative, and profound dry red wines to emerge from Italy. Although approachable enough to drink, it is still an infant in terms of its evolution. It will not hit full stride for another 10-15 years. As is the case with all these limited production wines, there are only several hundred cases available. Robert Parker on Alzero

It is one of the most detailed and strongest statements on a wine we have seen from Robert Parker over the years, and we could not agree with it more – that this why we post it in its entirety. Sergio and IWM have preached it for two decades, the Amarone and Alzero of Guiseppe Quintatrelli, are among the world’s most distinctive wines. Having poured wines for thousands over the past twenty years, we can say with confidence that there are few expressions that can match the tasting of an Amarone della Valpolicella from the great Veneto winemaker and estate of Guiseppe Quintarelli for the first time. In fact, it is fair to say in the world of wine, few wines deliver the “What was that!” statement like these wines do. Well, this statement is taken to even another level with Quintarelli’s cult Alzero; it is one of those "wow" factor wines when poured at a table, it simply turns heads in bewilderment, because the simple-truth is, there is nothing like an Alzero from Quintarelli– it is one truly one of the most distinctive wines in the world. But it is not just collectors that are stunned by it, we have poured the wines for iconic winemakers from Champagne to Tuscany and the same astonished response occurs. And while the Alzero is a wine produced in the same passito method as Amarone, there is an emphasis on different varietals here, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine is even more scarce than his benchmark Amarones as production is typically 3,000 bottles or a mere 250 cases. To see these wines in magnum makes this one of the few you will see in the entire world.

While we have included the new release of 2011 Alzero, we have also included the flagship 2012 Amarone, the prized Valpolicella, the 2007 Recioto, which in our humble opinion has earned its place next to Quinta do Noval Vintage Port as the greatest sweet wine. But there is also the Amabile del Cere, produced from white grapes, it is Italy’s answer to Chateau d'Yquem. This is Quintarelli’s rarest wine, as it was only made in a handful of vintages, in fact, before 2003, the last vintage was 1990. The wine is named after a lost barrel that was hidden under food stores and undiscovered during a Nazi raid of the property during WWII. The barrel was discovered years later and the wine had aged beautifully. Guiseppe Quintarelli, the late great Maestro of the Veneto, passed away in 2012 and some of these are wines that he was still involved with before passing the baton to his daughter Fiorenza, his son-in-law Giampaolo, and his grandsons Francesco and Lorenzo.

Like the prized nectar of Chateau d'Yquem, or the game changing Champagne Rosé from Jacques Selosse or the mystical elixir of old Chartreuse, these wines have become more difficult to obtain. The wines arrive late Spring and will be SOLD OUT before they arrive. ACT fast on the Primofiore, Ca del Merlo, and Valpolicella.

FEATURED WINES: New Releases from Quintarelli and More

Note: wines arrive late Spring.


In the present context, Primofiore means “first press,” and the grapes utilized for this wine–Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc–complete their ripening during a period of storage in wooden boxes, a technique that produces a more full-bodied, voluptuous character. The wine’s treatment with Amarone imparts rich flavors of cherry, olives, spices, and oak; it is intended to be consumed young. Production hovers around 460 cases.

This wine’s initial blend is comprised of old-vine Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, with smaller percentages of Negrara, Cabernet, Nebbiolo, Croatina, and Sangiovese. Five to six months after the first stage, it is blended with the lees of Quintarelli’s Amarone. The second fermentation incited by the ripasso method endows the wine with a more decadent character. It is then aged in Slavonian oak for a period of six years–a longer timeframe than many producers accord their Amarones. Quintarelli’s Valpolicella is one of the greatest of its kind, and is superior to many Amarones.

The Ca’ del Merlo (meaning House of the Blackbird) is a single-vineyard Valpolicella. As the grapes for this Valpolicella derive exclusively from one site, it expresses the influences of a specific terroir, yet represents the composition and vinification method (ripasso) utilized in the crafting of Quintarelli’s other Valpolicella. 50% of grapes are pressed immediately after harvest, 50% are dried for 2 months. Wine is racked onto the lees of the Amarone which starts a second alcoholic fermentation (this process is called ripasso). After this fermentation, the wine is racked into large Slavonian oak barrels for seven years.

It is the wine that became known as Cheval Blanc on steroids at IWM. Predominantly Cabernet Franc, the Alzero—which has become Quintarelli’s cult offering— is produced from old vines and made by the same method used for Amarone production (appassimento). It is massive in its density, tannins, acids, and alcohol, with only a hint of sweetness left to restrain them. With tremendous richness of color, aroma, and flavor, the wine’s unctuous palate reveals dried dark fruits, roasted meats, pepper, and exotic spices. While it may be opened at present, it is a profound selection for the cellar. Though regarded as the consummate traditionalist, Giuseppe does engage in experimentation; the vinification of the Alzero represents his sole use of small barrels of French oak.

Quintarelli produces his Amarone only in exceptional vintages, and when he does it is the benchmark for all Amarone. This collector's wine comes primarily from the indigenous Corvina along with Rondinella, Molinara, and traces of Cabernet, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo. Following the harvest, grapes are left to dry out naturally. Slavonic oak casks with the ability to hold 7-20 hectolitres are used. The wine is aged a minimum of six or seven years. A truly stunning wine with great potential for long-term aging.

This is an email ONLY offer! If you would like to take advantage of this offer (that is only available until 11:59pm, Sunday, March 7th or while supplies last), we are asking that you email orders back to chris.deas@italianwinemerchants.com, connect with your portfolio manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation. IWM is not responsible for typographical errors.

All my best,


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