When you enter the Quintarelli house, you walk through a little office and then take a door to the left. This leads to the kitchen where Giuseppe, who passed away early in 2012, would sit on a little wooden chair while his cherub-faced wife, who passed away a little more than a year after Bepi, cooked the family meals. Past that is where the Quintarellis raised their children, and where much of the family still lives. It's just a small, unremarkable family home.
Most people who visit Quintarelli see the cellar, which is small, also unassuming, and even a little tight. Mostly, though, it's cozy. Different sized barrels sit on the ground, each one a different color. Some are so small as to make you think that Giuseppe is making wine for a leprechaun; others are bigger than people. Beyond the cellar is a room with a plain, worn wood table with bottles and barrels lined up along the walls. This is where you taste Quintarelli's wine, and here, at last, you discover that there is something about the air. There is magic. You sit at that table, and you taste, and you can almost feel the fairies peeking out over the barrels behind your back. You know that you're tasting something that can't be replicated anywhere else.
Quintarelli's wines are magical--and not merely because they're that astounding--they're magical because they come from this unassuming place where a small, beautiful family lives. They're magical because they were made by a quiet, honest, hard-working man who lived his life with his family, teaching them what he knew, just as he'd learned from his father. They're magical because they taste of the richness and the goodness of the Quintarelli family, good people who live simply and understand that magic comes where others might least expect it, but mostly it comes from work, from caring and from love.
Today, I'm proud to offer a very special bottle of Quintarelli Alzero, the 2005. Its label is a little different, "Alzero Dedicato a Nonna Franca," it reads--"Dedicated to Nonna Franca." Alzero was the favorite wine of Franca Quintarelli, Bepi's wife, and her children made this special bottle to honor her and all that she gave to them as their mother, their leader, their role model, and their friend. It's a beautiful bottle, and it's one that marries the magic of family with the magic of wine in a harmonious whole that only Quintarelli--Bepi and Franca--could inspire.