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MWG March 2nd tasting: report (4/4)

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Valpolicella Superiore Classico 2002, Giuseppe Quintarelli ($81.00, 10811253)
A blend of old-vine Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara with smaller percentages of Negara, Cabernet, Nebbiolo, Croatina and Sangiovese. Five or six months after initial fermentation, the wine is refermented, using the ripasso method, in most years with the lees from the estate’s Amarone (but not in 2002, when no Amarone was made). It is then aged for six years in Slavonian oak.
A heady, gorgeous bouquet: ripe red and black fruit, sandalwood, spice and so much more. Opulent and velvety yet supple and fluid. Wave after wave of flavour. Soft and caressing on the surface but with cushy tannins and power in reserve. Infinite finish. Magnificent. (Buy again? Yes. Gulp.)

Amarone della Valpolicella 2006, Marion ($87.50, 10665057)
Corvinone (45%), Covina Gentile (25%), Rondinella (20%) and Croatina and other varieties (10%). The grapes are semi-dried for three months before pressing. Aged about three years in Slavonian oak barrels.
An Initially odd nose (pickled fruit, plastic) blows off, leaving a complex bouquet of plum, red berries, chocolate and graphite. Rich, heady and layered in the mouth. Sweet fruit, slate. Alcoholic but not hot – warming, rather. Mouth-coatingly astringent but somehow not tannic. Endless, coffeed finish. So engaging that time seems suspended as you smell and taste it. (Buy again? If I can scrape up the cash, yes.)

Valpolicella Superiore 2007, Marion ($38.00, 10710268)
Corvina Grossa (60%), Rondinella (20%), Corvina Gentile (10%) and Teroldego and other varieties (10%). Soime of the grapes are semi-dried for about 40 days before pressing, while others are late-harvested and then pressed. The wines are aged separately in small oak barrels for about 30 months before blending and bottling.
Subtle, complex, profound: modelling clay, red and black berries, spice, crushed leaves. Soft and supple on the palate, the texture velvety, the flavours complex and lingering. Long. Very fine. (Buy again? Yes.)

All the wines in this flight were superb. Usually, as an evening progresses, tongues loosen and the noise level rises. But in this instance, after the three wines were poured and people began swirling, sniffing and sipping, an awed hush – broken only by the occasional soft moan of pleasure – fell over the room.

Despite the wonders of the Marions, the Quintarelli stood out for everybody. It is easily one of the best if not the best of their VSCs that I’ve tasted – surprising since 2002 is widely considered a rotten vintage due to heavy rain. Could it have something to do with the fact the estate made no Amarone in 2002, in theory freeing up the superior grapes for the lesser wines? Hard to know, as there are almost no reviews or discussion of the wine on the Web (though SAQ haters take note: it’s listed at Columbus Circle Wines for US$85+ vs. C$81 here, and the NY price doesn’t include sales tax).

Written by carswell

March 17, 2012 at 11:57

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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