What to drink this week

Su­pe­rior Valpo­li­cella

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

If you were used to drink­ing Valpo­li­cella—i am ashamed to ad­mit to it, but we all com­mit fol­lies in our youth —from two-litre bot­tles or even bagin-the-boxes at stu­dent par­ties, you would never imag­ine that this pale, rather thin north-eastern Ital­ian quaf­fer could be one of the most de­lec­ta­ble, ex­plo­sively fruit-laden red wines in the world.

Don’t let hazy stu­dent mem­o­ries put you off these de­light­ful reds, says Harry Eyres

Why you should be drink­ing it The rev­e­la­tion for me came with the wines of the leg­endary Giuseppe Quintarelli, sam­pled at a Fo­rum Vi­no­rum tast­ing in the 1980s. His wines weren’t thin, but rich, like the quin­tes­sence of bit­ter­sweet cher­ries. Now, Quintarelli’s lone star has be­come a con­stel­la­tion—qual­ity-con­scious Valpo­li­cella pro­duc­ers are restor­ing a name that had be­come not so much tar­nished as di­luted.

What to drink Giuseppe Quintarelli died aged 84 in 2012, but the es­tate, in the ca­pa­ble hands of his daugh­ter, Fiorenza, and grand­chil­dren, Francesco and Lorenzo, con­tin­ues to pro­duce mar­vel­lous wines. The only trou­ble is that they’re rather ex­pen­sive. A bot­tle of the su­perbly el­e­gant Valpo­li­cella Clas­sico Su­pe­ri­ore 2008 will cost you £61 from Rober­sons ( be­low, www.rober­son­wine.com). At a more af­ford­able level, Clau­dio and San­dra Vi­viani make beau­ti­fully crafted wines from their 35 acres of high-alti­tude vine­yards near Ne­grar. Their Valpo­li­cella Clas­sico 2014 (£ 9.80; www.jus­teri­nis.com) is light­ish in colour and at­trac­tively fresh. Much more depth and in­ten­sity comes with the Valpo­li­cella Clas­sico Su­pe­ri­ore Campo Mo­rar 2009 (£23.50; www. jus­teri­nis.com); depth of colour, a sug­ges­tion of oak and a char­ac­ter some­where be­tween straight Valpo­li­cella and the rich, bit­ter­sweet Amarone made from par­tially dried grapes.

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