What to drink this week
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.