Valpolicella, the territory close Verona (Italy) where renowed wines like Amarone and Ripasso are produced, is a lucky land: it has a myth and a legend of wine world. The myth is Giuseppe Quintarelli. The legend is Romano Dal Forno.
Italy is a country full of castles, and in SudTirol (Alto Adige) there is one particularly ancient, called Schloss Katzenzungen. The name means “cat’s tongue” but this is not a nickname, it is the real name of its former owner. Situated on a hill in a little village named Prissiano (north of Bolzano), this castle boasts 800 years of history, but today it is a place for quiet relaxation.
“Soave is like the color blue for clothes: a classic. You can pair it with almost everything.” An old winemaker told me this years ago, and I never forgot it. However, in spite of this belief, Soave wine was out of fashion for many years in America. In its place, consumers preferred Pinot Grigio. From the 1960s on, Pinot Grigio was considered synonymous with "Italian white wine." Easy to pronounce, easy to remember, easy to drink. But pinot grigio is not a true native Italian white grape. Its origins are French. And now, even if Pinot Grigio still leads the pack, our old friend Soave is making a comeback.
Founded 45 years ago, Vinitaly is an international exhibition of wines and spirits—and olive oil. A couple days are open to the public, while several days are reserved for professionals such as buyers, distributors and winemakers.
Gianni Zonin, who likes to bill himself as “the biggest winegrower in Italy,” has 11 estates—10 in Italy and one in the U.S., in Barboursville, VA, not far from where that great oenophile Thomas Jefferson cultivated vines. Barboursville’s Octagon is blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc created that the winery produced only in the selected vintages. Dark red color in the glass, a nose of chocolate and blonde tobacco with nuances of eucalyptus. In mouth is silky: licorice and dark plum slip on a soft carpet of tannins. Finale is somewhat bitter; a shame that it is a little bit short. Pleasant with grilled meat.
Elisabetta “Lizzy” Tosi visits legendary Amarone winery Quintarelli, founded by octogenarian Giuseppe Quintarelli. There, wine is made the same way it has been since Giuseppe’s father moved to this land in 1924. And the Amarone wines are still released only after many years of ageing in the Quintarelli cellars.
There is a red track that runs through the Carso (Karst) region of northeastern Italy and neighboring Slovenia, a red track like a native bloodline. It is a native vine: terrano, also known as “Blood of Carso” for its color. The region is situated on a plain above modern-day Trieste, caressed by winds from sea.
From grapes left to dry until Easter, this sweet Terrano evokes the richness of aromas and the body of a Porto wine. The colour is dark violet, nearly dark brown, but the nose is fresh, with aromas of dried orchard fruits, nuts, dried figs and a lot of dates. In the mouth, there’s coffee cream, dates, dried figs again. A very tasty wine which can be paired with chocolate, and also with some cold cuts if you like.