TN: Quintarelli, Dal Forno, Bussola, Caprai, Bea ++


Last night, eight of us ventured to one of Cleveland’s finest restaurants for a private dinner. This all started when I was talking with Berto and he mentioned he had a bottle of the 99 Dal Forno Amarone. I had a 97 Quintarelli Amarone and thought they would make a nice basis for a tasting. A few phone calls, a little digging in the cellar and Berto made the two hour drive to Cleveland for what for us, is a once in a lifetime tasting. Of course, there was way too much incredible food to go along with the wines, but what makes these dinners really special is the chance to share such wines with friends.
Italian Sparklers (Franciacorta)

  • 2004 Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi - Italy, Lombardia, Franciacorta DOCG
    This was singing. Light gold. Tiny bubbles. The nose is clean with some baking soda notes. Slightly sweet on the palate. Clean. Complex with a long finish. Very food friendly. Not cheap but stands up to most large house Champagnes in this price range. (93 pts.)
  • NV Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Satèn - Italy, Lombardia, Franciacorta DOCG
    Light golden in color. The nose is slightly gamey with slight note of bitters. Nice small bubbles. On the palate, this has some lemon-lime notes with some slight seltzer notes. A bit clipped on the finish but pretty special sparkling wine. (91 pts.)

A white wine to get going

  • 2010 Giuseppe Quintarelli Secco Cà del Merlo Veneto IGT - Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
    This was added by Lou as a throw in. On theme and it worked well food wise, but nothing really special about this wine. Golden in color. Tight on the nose. Its a nice wine with good minerality, but that’s about it. Still, it was a fun thing to try. (88 pts.)


  • 2004 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
    I don’t think this was a proper bottle. The nose is very nice. Earthy with some shoe leather, spice, and cedar. On the palate, this is quite tart. Some thought is was starting to turn. I didn’t mind the acidity and thought food helped but I could see the issue. Certainly advanced for its age. A shame. NR (flawed)
  • 2004 Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
    This was a wow wine. Sure it is young and tannic, but even at this stage, it shows some pedigree. Earthy, wonderful nose with some black cherry fruit. Great plush texture. Deep, sexy wine with lots of body and fruit. Food certainly helps this. It was pop and pour, but I would give it lots of air. Better yet, another 5 years. (94 pts.)
  • 2004 Antonelli San Marco Sagrantino di Montefalco - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
    This was a very nice wine. Coming after the Caprai, it just seemed flat. Needed a bit more of everything. Still, by itself, this would be a very nice wine to drink. A bit chalky with nice earthiness and black cherries and plums. Nice balance. (89 pts.)


  • 1998 Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore
    Really nice showing for this wine. It had about 7 hours of breathing before being served. The nose is nice. Earthy with some dried cherries. Also a bit of maraschino cherries. Complex and layered. Some forest floor notes along with cherries on the palate. A delicious wine. (93 pts.)
  • 1999 Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore Vigneto Monte Lodoletta - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore
    This got 7 hours of breathing. very lightly corked, but TCA nonetheless. More noticeable on the palate - just not much there. Also on the nose as well. A shame, but the chef used this to cook. NR (flawed)
  • 2001 Giuseppe Quintarelli Cà del Merlo Veneto IGT - Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
    Not as good as the 98, but still very good. A nose of cherries, and cherry liqueur. Seems to be ageing much more slowly. 7 hours of breathing. This shows depth but not as delineated. Very nice. My understanding is this is basically a single vineyard Valpolicella although ti carries the IGT tag. (92 pts.)

This was certainly one of the best flights of wine I have ever had at any time. Wow.

  • 1997 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
    Wow. Spectacular showing. I hand carried this bottle back from Italy a while back. Just an awesome, elegant nose. Milk chocolate covered cherry liqueur candies. So smooth. This was allowed to breath for about 12 hours. Layered and complex but no signs of age. Not so much sweet as it is ripe fruit. Great texture. Food friendly. This was a real wow. (98 pts.)
  • 1999 Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
    This was allowed to breathe for about 7 hours. Not quite as exuberant a nose as the Quintarellis but still quite amazing. Explosive on the palate. Chocolate cherries. Delicious. Still young, it kept improving. Again, very ripe but not sweet per se. Nice acidity as well. (97 pts.)
  • 1999 Tommaso Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Tb Vigneto Alto - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
    I was worried. On opening, I noticed it has leaked at some point. The foil was stuck to the bottle. The cork was soaked completely on all sides and to the rim. Still, the fill was low neck. It did not smell good when opened but was allowed to breath for 12 hours. After about 6 the nose has calmed down and I was more hopeful. No need to worry as this was great. A slight raisined note remained on the nose, kind of like raisinette candy. On the palate, this has a huge but silky body. Chocolate and raspberries with some dark cherries. Great balance. This bottle was in a great spot with air. Just fantastic. (97 pts.)
  • 2000 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
    Not quite as good as the 97, but very similar and the two were quite distinctive in this flight. This has a powerful elegance to it which is captivating. A milk chocolate covered candied cherry quality with a bit of liqueur. Very complex and very smooth. Hard to believe a wine like this could be so elegant. No sign of the 16% alcohol. This got a bout 7 hours of breathing. (96 pts.)
  • 2001 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
    So I threw this in because I wanted it as a reference point. This is something that we have had and is on the store shelves (current vintage anyway). Yet, this was really good. And while it is an expensive wine, it represent a lot of value compared to the other wines. Dark cherry fruit and milk chocolate join on the nose and the palate. This had 8 hours of air. It drank youthfully and just starting to develop its tight layering. Really an outstanding wine that almost held its own in this flight. (94 pts.)


  • 2004 Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
    I meant to insert this after the Sagrantino flight but I forgot. It has a nice nose with plums and dark cherries. Slightly sweet with great texture. This is very nice. (93 pts.)
  • 1995 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Recioto - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
    Wow. This is stunning. Maybe the best nose on a wine. It had a combination of great childhood memories and great wine memories. Chocolate, cherries, raspberries. milk and dark chocolate. The nose was pervasive and fantastic. And the palate pretty much matched. A finish that I can still taste. Great body. Very smooth. Loads of complexity. Is this peaking? Probably, but I don’t really know. No signs of age. This was truly amazing. (100 pts.)

Thanks to all for making this happen. I would like to say we will do this again, but I doubt it. Still, we can always pick a new theme.
Posted from CellarTracker

Loren–Nice job! Sounds like the extra decanter time really helped out with your 2000 Quintarelli.


Thanks for the advice Bruce