Wines of Italy Bucket List

6 world class wines you must try


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Quintarelli Amarone

If you’re willing to put up with the occasional dud now and again, which you have to when winemakers take huge risks, then you’ll be gloriously rewarded when you find a bottle of Quintarelli’s Amarone at its peak. Unlike the previous two wines, that doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for a couple of decades.

Amarone is a tough wine; it is big, powerful, alcoholic and often slightly sweet. The wine is produced by fermenting the juice of dried grapes. That drying process creates a certain volatility in the wine which can either be considered a flaw or an element that excites the senses and adds lift to the flavors and aromas of the wine. In Quintarelli’s case, the volatility is mastered and adds a lightness to the texture and effusiveness to the flavors that make this Amarone as nearly perfect as one can hope for; gossamer textured and endlessly complex. By age ten these are usually showing brilliantly, but they are wonders of balance and complexity even on release.

Photo courtesy of Max Opp via Flickr/cc

Italian Bucket List

Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino (1985)
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Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino (1978)
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Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (1995)
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Amarone Giuseppe Quintarelli (2000)
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Tenuta Greppo Franco Biondi-Santi Brunello Riserva (1999)
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Girlan Schiava Gschleier (2011)
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  • Snooth User: acevola
    549918 3

    good list, GDP

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749


    May 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

  • They are all great wines, true ... but talking about Montepulciano d'Abruzzo one name is defenitely missing: Masciarelli by Marina Cvetic. Depending on the vintage, it's Valentini or Masciarelli who is the best overall producer in that region. I know, making a list is a tricky thing. There are so many great wine producers. E.g. what about Uccelliera? Their Brunello is the best in the world (according to many wine critics and myself), although their track record is not as long as Biondi Santi's. In a blind tasting (I taste every year 10 Brunello's of the same vintage) they score well, but never end in the top, unlike Uccelliera, Gaja, Talenti, Il Poggione, etc. Talking about Amarone, yes, nobody can question Quintarelli's reign. But one must mention the Amarone from Dal Forno! In some years, I do prefer the latter. More affordable and modern-styled is the excellent Amarone from Marion. Depending on which style you prefer, Piemonte has many outstanding Barolo producers.

    Jun 01, 2012 at 4:34 AM

  • Well done for mentioning Quintarelli and Valentini and Conterno. These are great names and have been for deacdes now.
    One of the joys of Italian wine is finding makers that produce excellent examples year after year, and it is names rather than regions or grapes that do this.
    A few more: Russiz, Capezzana, Ronco di Mompiano, Ca dei Frati, Allegrini.........

    Jun 01, 2012 at 5:24 AM

  • Hi William, if a producer's name become more well-known than his wine's appellation or grapes, than the following producer's MUST be named:
    Gaja, Jermann, Vie di Romans, Masciarelli, Ornellaia, Dal Forno, Sassicaia (tenuta san Guido), Masseto (tenuta dell'Ornellaia), etc.
    In my book Italy is the world's most divers wine producing country and it produces some of the best wines in the world!

    Jun 01, 2012 at 5:38 AM

  • Snooth User: drugo
    1107398 22

    Did you know that one of the strong features of the Occhio di Pernice is that you can open a bottle and leave it in the fridge for months. It won't go bad, just as long as you remember to close the bottle. It's all on account of the long aging in small barrels, which gives the wine an already oxidized character when it meets the bottle. This way you don't have to empty the bottle in one occasion only, and it makes it a bit easier to sustain the cost of this wine.

    Jun 01, 2012 at 6:01 AM

  • Here Here Saffredi Wine Import
    Gaja, Dal Forno, Jermann, Ornellaia, Sassicaia
    All very impressive at tastings year after year and among the greatest wines in Europe.
    I wish I had more money!

    Jun 01, 2012 at 6:05 AM

  • Snooth User: mjapka
    656126 55

    Gregory dal Piaz --
    The next time you visit the south, consider a stop in the old Roman outpost of Mondragone, a bit north and east of Naples off the Domitiana, at the place run by Bruno and Michele Moio. They have focused for a few generations on the primitivo and falanghina grapes and make a few levels of each. And for a small group Bruno and his lovely wife can put on a great tasting, with a table groaning under meats and cheeses and breads to give you the feel of a diner, as well as a taster. Bruno brings out fresh glasses for each wine and rinses each glass with the wine before pouring, so you end up with 7-10 glasses and samples to move between and compare. They have a website in Italian. I would dearly love for someone to set up an importation from them....

    Jun 05, 2012 at 4:20 PM

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