Father of Amarone Giuseppe Quintarelli dies

17th January, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Giuseppe Quintarelli, a winemaker from the Veneto recognised as the father of Amarone, has died aged 84.

Quintarelli, whose Valpolicellas and Amarones were revered all over the world, died on Sunday at his home in Negrar in the province of Verona.

The Quintarelli estate, which dates back to 1924, is considered by many to be the best producer of Amarone della Valpolicella.

In an era characterised by mass production over attention to detail, Quintarelli sought to make wines without compromise, cutting grape yields far below other producers, and employing painstakingly labor-intensive practices in the vineyards and the cellar.

As a result, his Valpolicellas were benchmark: intense and structured, yet light and graceful, with the ability to age. His Amarones meanwhile, were powerful yet fresh.

“Quintarelli’s wines are completely different from the standardised, repetitive and boring wine commodities you so often find among Amarones today,” said wine writer Franco Ziliani.

“They are wines that require intelligence, experience, culture, patience and time, all elements so different from the simple, fast appreciation of wine today.

“He was one of the last of the Mohicans,” Ziliani added.

Quintarelli was born on March 19, 1927, in Negrar; the heart of Valpolicella region.

He started working on his father’s estate in the ‘50s, and worked assiduously to improve methods of farming, extending the domain and relentlessly experimenting with winemaking techniques.

Quintarelli’s commitment to quality extended beyond the vineyard and cellar. His labels – handwritten by his daughters – were beautiful and distinctive.

Quintarelli leaves his wife, Franca, four daughters, and several grandchildren.

Franca Quintarelli, along with daughter Fiorenza and her husband, Giampaolo Grigoli, will continue to run the winery.

His death marks the passing of another Italian wine legend so far this year, following the death of Giulio Gambelli earlier this month.

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