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Giuseppe Quintarelli: a legend of Valpolicella

Italian wines have become an increasingly prominent fixture in iDealwine auctions, with cult producers such as Giuseppe Quintarelli in high demand. 

IN RECENT years, Italian wines have become increasingly prevalent in iDealwine auctions. The most common country of origin outside France, in 2022 Italy represented 61% of all non-French wine sales. More than 5,000 bottles of Italian wine were sold in iDealwine auctions last year (up 32% on 2021). These figures are already on track to be surpassed in 2023, as a single July auction included over 3,000 bottles of Italian wine, more than half of 2022’s entire volume. Moreover, Italian buyers represent one of the fastestgrowing demographics, having recently become the company’s third-largest market outside France.

The most popular Italian wines often come from Piedmont and Tuscany, including iconic producers Giovan Battista Burlotto, Montevertine, Gianfranco Soldera and Giacomo Conterno. However, with so much of Italy’s winemaking talent concentrated in the west and northwest, we mustn’t forget about the wines being produced on the rest of the peninsula.

Less than a two-hour drive from the magnificent palazzi of Venice, Valpolicella is a viticultural gem full of unique styles and personalities, with Amarone and Recioto reigning supreme. These two world-class styles use the ancestral process of appassimento, whereby the grapes are partially dried for months before pressing. The result is a full-bodied wine with high alcohol content (in the case of Amarone) and a deeply expressive flavour profile.

The primary difference between Amarone and Recioto lies in the sugar content. The Recioto process requires fermentation to be prematurely halted, resulting in more residual sugar. Thanks to a heavily manual production process and long ageing regulations, Recioto and Amarone are both quite rare. However, the Recioto style is produced in particularly low quantities.

In the world of Amarone and Recioto, one producer clearly stands out. Affectionately referred to as “the maestro of Valpolicella” (Il Maestro Della Valpolicella), Giuseppe Quintarelli is an undisputed legend when it comes to Valpolicella wines. During his illustrious 60-year career as a winemaker, he played an instrumental role in the success and popularisation of the region. Fiercely passionate about his products, he was even known to scold those who spit out his wine during tastings.

In 1950, Quintarelli inherited control of his family’s vineyard, a beautiful plot of land in the Valpolicella hills. With patience and tradition as his guiding principles, he quickly became known as one of the top winemakers in the region. With almost no marketing spend at all, his wines still developed a near-mythical reputation. To this day, the company has no website or social media pages, nor has it built a grand château for visitors to muse over; the wines simply speak for themselves.

Following Giuseppe’s death in 2012, management was turned over to his daughter Fiorenza, son-in-law Giampaolo and grandsons Francesco and Lorenzo, who continue to honour his legacy at every stage of winemaking. Cementing their reputation as a truly artisanal brand, each harvest is carried out by hand, yields are limited through rigorous pruning and green harvesting, and every bunch is inspected before heading into the drying chambers (for Amarone).

Although the vineyard is only 12 hectares, it is incredibly diverse, featuring plots of Corvina, Rondinella, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Garganega, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Bianco and half a dozen others.

The broad assortment of cuvées produced by Quintarelli ranges from the relatively affordable “Bianco Secco” to the worldrenowned Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Amarone Classico, Amarone Riserva, and Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico.

Neither the Amarone nor Recioto are produced every year, as Quintarelli only allows production in the best vintages.

Aged for a minimum of eight years in Slavonian oak (10 years for the Riserva), Quintarelli’s Amarone wines can sell for anywhere between €275 and €921 in iDealwine auctions, the latter case being a 1990 Amarone Riserva sold in 2021.


While the Amarone wines are a relatively common sight in iDealwine auctions (typically appearing at least a few times a year), Quintarelli’s Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico is much more difficult to come by. However, in 2022, a lucky bidder won a bottle of the 1997 vintage in an iDealwine auction for €221.

The Valpolicella Classico Superiore is produced in a similar way to the Amarone, but with only 50% of the grapes undergoing the appassimento process (which lasts a total of two months). The resulting wine is aged for seven years in Slavonian oak before its release. While these are a bit more affordable than the Amarone and Recioto expressions, they still consistently fetch over €100 in iDealwine auctions, with the 2011 vintage selling for €125 in April.

Valpolicella wines such as those of Quintarelli are highly sought after for many reasons. Amarone and Recioto require a heavily manual, historically significant process, which results in unique flavours and aromas. Additionally, these wines can age for decades in bottle, making them particularly well-suited to the auction market. Finally, legendary winemakers in the region such as Giuseppe Quintarelli have inspired generations of talent, including Romano dal Forno, who worked very closely with Giuseppe while developing his own renown.


• Founded in 2000, iDealwine is France’s top wine auctioneer and leading online wine auction house worldwide.

• Fine Spirits Auction (FSA) is iDealwine’s dedicated spirits platform, launched in partnership with La Maison du Whisky, a French specialist in high-end spirits since 1956. Seven auctions of the finest whisky, rum, Cognac and more take place annually.

• Based in Paris, and with offices in Bordeaux and Hong Kong, iDealwine sources rare bottles from European cellars, private collections and direct from producers before meticulously authenticating and shipping to enthusiasts, collectors and trade customers worldwide.

• iDealwine provides wine and spirits market data and analysis, with over 60,000 price estimates, based on more than three million auction prices.

• If you are keen to sell your wines or spirits, then check out iDealwine’s current auctions, sales and price estimates at or at FineSpirits.Auction

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