Italian Wines

Italian Wines

No poem was ever written by a drinker of water", the great Roman poet, Horace wrote. People have enjoyed drinking wine for thousands of years ever since its ancient origins in Mesopotamia, near present-day Iran. Italian wines are amongst the best in the world as some of the oldest wine-producing regions are located here. As there are twenty different regions to choose from, each with different varieties, it is never difficult to find a fine Italian wine!
We at the Wine Contor are focusing on two regions at the moment: Veneto for our outstanding Amarone and Tuscany for some highly-acclaimed boutique wineries.

Tuscany's winemaking industry counts on one of the most noble and ancient traditions that predates the universally known Chianti wine that often springs to mind when this region is discussed.
The hilly soil and the weather conditions of Tuscany are ideal for grape growing and, with the passing centuries, the numerous types of grapes grown gave rise to some rare and much loved varieties.
Nowadays, the most grown variety is the noble Sangiovese, which is often combined with small amounts of locally grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo and other grapes into wonderful blends such as the Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Carmignano and, of course, the signature Tuscan wines, the Chianti and Chianti Classico, which probably are the best known Italian wines in the world. Other grapes grown here are the Mammolo, Malvasia, Colorino, Raspirosso, Gamay, Grand Noir, Barbera, Moscatello, Aleatico and Vernaccia, among others. Tuscany accounts for over 30 DOC and half a dozen of DOCG wines.
Veneto is among the foremost Italian wine-producing regions, both for quality and quantity. The region counts over 20 DOC zones and a variety of subcategories, many of its wines, both dry and Spumanti, are internationally known and appreciated.
The three most well known DOCs are Bardolino, from the town with the same name and surrounding the shores of Garda Lake, Valpolicella, and Soave. Other famous wines produced here is the Amarone (a rich and powerful red from the Verona province). The importance of winemaking in this region is underscored by the creation in 1885 of the very first Italian school for vine growing and oenology. In addition, Veneto was the first region to constitute the first trada del vino or "wine road".

Querciabella

Founded in 1974, Querciabella enjoys the acclaim of the world’s most discriminating critics and consumers for its exquisite range of biodynamic wines including Camartina, Batar, Palafreno, Querciabella Chianti Classico and Mongrana. In its uncompromising pursuit of quality, sustainability and authenticity, Querciabella has continually honed its approach to biodynamic viticulture for over a decade. With vineyards located throughout Tuscany's Chianti Classico and Maremma areas, Thanks to Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni's vision and leadership, Querciabella exemplifies the preservation of tradition through forward-thinking, albeit completely natural, winemaking.

Robert Parker writes: "Querciabella has been on a roll over the last few years. I can't say enough good things about these wines, all of which merit your serious consideration. Querciabella doesn’t make a big deal about the fact that their vineyards are now bio-dynamically farmed, but then again they don’t have to, the wines speak for themselves."
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Quintarelli

The estate of Giuseppe Quintarelli, one of Veneto’s most important producers, has received justifiable renown for its near-mythical Amarone, Recioto and the cult wine, Alzero. Although other producers like Romano dal Forno, who was Giuseppe Quintarelli’s protégée, make fine Amarones, Quintarelli Amarone is inarguably the benchmark for the wine. The namesake and the touchstone for the estate, Giuseppe or “Beppe” Quintarelli established the standard for other Veneto reds, including Recioto and Valpolicella Superiore. Giuseppe Quintarelli died in January 2012 at the age of 84; his estate continues on in the hands of his wife and children. A perfectionist who practiced rigorous grape selection, Quintarelli released his wines to market only when he deemed them ready—often many years after his fellow Veneto producers. As resolute traditionalists, Quintarelli wines are always small in allocation, high in demand, and stratospheric in quality – even the most connected wine-lovers find the Quintarelli wines difficult to obtain. Long the epitome of excellence, Quintarelli’s limitedproduction Amarones, Reciotos, and Valpolicellas are true thinking wines that slow the pace and teach the drinker to be silent; a Quintarelli wine is humbling because it is unlike any other in the world. It is, as IWM Founder Sergio Esposito has said, “a rocket ship.”

“The fundamental problem of winemaking today is that too many producers hurry to make their wines: they hurry the fruit in the vineyards and they hurry the vinification and rush to bottle. They rush to sell their product without allowing the proper time to age. Patience is the most important attribute to winemaking. Patience in growing, in selection and in vinification.” - Giuseppe Quintarelli
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Romano Dal Forno

The impressive Dal Forno Estate lies in the foothills of Monti Lessini and produces some of the most highly awarded wines in Italy with an international reputation. The winery is very much a family affair with Romano and his wife Loretta working with their three sons Michele, Marco and Luca, as well as Uncle Cesare and Cousin Matteo who are all integral to this close knit operation. Since Romano took over from his father, yields have been dramatically reduced. Production from the 25 hectares of lovingly tended vines is tiny. It takes an astonishing six vines to produce one bottle of Valpolicella and nine for a bottle of Amarone. It is no wonder there is never enough wine here to cover demand.

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