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Visits to two producers in Veneto today, and there couldn't have been a bigger contrast in the experiences.

At Giuseppi Quintarelli we tasted:

2006 Valpolicella Classico Superiore
2002 Rosso del Bepi
2004 Amarone Classico
2003 Amarone Riserva
2005 Alzero
2001 Recioto Della Valpolicella

And at Michele Castellani we tasted:

2011 Valpolicella Classico Superiore i Castei
2010 Sergio Rosso Veronese
2005 Amarone i Castei Campo Caselin

At Quintarelli, we were first greeted by Fiorenze, Giuseppe's daughter and current proprietor. She had her son, Francesco, give us the tour and tasting, since he speaks English better than she does. Francesco was gracious, warm and incredibly informative. What a treat to tour the entire facility, even while it's under extensive renovation.

Meanwhile, Mara Castellani, Michele's daughter, was cool and fairly dismissive - and she chewed gum through the entire tasting (which lasted perhaps 15 minutes). Then she left us to do our own self-guided "tour" of the cellars. Weird.
Last edited by sunnylea57
Originally posted by futronic:
Very weird and disappointing about your Castellani visit. They didn't even pour any of the good stuff like the Amarone Cinque Stelle, et al.

Agreed. But as disappointing as Castellani was, Quintarelli exceeded expectations. I hadn't expected to be able to get in to visit them at all. I called 6 weeks ago and was told they were too busy with the harvest and the renovation. But our host at the agriturismo called this morning and was able to secure an appointment for us.
- 1997 Rocca Albino Barbaresco Brich Ronchi -- I last had a bottle of this in 2010, and it seems that it was better than tonight's bottle which has significant bricking, still a lovely floral and cherry nose, but now the flavours seem just slightly faded, and while the wine is silky in the mouth it is certainly lighter than in the past, with troubling, drying tannins that outlast the fruit on the finish. It's not bad at all, but a somewhat diminished version of what it once was.

I first opened a bottle of this in 2004, when it seemed powerful and timeless, and bought a few more earlier this year in the hope that I was right, but it seems that the wine may be on its slow decline. I'll be drinking my other 4 bottles in the next few months, and I look forward to discovering whether this was a one-off or a typical bottle.

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