Most Enjoyable Wines of 2013 – A Tale of Two Valpolicellas: Quintarelli and Bussola

A couple of the more memorable ‘wining’ experiences of 2013 came during my visit to Verona. On successive nights in the city of fair Romeo and Juliet, I set out to sample some Valpolicella from different ends of the stylistic spectrum.

The concentrated and intense Tommaso Bussola Valpolicella Classico Superiore TB 2008 was a fantastic foil for the array of salumi on offer at Trattoria Al Pompiere. Its in-your-face power and richness was more than a match for the beef cheek that followed too. But, oh my, the salumi – it was the best I’ve ever tasted. In a city with its fair share of tourist traps, Al Pompiere is a jewel that I’ll be returning to again.

Trattoria Al Pompiere (Verona)

Trattoria Al Pompiere (Verona)

Dinner the next night in Antica Bottega del Vino was adorned with more pomp and circumstance. I can’t afford Quintarelli Amarone. Unless I win the lottery, I’m never likely to drink the stuff over dinner. Notice I say drink rather than taste, because on the evidence of the slightly more affordable Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2003, drinking is really what’s needed with these wines. Even a five minute sniff in a sterile tasting room wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface of the complexity of this wine, and this was the bloody entry level offering!

Antica Bottega del Vino (Verona)

Antica Bottega del Vino (Verona)

With a wine list as extensive as that offered in Antica Bottega del Vino, it seemed a shame not to look past the Quintarelli Valpolicella and dabble in some of the older vintages of the Italian greats, but deep wine lists generally require even deeper pockets! The suckling pig main course was delicious, and the wine accompanying weaved a complex dance all night – it had great intensity and length but also an ethereal elegance that sets this style of Valpolicella apart from more brutish offerings.

Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2003

Two very different Valpolicellas – both delicious in their own right.

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