It’s a name to remember and a wine to forget. First the name: Giuseppe Quintarelli. Now the wine: 2001 Primofiore. And finally, the caveats.
I made a last minute stop into a local wine shop on the way to one of the two BYOB restaurants within driving distance of my home. Living in the Boston area and thinking BYOB is probably like dreaming of tropical beaches in the midst of long term subterannean incarceration. Still, I am happy to settle for mediocre food if I can bring my own.
I grabbed a bottle of 2001 Quintarelli Primofiore out of the end bin box that was marked down to $35.99 from $44.99. Seemed like good odds with high probability for satisfaction. I love Quintarelli, and memories of Cab Francs and Valpolicellas from the venerable Veneto producer swirl around the part of my brain that holds the sensory recall of my favorite wines. The $100-$300 price tags have me relying on memory more than tasting to get my Quintarelli fix. While I never tried the table wine that is “first flower” in translation and second juice (first pressed juice after free run) in production, it seemed like a good bet even though it was probably standing upright in the end bin for years in an uncontrolled environment.
The wine offered red fruit aromas, a bit like stewed strawberries, and some musty tobacco along with spiciness and muted herbs. It was sadly short on fruit yet retained enough backbone to render it unpleasantly hollow. It was struggling to show itself and I wondered what this wine might have tasted like three or four years ago, and whether the storage or just the age worked against one of my favorite Italian producer’s table wine. It was one of those wines that did not show itself yummy but had enough interesting characteristics that are not commonly present in the wines I drink daily. Still, at $36 I could have done a lot better. Next time I am looking for current vintage Primofiore and if that fails, it’s back to my Quintarelli memories and the occasional bottle of Recioto Valpolicella and Amarone.