Giuseppe Quintarelli 2011 Alzero Cabernet
Alzero is one of the hardest wines to find from Quintarelli and like his Amarones, can be counted among the greatest wines of Italy. The wine is made in almost the same way as his Amarones in that this is 100% appassimento. The grapes are harvested and then left to dry until mid-December, then crushed and fermented in the usual way. The wine spends the same amount of time in barrel as the Amarones, but part of that time is spent in French oak, then transferred to large Slavonian oak casks.
The main difference between Alzero and the Amarone is that this is made from Cabernet Franc (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Merlot (20%), but make no mistake, this is not a 'me too' Super Tuscan or Bordeaux/Napa style wine by any measure. This is a Quintarelli wine, and that means no compromise, no wavering from their 'tradition-or-die' philosophy. And besides, how many Cabernets do you know that clock in at 16.5% alcohol?
Like all the other wines from Quintarelli, there is always an elegance to this wine (yes, 16.5% can still be elegant). No doubt, it is pure hedonism, almost the most indulgent wine you could imagine, but always so masterfully put together that it never feels heavy or overpowering. In fact, it's quite the reverse. The aromatics continue the theme of the Amarone with notes of camphor, woodlands, liqueur cherries, perhaps with the tobacco more to the fore, then supported with spicy, leafy notes. This is an utterly profound wine that very few wine lovers will ever get to taste.