This is my new favorite wine. I had a bottle with clients last night at Al Vino Al Vino in Monti and now I am fully obsessed. We had considered getting Quintarelli’s Amarone della Valpolicella but settled on his much less expensive Primo Fiore, just €33 compared to €209. In a way, Primo Fiore is the offspring of the prestigious Amarone. It is made from the first-press juice, that is, after the grapes are pressed for the other wines Quintarelli makes, they are gently pressed again. The resulting juice is a mixture of all the grape varieties that Quintarelli grows, a combination of international and native varieties including Cabernet Savignon, Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Veronese.

Primo Fiore is an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), a denomination analogous to France’s Vin de pays. IGTs are not subject to as many rules and regulations as DOCs, and these looser restrictions allow for some experimentation and the introduction of international grapes (Cabernet, Merlot, etc), often to great effect.

Primo Fiore, while not as voluptuous or full bodied (or expensive) as its parent wine, is nevertheless is a fantastic product: a medium-bodied, balanced red with a bouquet of cherries, plums, spices, oak and bell peppers. We may have passed on the Amarone, but in Quintarelli’s 2004 Primofiore we found a great bottle anyway.