It was a serene experience. Peaceful and focused. We waited and he arrived seeming almost bemused by our presence. For us he was already a deity, which was a title he did not seek for himself, nor one he needed.
It was a cold spring morning and we could just see our breath as our eyes swept over the gentile beauty of Valpolicella. The air around us was hazy with the smoke of burning vine cuttings and the blossoms were just breaking on the trees. Just then his daughter appeared and led us down into his cellar. After a short wait he arrived surveying the group with a casual curiosity.
Over the next hour and a half he talked softly and smiled gently. For him it was enough to let his wines do all the talking. He was not looking for the deference with we treated him, but it fit him well. As always in such a group some did not understand what they were tasting, but he took no offense at their lightness any more than he did at those who where too ernest in their worship.
We tasted through the entire gallery of his creations. Their greatness requires no comment here
When we left I was the last to go. “Ringrazie, arrivederLa,” I said. I stood a good foot taller than the great man, who then reached up and patted my cheek and said, “bravo.”
We live in a “ciao” world, but to say “ciao” to such greatness just seemed wrong.
Ringrazie e ArrivederLa Signore Quintarelli
Pictured above is that tasting with Signore Quintarelli in the spring of 2000