The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Pay It Forward

Posted on | November 20, 2009 | Written by Josh Rubenstein | 1 Comment

When I joined IWM in New York a few years ago, I brought what I believed to be an above average knowledge of Italian wine.  I had just returned to New York after living in Rome for two years and felt motivated to promote the culture of Italian wine and to work with the producers who had inspired me in this new career path.  It took less than one week at IWM for me to realize that everything I thought I knew about great Italian wine was about to be irrevocably altered—in fact it only took one sip of Giuseppe Quintarelli 1995 Amarone Riserva.  It was that one defining wine moment that many of us have had when you know there’s just no turning back.

Last night at Tuscany by H, located in my newly adopted city of Hong Kong, I was able to pay it forward.  Chef Harlan blew away my group of dining companions with his Roasted Scallop in Porcini Mushroom Puree and a perfectly done Rib Eye with Barolo Sauce, which our rambunctious crew paired with Gravner 2003 Ribolla Anfora, Bodega Chacra 2007 Treinta y Dos and Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctoni (a beautiful Montepulciano-based blend from Abruzzo and Puglia).  Yet all the while as we sat eating and drinking and laughing, a bottle of Quintarelli 1998 Amarone sat waiting, almost teasing, in the background.  When the Quintarelli finally made its way into our glasses, something rare happened at our table: silence.  First giddiness, then silence.  Sipping my wine, I watched the same expressions I’d made the first time I drank a Quintarelli Amarone; mirrored around me were my friends’ faces, all struck with that singular expression of trying to understand the astounding symphony that was playing loudly in their wineglasses.

That night, I saw that the rabid Quintarelli cult had a few new members, and I was proudly re-initiated myself. While a few others at the table emphatically chose the stunning Bodega Chacra as their Wine of the Night, for me it was—and will often be—Quintarelli. We wine drinkers are generous folks; all of us are eager to pay it forward and introduce our friends to these new favorites. I hope it won’t be long before we’re all back at that same table discovering new classics and laughing so hard that our faces hurt far more than our stomachs.


One Response to “Pay It Forward”

  1. Melissa
    November 25th, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

    Hey Josh — Great Quintarelli story. I’ll be taking the fun juice, Primofiore, to some friends tomorrow. We can compare observations. I hear you’ll be playing life in Hong Kong this weekend? Send pics!

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