VENETO - ITALY
Amarone is arguably the richest, densest and most powerful wine in the world, a veritable show stopper and without rival. Romano Dal Forno is known as Veneto’s ‘Grape King’, the vanguard of modern Amarone. As such, we are delighted to offer the new releases of Dal Forno’s Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 and Valpolicella Superiore 2011. These wines have scored 99 points and 96 points respectively from leading critic Andrew Jefford writing for Decanter, offering collectors superb quality in yet another lovely vintage.
Dal Forno’s Amarone is a radical reinvention of one of Italy’s most famous wines. It is impenitent, intoxicating and a provoking wine. Dal Forno uses extremely low yields and an austere selection process admitting only the most exceptional grapes. The 2011 displays classic notes of chocolate, dark berries and lavender and it has a very long life ahead of it. The global wine market has an insatiable demand for the world’s greatest wines and Dal Forno’s Amarone has been called the ‘Petrus of the Veneto’.
Dal Forno’s Valpolicella Superiore is consistently one of the highest quality reds from the north of Italy, and that is true of this vintage in particular. In fact, Antonio Galloni posits that “Dal Forno should really change the name of his… Valpolicella Superiore. This is really an Amarone for all practical intents and purposes, since 2002 made entirely from fruit that has been dried, albeit for less time than that legally required for Amarone." Dal Forno’s Valpolicella Superiore simply offers a chance to own a pseudo-Amarone from the King of Amarone for less than a third of the price! It is hard to express how exceptional this wine is and it should be found in any fine wine lover’s cellar. It is certainly the greatest Valpolicella that we have ever tasted.
There is such pride in the Dal Forno staple that if the vintage is not up to the highest standard then it is declassified, most recently in 2007. 2011 was blessed with a hot and dry summer ideal for these rich, ripe wines. Romano’s son, Michele dal Forno states,“we’re confident the wines made in 2011 will represent a milestone for many years to go.” Both wines are made in tiny quantities – it takes seven vines to produce a bottle of Valpolicella, and an almighty ten vines to make a single, very special bottle of Amarone. Michele Dal Forno’s rigorous selection and draconian standards make these incredibly concentrated, full wines very hard to come by; at most 1,500 cases are made in one year.
Amarone della Valpolicella 2013
98 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate - ”The 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta is my favorite wine in the retrospective, along with the amazing 2011, 2009 and 1996 vintages. This wine was released at the beginning of this year, and because Dal Forno skipped over the 2014 vintage, this is the only Amarone we will see for a while (until the highly anticipated 2015 is released). The 2013 vintage is characterized by a slightly more streamlined mouthfeel (which isn't saying much given the baseline enormity of these wines) with carefully etched aromas of black cherry, rum cake, dark chocolate and toasted espresso. The 2013 vintage was balanced overall without the sudden heat waves we saw in the summers of 2011 and 2012. The grapes finished a slow and steady ripening process over an extended growing season. The effect is graceful and focused. Put this bottle aside in your cellar for the decades to come.”
Amarone della Valpolicella 2011
99 points, Andrew Jefford, Decanter - ”A black wine, and a velvet nose-box: pressed black fruits, seeping with fruit essences; smoke and cinders; herbal complexities; teasing floral notes, too, to lighten the tone a little. The alcohol level on the label might lead you to expect a gobstopper – so you’ll be taken aback by the fine-milled elegance of this wine, by its disposition and organisation, by its fleet-footed elegance and freshness, even though its concentration, power and textural presence make it a wine of absolute authority. There isn’t a trace of superfluous fat in the mid-palate – though it’s tongue-coating, head-turning, inspiring: a gathering of sumptuous fruited energies. 'It’s very difficult for my father to feel happy about any of his wines; he’s very critical,' said Michele. 'But with this vintage, he didn’t have anything to say.”
Amarone della Valpolicella 2009
99 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate - ”The Dal Forno family considered the idea of releasing their Amarone ten years after the harvest. If that plan had been implemented, this would be the vintage on the market now. The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta is a full and generous expression that delivers thick lines and robust flavors of dried blackberry, camphor ash, exotic cedar wood, licorice and tarry road pavement. This vintage saw average temperatures throughout the growing season with a few hailstorms along the way. Very dry weather led to some mild drought in July and August, with ensuing ripening and concentration of the clusters. I found this monumental wine to be irresistible when I first tasted it five years ago, and I consider it to have improved since then. This is one of the most complete and comprehensive vintages produced at Dal Forno, and it gives us an ample 360-degree view onto the might, brawn and potential of this icon wine from the Veneto. Its evolutionary track shows no sign of slowing down.”
Amarone della Valpolicella 2008
98 points, Antonio Galloni - “The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella is compelling. With a little air, the tannins begin to soften, releasing a myriad of intense dark aromas and flavours. Bittersweet chocolate, cloves, violets, plums and blackberry jam cover every inch of the palate in a stunning, head-spinning Amarone that captures all of the best qualities of the year. When Romano Dal Forno's wines are on, there is nothing quite like them, and that is certainly the case here."