The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 118 of 124

118 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2017 { italy } AMARONE IS A CONTROVERSIAL wine. Made north of Verona, it is crafted from Valpolicella grapes—predominately Corvina—that have been air-dried for several weeks in order to concentrate and intensify the resulting wine. Purists reject the wine and call it manipu - lated; people who love rich, intense wine call it sublime. And most Amarone lovers con- cede that, among the many producers of this special wine, Dal Forno makes the best one in the business. As if that weren't enough, they also make a superb Valpolicella—and, occasionally, a rare Passito. Having visited Dal Forno's immaculate, state-of-the-art winery outside Verona, it's not difficult to understand why their wines are so exceptional—and command such high prices. They use a vacuum system for the press and tanks, a mechanized clean - ing technique and a nitrogen procedure in the barrel room. Large industrial fans that change direction every five minutes patrol the drying room. The grapes are dried for three months. The Valpolicella, made from the same high-density planted (nearly 5,300 vines per acre) estate-grown fruit, receives the same meticulous treatment. Its grapes are just dried for a shorter time. Michele dal Forno, whose father Romano began producing Amarone in 1983, came to Los Angeles in March to show the most recent dal Forno vintages of both Valpolicella and Amarone. Here are my notes. Dal Forno Romano 2008 Valpolicella Superiore DOC ($NA) Lush, rich nose; smooth, dense texture, seamless, rich and deep; spicy, ripe, elegant and long. 93 Dal Forno Romano 2009 Valpolicella Superiore DOC ($100) Velvety on the palate but sustained by bracing acid structure; tannic and floral with intense concentration and bold flavors. 94 Dal Forno Romano 2010 Valpolicella Superiore DOC ($100) Intense and woodsy nose; smooth, rich and balanced; dense, deep and long. 94 Dal Forno Romano 2011 Valpolicella Superiore DOC ($100) Piercing floral and spiced nose; creamy, juicy and luscious with great bal - anced, richness and depth. 94 Dal Forno Romano 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($400) Dark, capti- vaing blackberry nose; rich, dense and spicy with creamy texture; concentrated and intense. 95 Dal Forno Romano 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($400) Massive—dark, concentrated, rich and spicy; luscious, thick, deep texture with exquisite ripe flavors. 96 Dal Forno Romano 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($400) Rich, thick and yet loaded with tangy blackberry and fig fruit; spice, sweet berries, long and intense. 96 Dal Forno Romano 2011 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($400) Wow! Dark, rich, velvety, lush and very, very rich; end- lessly deep and spicy; concentrated and long on the finish. 97 Dal Forno Romano 2002 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($1000/magnum) Tasted from magnum Rich, dense and earthy; lush and summery with sweet berry fruit and spice. 93 Dal Forno Romano 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ($1000/magnum) Tasted from magnum Amazingly fresh, layered and spicy; an excellent example of the staying power of Amarone. 96 Dal Forno Romano 2004 Vigna Seré Passito, Veneto IGT ($235) Produced in very limited amounts and on very rare occasions. Spicebox nose with sweet concentration; thick, intense, savory and long. 55% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 20% Croatina, 10% Oseleta. 95 The King of Amarone DAL FORNO MAKES NO APOLOGIES FOR DEEP, CONCENTRATED WINES by Anthony Dias Blue PHOTO COURTESY OF DAL FORNO ROMANO

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - June / July 2017