A dark, super-ripe wine, the 2008 Valpolicella Superiore is fabulous in this vintage. Smoke, tar, incense, licorice and blackberry jam hit the palate in a massive, intense Valpolicella loaded with class and personality. Even with all of the concentration, the 2008 is quite a bit less tannic than some recent vintages have been, which makes it accessible even today, especially if given a little air. There is a lot to admire in this drop-dead gorgeous Valpolicella from Romano Dal Forno.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028
Robert Parker 93
The 2008 Valpolicella Superiore hails from the famed Monte Lodoletta cru and immediately struts its stuff: It opens to huge intensity, an inky appearance and tight tannic astringency. Great care is taken to transform each berry of fruit into this dense, syrupy wine that is redolent of bitter chocolate, dried fruit, blackberry preserves, baking spice and toasted herbs. The oak tannins dry every last drop of moisture from your mouth. The blend is 70% Covina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5% Oseleta and 5% Croatina aged 36 months in barrique. This wine has a long, long way to go. Don’t even think of popping the cork for five years or more. Drink 2018-2035. The wines of Romano Dal Forno are always a highlight of my annual tasting calendar. In many regards, these radically unique wines put the wine critic to the test, not the other way around. I approach the evaluation with a certain level of apprehension and am willing to bet that many of my wine-writing colleagues experience similar emotions. Dal Forno’s wines throw so much at you at once, in machine-gun rapid-fire succession, you need extra time to recover from the whiplash, gather your thoughts and assess them correctly. They are nearly impossible to taste blind because the enormity of the sensorial characteristics, the stratospheric intensity and the utterly impenetrable appearance are dead giveaways. These wines shout their true identities at ear-piercing decibels. Tasted too young, they are not even likeable. The exaggerated extraction and astringency make them unapproachable for years. Amazingly, beyond the cacophony is melody. Once I â€œgotâ€ these wines, I started to consider them like unique works of art. A painting could hold violent splashes of color but still bring peace to the viewer. A fashion design could be outrageously modeled but still bring comfort to the wearer. Loud percussions can still be part of beautiful music. By the way, the 2007 Amarone was not produced, so production will skip ahead directly to 2008. At press time, I was informed that Dal Forno is no longer represented by Vias Imports in the United States. Folio Fine Wine Partners is the new importer, so these prices may change once Folio brings their new inventory over. Importer: Folio Fine Wine Partners, www.foliowine.com
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035