In November, I was treated to a tasting of Dal Forno Amarone and Valpolicella courtesy of the UK importer, Pol Roger. These are singular wines of the highest quality that wear their massive power with a sense of effortless ease.
From Veneto in the north of Italy, the wines made at Dal Forno are monumental and have attracted universal praise. Corvina-dominated blends where the grapes are air-dried to increase concentration and intensity. The result of this process is “some of the richest and most textured wines being made anywhere in the world” for Antonio Galloni.
The Amarone is made only in the best vintages from the oldest vines on the estate. Once picked, they are then air-dried for 75 days before being pressed and fermented.
Dal Forno’s Amarone is in an incredible wine, toweringly structured and with unfathomable depths. We tasted the 2017, 2015 and 2012, and all were superb and, despite their immense presence, are very well balanced and light on their feet. There is not just a wall of opulence but layers of nuance and complexity.
The Valpolicella is every inch the baby Amarone. It is made in the same way as the flagship Amarone but from some of the younger wines on the estate. The grapes are dried for a slightly shorter time.
It has a slightly lighter profile and greater approachability in youth than the Grand Vin. That said, it is a wine that many producers would be proud to call an Amarone.
We sampled the 2012 vintage from magnum, and it was superb. This vintage is probably now at a peak in terms of drinking though it will hold for a good few years yet. A revelation, and for those that don’t know Dal Forno, the perfect place to start.
To summarise, this was a fascinating tasting. It was the perfect opportunity to really get to know these unique wines and experience them as the age, develop and mature. Dal Forno has a lofty reputation and on this showing, it is very richly deserved.