Wine Region: Amarone Valpolicella DOCG
Grape: 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Oseleta, and 10% Croatina
Total Production: 9,000 Bottles
Accolades: JS97 & RP98
Robert Parker’s 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.”
A richly pungent red, with smoke and forest floor notes on the nose transitioning to a well-knit range of baked black cherry, bay leaf and dried fig flavors, with a touch of espresso. Full-bodied and dense, with the fine-grained tannins holding sway on the long, minerally finish.
About the Winery:
Along with Giuseppe Quintarelli, Dal Forno Romano makes the best wines in the Veneto. The history of Dal Forno Romano, however, is much shorter, and its rise to fame much faster.
The Dal Forno family had long owned vines in Valpolicella, in Illasi – on the eastern side of the historical Classico zone. The fruit had, however, always been sold to the local co-op. In 1983, discouraged by the lowly prices his family received for their grapes, Romano Dal Forno decided to start making his own wine.
He went to visit the already famous Giuseppe Quintarelli, who offered the young upstart encouragement in his venture. Despite his father’s and the locals’ dismissal of his ambition, he – with the help of his wife Loretta – set about crafting the best wines possible.
With no prior experience, he learnt everything as he went along. In a constant pursuit of perfection, he built a state-of-the-art winery (completed in 2008), developing his own vacuum-pressured tanks, inventing new technology for extraction – all to better his wines. He replaced Molinara in blends with Croatina and Orseleta – the former for its complex sugars and intensity of flavor, the latter for colour, tannin and acidity. His reputation grew in an astonishingly short time.
The wines were – at first – made in imitation of Quintarelli, with even the Dal Forno labels bearing a a looping script not dissimilar to Quintarelli’s. Today, however, the wines stand on their own reputation, considered on a par with Quintarelli’s, rivalling them in both prestige and price. The wines are some of the deepest, densest, most concentrated and age-worthy expressions of the region, yet they bear a freshness and finesse that is remarkable for wines of this stature.
Today Michele, Luca and Marco – Romano’s sons – are all involved, gradually taking over in the vineyards and winery. The focus is constantly on striving for greatness, implementing exacting standards and pushing to see how they can make the wines even better.