Proof Of The Pudding
After my flying visit to Romano dal Forno’s remarkable estate earlier in the year (see “That’s Amarone”), I thought it about time to revisit the fruits of his labour. Back when it was almost affordable, I bought some of the Romano dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore 2000 (14.7% ABV), but it had been a few years since I last opened a bottle. For some reason I’d had a lone bottle lying around at home for quite some time and tonight it had a date with destiny.
Deep blood red with a modest brick-hued rim, there was a noticeable viscosity that left long legs all around the bowl of the glass. The nose was an intriguing combination of savoury, smokey, graphite aromas, spicy oak and soft black cherry fruit.
Dry, rich and very full bodied on the palate, the powerful acidity and alcohol paired with firm yet very fine tannins and spicy, well-integrated new oak. Viscous and mouthfilling with a fiery freshness, this was certainly a wine for food. Made very much in the style of a modern Amarone (which to all intents and purposes it was), it was only very slightly smaller in scale. Definitely mature, its firm structure and long, chewy, sweet-fruited finish with an amaro/graphite edge made it difficult to say quite how much longer this would live for.
After my conversations with Marco and Michele dal Forno, the progression of the family’s philosophy was very much apparent when compared with more recent vintages of this wine I have tried. This was not a Valpolicella in any traditional sense, more a “Super Veneto” expressing the essence of a region and its wine. Exactly as the dal Fornos intended.
If you are in the mood to spend a little of your lottery win, Armit is the UK agent for dal Forno and older vintages are usually available from a number of the better-known fine wine traders.