Berry Bros – 2014 Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

Romano has been at the cutting-edge of Valpolicella and Amarone production since 1983, producing wines which are some of the richest and densest of the genre.

Romano Dal Forno is a local legend in Valpolicella, “The rest of us take vacations, occasionally play a round of golf in the afternoons,” said a major Veneto- wine producer, “But not Dal Forno. He works every day. He not only knows every bunch in his vineyards – he knows every grape!”

Romano is the undisputed leader of the new wave in Verona’s winemaking although his small estate is to be found outside the so-called Zona Classica for Valpolicella, at Illasi. From 8 hectares of vineyard this vigneron-winemaker gets the best out of the Corvina and Rondinella varieties with small yields and rigorous selection during the harvesting.

The house speciality is Amarone, but he makes Valpolicella with the same care as well. Fermentation and maceration are designed to extract maximum varietal character from the grapes. Dal Forno has adopted the use of barriques and has been working on ways to ferment the sugars completely out in wood, as if the wine were white. This style of vinification gives the oak a decisive role in the ageing process, without letting it dominate completely.

These are big wines, not for the faint-hearted, but a unique take on the Corvina clan.

Here is what the critics say about Dal Forno:

“These are some of the richest and most textured wines being made anywhere in the world.” “A visit to this spotless winery in Illasi is all it takes to understand the maniacal drive for perfection that informs everything the Dal Forno family does.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous.com

“The wines of Romano Dal Forno prove to be impossible to duplicate. They show such a high degree of individual personality that they occupy their own school of stylistic expression.”
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

There is no 2014 Amarone, so all of the attention has been focussed of the stunning 2014 Valpolicella. Writing in February this year, Eric Guido of Vinous comments “It’s also extremely important to take note that even the Valpolicella of Dal Forno spends 45 days air-drying, followed by two years in new oak and three years in bottle. Basically, it’s like drinking many other producers’ Amarone, but it’s labelled Valpolicella.”

As there is no 2014 Amarone, Dal Forno have released (a little more of the excellent 2013 Amarone and) a special edition, three bottle, Historical Vintages Case containing two bottles of the 2008 and a bottle of the 2009 Amarone, two of the greatest vintages ever for this remarkable wine.

We also have two Assortment cases:

2006-2009 Assortment 6-bottle cases (1×75 each of: 2009 2008 2006 Amarone, 2009 2008 2007 Valpolicella)

Amarone Historical Vintages 3-bottle Case (2x75cl of 2008 and 1x75cl of 2009)

and single magnums of 2008 and 2006 Amarone.

 

2014 Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno
£345 per case of 6 bottles in bond

“The 2014 is a unique rendition of Dal Forno’s Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta. It’s a remarkably pretty wine, displaying crushed ripe strawberries and plums with cinnamon, clove, vanilla bean and a cooling hint of mint. The textures are velvety, coating all that they touch in glycerol fruit concentration, yet somehow coming across as zesty and spry, contrasting weight with saturating notes of tart blackberry and savory spice. There’s a bit of a lull in the midpalate, yet it hardly takes away from the experience. At times, the Monte Lodoletta can seem almost salty, especially through its long, mouthwatering finish, where hints of cherry pits and herbs linger. This atypical yet truly enjoyable expression is the result of the extremely difficult 2014 vintage, when hail damaged and reduced the crop in the lower-elevation vineyards, followed by rain from August through September. As a result, Dal Forno decided not to produce their Amarone, and to instead focus all of their attention on the Valpolicella. The result is a wine that no Dal Forno fan should miss, but be aware that production was down 30% from an average year. Drink 2022 – 2034.”
94/100 points – Eric Guido, Vinous, February 2021

 

“A beautiful, polished red with dried-berry, plum, floral and cedar aromas. Full body and a flavorful finish. Extremely refined and polished, more so than many past vintages. Already gorgeous, but needs a year or two to come together. Better after 2022.”
95/100 points – James Suckling, July 2020

 

2013 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno
£1,251 per case of 6 in bond (extremely limited availability)

“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. Drink 2022-2055.”
98/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – Sept. 2019

“Absurdly intense on the nose, saturated in dark-plum essence, vanilla, tar, ash, mocha and light raisins. Somehow, this still manages to be fresh and elegant — that’s thanks in part to the fine nature of the tannins, which on the surface seem brash and burly. Full-bodied and very, very long, casting dark fruit deep and ingrained. A stunning blockbuster of a wine that will either thrill or disturb. Drink from 2025.”
97/100 points – James Suckling – November 2019)

 

Amarone, Monte Lodoletta, Historical Vintages Case (two x 2008, one x 2009), Dal Forno
£690 per case of 3 bottles in bond

2008 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella is compelling. With a little air, the tannins begin to soften, releasing a myriad of intense dark aromas and flavors. Bittersweet chocolate, cloves, violets, plums and blackberry jam cover every inch of the palate in a stunning, headspinning Amarone that captures all of the best qualities of the year. When Romano Dal Forno’s wines are on, there is nothing quite like them, and that is certainly the case here. If opened young, the 2008 needs a little air. Actually, a lot of air. Drink 2016-2033.”
98/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2014

“Production was skipped over in 2007 due to extreme hail damage. The fruit that would normally be destined to Amarone went to the lower tier Valpolicella Superiore instead. The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta marks a return to a slightly cooler vintage with a longer growing season slowed down during the summer’s moderate temperatures. Indeed, harvest was wrapped up during the first days of November. The blend is mostly Corvina, at about 60%, with smaller parts Corvinone, Rondinella, Croatina and Oseleta. The new Dal Forno winery was finished in 2008, complete with the unique vacuum-sealed fermentation tasks that help to avoid any intrusive oxygen during winemaking. Indeed, this wine is balanced and elegant with fruit that is still crunchy and very much alive. The tannins are firm and nicely integrated into the wine’s thick, fleshy consistency. This vintage is characterized by a very elegant and graceful approach, which must be taken into context given the enormity of a wine of this caliber. Happily, there is no doubt that this vintage should still evolve steadily over time. Drink 2019-2040.”
96/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – September 2019

 

2009 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella is one of the most sexy, open-knit young Dal Forno Amarones I can remember tasting. An enticing mélange of mocha, black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and leather captivates the senses. Incredibly open today, the 2009 can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring or aged for twenty years, perhaps beyond. Although the 2009 doesn’t quite reach the heights of the truly epic vintages here, it comes very close and will provide considerable pleasure sooner than many of those wines. I don’t think I have ever tasted a young Dal Forno Amarone with this much allure. Drink 2016-2029.”
95/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, July 2015

“The Dal Forno family considered the idea of releasing their Amarone ten years after the harvest. If that plan had been implemented, this would be the vintage on the market now. The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta is a full and generous expression that delivers thick lines and robust flavors of dried blackberry, camphor ash, exotic cedar wood, licorice and tarry road pavement. This vintage saw average temperatures throughout the growing season with a few hailstorms along the way. Very dry weather led to some mild drought in July and August, with ensuing ripening and concentration of the clusters. I found this monumental wine to be irresistible when I first tasted it five years ago, and I consider it to have improved since then. This is one of the most complete and comprehensive vintages produced at Dal Forno, and it gives us an ample 360-degree view onto the might, brawn and potential of this icon wine from the Veneto. Its evolutionary track shows no sign of slowing down. Drink 2019-2045.”
99/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – September 2019

 

2006-2009 Assortment Romano dal Forno (1 bottle each of 2009 2008 2006 Amarone, 2009 2008 2007 Valpolicella)
£825 per case of 6 in bond

2008 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella is compelling. With a little air, the tannins begin to soften, releasing a myriad of intense dark aromas and flavors. Bittersweet chocolate, cloves, violets, plums and blackberry jam cover every inch of the palate in a stunning, headspinning Amarone that captures all of the best qualities of the year. When Romano Dal Forno’s wines are on, there is nothing quite like them, and that is certainly the case here. If opened young, the 2008 needs a little air. Actually, a lot of air. Drink 2016-2033.”
98/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2014

“Production was skipped over in 2007 due to extreme hail damage. The fruit that would normally be destined to Amarone went to the lower tier Valpolicella Superiore instead. The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta marks a return to a slightly cooler vintage with a longer growing season slowed down during the summer’s moderate temperatures. Indeed, harvest was wrapped up during the first days of November. The blend is mostly Corvina, at about 60%, with smaller parts Corvinone, Rondinella, Croatina and Oseleta. The new Dal Forno winery was finished in 2008, complete with the unique vacuum-sealed fermentation tasks that help to avoid any intrusive oxygen during winemaking. Indeed, this wine is balanced and elegant with fruit that is still crunchy and very much alive. The tannins are firm and nicely integrated into the wine’s thick, fleshy consistency. This vintage is characterized by a very elegant and graceful approach, which must be taken into context given the enormity of a wine of this caliber. Happily, there is no doubt that this vintage should still evolve steadily over time. Drink 2019-2040.”
96/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – September 2019

2009 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella is one of the most sexy, open-knit young Dal Forno Amarones I can remember tasting. An enticing mélange of mocha, black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and leather captivates the senses. Incredibly open today, the 2009 can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring or aged for twenty years, perhaps beyond. Although the 2009 doesn’t quite reach the heights of the truly epic vintages here, it comes very close and will provide considerable pleasure sooner than many of those wines. I don’t think I have ever tasted a young Dal Forno Amarone with this much allure. Drink 2016-2029.”
95/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, July 2015

“The Dal Forno family considered the idea of releasing their Amarone ten years after the harvest. If that plan had been implemented, this would be the vintage on the market now. The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta is a full and generous expression that delivers thick lines and robust flavors of dried blackberry, camphor ash, exotic cedar wood, licorice and tarry road pavement. This vintage saw average temperatures throughout the growing season with a few hailstorms along the way. Very dry weather led to some mild drought in July and August, with ensuing ripening and concentration of the clusters. I found this monumental wine to be irresistible when I first tasted it five years ago, and I consider it to have improved since then. This is one of the most complete and comprehensive vintages produced at Dal Forno, and it gives us an ample 360-degree view onto the might, brawn and potential of this icon wine from the Veneto. Its evolutionary track shows no sign of slowing down. Drink 2019-2045.”
99/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – September 2019

2006 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“The 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella boasts incredible richness and depth. Blackberry jam, graphite, smoke, licorice, tar and plums are beautifully integrated in this dark, seamless Amarone. Despite its considerable weight and density, the 2006 comes across as fairly accessible for a young Dal Forno Amarone. Hints of truffle, tobacco and new leather wrap around the finish. Drink 2014-2021.”
93/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, February 2011

“This is very lifted and intense with treacle tart, licorice, light asphalt, chili and chocolate. Full body with very intense dried fruits like raisins, sultanas and prunes, but there’s a nutmeg and clove undertone to it. Very chewy and intense on the finish. Big wine but racy and fresh. Stunning Amarone.”

98/100 points – James Suckling, April 2015

2009 Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“Black cherries, plums, graphite, tapenade, melted road tar and game hits the palate as Romano Dal Forno’s 2009 Valpolicella Superiore shows off its personality. The 2009 brings together the signature richness of a wine made from 100% dried fruit with distinctly wild, almost Syrah-like overtones. Inky and intense, with considerable tannic backbone, the 2009 is really more of a junior Amarone than a Valpolicella. Readers will want to give this super-expressive wine another few years in the cellar, but there is a lot to like, even today. Drink 2016-2024.”
92/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, July 2015

“Built like a tank, the 2009 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta is a masterful achievement. This wine shows so beautifully, especially in a warm but balanced vintage like 2009. The fruit is expressive and articulate with deep layers of blackberry preserves, dried cherry, dark chocolate, espresso bean, mesquite smoke and soy sauce. The mouthfeel is super rich and concentrated as the Dal Forno signature style would dictate. The tannic bite is still strong and this wine needs a few more years to stretch out its muscular build. I’d suggest drinking it after 2018. Drink 2017-2035.”
94+/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – December 2014

2008 Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“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. Drink 2016-2028.”
94/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2014

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.
93/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – October 2013

2007 Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno

“Dal Forno’s 2007 Valpolicella Superiore is a huge, opulent wine bursting with black fruit, bittersweet chocolate, mocha and sweet spices. The Valpolicella is usually quite tannic when young, but the 2007 stands apart from most other vintages because of its incredible silkiness. Initially quite full-throttled and intense, with time in the glass, the 2007 becomes more delicate and restrained in style. This is one of the most sensual, approachable young wines I have ever tasted from Romano Dal Forno, and that is a very good thing, as these reds are almost always impossible to enjoy when young. In 2007 there is no Amarone, so Dal Forno fans will want to check out this delicious Valpolicella. As a reminder, since 2002 the Valpolicella here has been made entirely from dried fruit, although the drying time is less than that used for the Amarone. Drink 2015-2027.”
91/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2014

“The 2007 Valpolicella Superiore from the celebrated Monte Lodoletta vineyard is rock-tight with a midnight black appearance and aromas that emerge with fierce determination. The fascinating aromatic medley includes dark spice, prune, Spanish cedar, tar, black licorice, balsam herb and blackberry tart. The mouthfeel is plush and rich with super-tight tannins that grip nervously to the finish. It has only started its bottle evolution and requires more time to soften and develop. Drink 2017-2035.”
94/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – October 2013

 

2006 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno – single magnums
£475 per single magnum in bond

“The 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella boasts incredible richness and depth. Blackberry jam, graphite, smoke, licorice, tar and plums are beautifully integrated in this dark, seamless Amarone. Despite its considerable weight and density, the 2006 comes across as fairly accessible for a young Dal Forno Amarone. Hints of truffle, tobacco and new leather wrap around the finish. Drink 2014-2021.”
93/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, February 2011

 

“This is very lifted and intense with treacle tart, licorice, light asphalt, chili and chocolate. Full body with very intense dried fruits like raisins, sultanas and prunes, but there’s a nutmeg and clove undertone to it. Very chewy and intense on the finish. Big wine but racy and fresh. Stunning Amarone.”
98/100 points – James Suckling, April 2015

 

2008 Amarone della Valpolicella, Monte Lodoletta, Dal Forno – single magnums
£450 per single magnum in bond

“The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella is compelling. With a little air, the tannins begin to soften, releasing a myriad of intense dark aromas and flavors. Bittersweet chocolate, cloves, violets, plums and blackberry jam cover every inch of the palate in a stunning, headspinning Amarone that captures all of the best qualities of the year. When Romano Dal Forno’s wines are on, there is nothing quite like them, and that is certainly the case here. If opened young, the 2008 needs a little air. Actually, a lot of air. Drink 2016-2033.”
98/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2014

“Production was skipped over in 2007 due to extreme hail damage. The fruit that would normally be destined to Amarone went to the lower tier Valpolicella Superiore instead. The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta marks a return to a slightly cooler vintage with a longer growing season slowed down during the summer’s moderate temperatures. Indeed, harvest was wrapped up during the first days of November. The blend is mostly Corvina, at about 60%, with smaller parts Corvinone, Rondinella, Croatina and Oseleta. The new Dal Forno winery was finished in 2008, complete with the unique vacuum-sealed fermentation tasks that help to avoid any intrusive oxygen during winemaking. Indeed, this wine is balanced and elegant with fruit that is still crunchy and very much alive. The tannins are firm and nicely integrated into the wine’s thick, fleshy consistency. This vintage is characterized by a very elegant and graceful approach, which must be taken into context given the enormity of a wine of this caliber. Happily, there is no doubt that this vintage should still evolve steadily over time. Drink 2019-2040.”
96/100 points – Monica Larner – Robertparker.com – September 2019

 

All wines due to arrive in our cellars in November 2021.

 

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