Dal Forno is surely one of the legends of Valpolicella; it's rather bizarre that Wine Advocate has never given them a 100pt score, but they've come pretty close on 3 occasions: the 1997 Amarone, the 2004 Vigna Seré passito, and the 2009 Amarone, all with 99pts.

Going by Antonio Galloni's notes, Dal Forno's 2009s may be uncommonly expressive in their youth — patience not required in such great quantity.

Dal Forno's focus is on the traditional Valpolicella varieties (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta, Croatina) but, in the winery, their willingness to embrace modernity shows: the Amarone's first fermentation is in stainless steel with automated punch-downs; the second fermentation is in French oak over the course of 18 months — it's so often the case in wine that doing things the slow way gives more complexity — followed by 24 months' ageing in oak.

That careful treatment extends, rather unusually, even to the Valpolicella. This is normally not made with the appassimento method, but here the grapes are dried for 45 days (half the time of the Amarone) and aged for 2 years in oak and 3 years in bottle; as Eric Guido put it, "it’s like drinking many other producers’ Amarone, but it’s labeled Valpolicella." (Vinous 2021)

" Dark, deep, dense, elegant, powerful, and yet somehow perfectly balanced and never tiring to the senses, it’s hard to understand just how Dal Forno Romano continues to consistently produce such a riveting lineup of Valpolicella wines, and at such a high level. The winery and vineyards are located in Val d’Illasi, the furthest valley east of Verona that is permitted to produce Valpolicella and Amarone. However, what Marco Dal Forno has certainly proven is that this terroir is just as important as the Classico region. Here we find alluvial soils with an increase in the amount of clay as you gently move upslope, versus the volcanic origins and steeper elevations to the west. While Marco Dal Forno and his father have been very accepting of technology, and earlier than most, today this winery looks no different than what you’d expect from a world-class cellar, along with being clean enough to eat off the floor. The wines continue to be refined in barrique, while larger-format barrels are the trend; yet the integration is perfect, whereas their Amarone and Valpolicella may take a little longer to blossom than most, but when they do, it’s magical. It also helps that Marco Dal Forno releases later than most, with 2015 as the current vintage. In the end, what defines the style here is really about the terroir, the family and their exceptionally high expectations. The only sad news for lovers of the wines is the continued reduction in quantity from vintage to vintage, as hail has become a repeating problem year after year. " — Vinous (2022)


Why we like it:

• Dal Forno's wines are unlikely to get any easier to secure in the future: quantity has decreased over the years, according to Vinous (2022), due to a combination of hail almost becoming the norm in the area and an uncompromising approach to quality.
• The 2009 is the highest-rated vintage for this cuvée by Wine Advocate, tied with the 1997.
• Drink 2019–2045 (Wine Advocate); Antonio Galloni noted: "The 2009s have more early appeal than is the norm here, which I imagine will only delight Dal Forno fans."

Showing the single result

Show filters