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. (ML)
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.
This is dark and packed with flavors of dried cherry, black olive and licorice. Thick, chewy tannins add to the density of the wine, eventually loosening as the bright acidity begins to trickle through. Some of that darkness may come from oseleta, a thick-skinned, tannic variety that comprises ten percent of the blend (the balance is corvina with 20 percent rondinella and 10 percent croatina). The grapes dried for three months in open-air rooms, and the wine finished fermentation in new barrels, where it remained for two years, picking up notes of clove, nutmeg and anise. The wine’s flavors continue to evolve for several days after opening, revealing layers of tobacco, charred eggplant and fire-roasted tomato, but this is a wine to lay down for at least five years to give those dense flavors time to unwind. (SJ)
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