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Debuting Dal Forno 2008 Amarone, Bodega Chacra Sale, and $50 Barolo!
February 3, 2014
A Note from Sergio

I've often said that Amarone is a tough wine to make well, but that kind of generalization doesn't help the wine-lover who balks at a serious Amarone's serious price tag. So let me give you some specifics. The average bottle of wine requires a little over two pounds of grapes. Amarone requires around 23 pounds--about ten times as much. The reason comes from the appassimento technique that Amarone makers use to make the wine. "Appassimento" means "withered" or "drying," and in this technique, winemakers partially dry the grapes, usually for about three months, before pressing them into wine.

A long time ago, producers would spread the grapes on straw mats and hope for the best. These days, they have great rooms filled with trays where they carefully spread their grapes to dry. Even with all the modern conveniences of electric fans and humidity control, some grapes rot. So this technique doesn't merely require much more raw material to make the wine, but it also requires more room, incurs more loss, and needs more money for equipment. And that's all before you even begin to ferment the grapes.

Romano Dal Forno learned from his mentor, the late, great Giuseppe Quintarelli, that very dense plantings and very low yields were the foundation for great Amarone. Dal Forno has one of the densest vineyard plantings in Italy--around 5,200 plants per acre--and one of the lowest yields per plant--around 11 ounces of grapes. Take a moment and do the math: if Dal Forno needs about 23 pounds of grapes for each bottle of wine, and each plant produces just 11 ounces, the estate uses the fruit of 33.5 plants in each bottle of wine. No wonder that Dal Forno hasn't raised its production levels in almost twenty years. And no wonder that he makes some of the most intense, mind-blowing, gorgeous wines on the planet.

I give this information as a preamble to debuting the 2008 Dal Forno Amarone, a wine that's undeniably a luxury as well as unquestionably luxurious. It's a great hedonist treat, a velvet-wrapped experience, and one that makes impassioned converts out of the dubious. It's also a wine whose sheer power and beauty hide all the work that goes into it. Dal Forno hasn't made an Amarone since 2006, and this one will sell out quickly, especially since we're debuting it at the lowest pricing in the States.

Along with this luxury treat, I'm delighted to offer a pair of IWM client favorites: an Argentine Merlot from Sassicaia's maker, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, and a rustic, artisanal Barolo from Renzo Seghesio. Both of these wines are individualistic representations of their genre, and both belong on your table. You can't drink something like Dal Forno Amarone every night, but these beautiful bottles give you delicious alternatives.

Today's Featured Sections Include:


1. Spotlight on Excellence: Hotly Anticipated Dal Forno Amarone Debut        

2. Time Sensitive Offer: Sassicaia in Patagonia, Bodega Chacra Merlot Rio Negro Mainque 2010  

3. Our Experts Suggest: A Legendary Brunello and a Champagne Split to Get You Ready

4. Only At IWM: A $50 Barolo? Yes!  

5. Wine Events: An Introduction to Grand Cru Burgundy: Le Clos to Corton to Chambertin

My Best, 



Sergio Esposito

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