Enthusiasts and collectors often divide themselves into camps: the diehard Mascarello fans, the Biondi-Santi obsessives, those who worship at the altar of Valentini, for example. People who understand the inherent quality in a Giacosa Barolo may not quite be able to comprehend the '01 Masseto. Others adore Masseto, but Gravner makes them scratch their heads. All of these estates produce the highest quality wines in Italy, but pour a bottle from any one of them for a group of ten wine lovers and it's likely that only five will be able to recognize its caliber. That's because few people are able to appreciate quality when it doesn't jibe with their sensibility.
Romano dal Forno is one of those rare winemakers who makes unarguably, obviously fine wine, no matter your taste. You can give a glass of Dal Forno Amarone to a beer drinker who's never tasted wine in his life or to a connoisseur who's tasted nearly every wine in the world, and they'll both have the same immediate reaction: Dal Forno Amarone is undeniably compelling. Even a follower of Giuseppe Quintarelli--the late, great Amarone-maker who mentored Romano and imbued in him both skills and passion--has to admit that Dal Forno makes a fantastic wine. It's like music: You don't need to be an opera fan to know that Pavarotti has an extraordinary voice; you only need to hear him sing for a second.
Dal Forno's Amarone is unique. All of the elements of the wine--its depth, breeding, character, acidity, richness--hit your senses at the exact right moment. For this reason, it consistently garners rave reviews and shows up at tastings around the world. Today, I'm proud to feature a new release of the 2006 Dal Forno Amarone. It's a vintage that might seduce you into opening it now, but do your best not to listen to that siren song. As velvety, rich, undulating with black fruits, spice and chocolate as it is, this wine will be even more stunning a few years down the road.
Along with a new allocation of this IWM favorite, I'm delighted to debut the 2009 Giacosa Barolo Falletto, a wine with such pure, clear, crystalline lines and such powerful depth that drinking it is like scuba diving in Grand Cayman. And finally, I'm happy to offer the 2010 Grand Crus from Burgundy legend Armand Rousseau; these are fabulous wines.