The 2003 Valpolicella Superiore comes across as shockingly primary for a five-year old wine. Masses of jammy dark fruit flow onto the palate in a concentrated, generous style. The firm tannins are those of the torrid 2003 vintage, yet this broad-shouldered, expansive wine has more than enough fruit to provide balance. Notes of chocolate, leather, coffee and sweet spices gradually emerge with air, yet this remains a backward, unyielding wine at the moment. As with the 2004, this wine needs serious bottle age, or eight to ten hours of air for those adventurous enough to take it for a test drive now. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2020.
All of these wines from Romano Dal Forno require significant aeration to show the true breadth of this passionate grower's innovative style. Ideally the wines should be cellared for a minimum of a few years. Readers in search of short-term gratification are advised to open these bottles at least eight to ten hours before serving. This also holds for the Valpolicella, which has become an especially massive, structured wine after Dal Forno started producing it from 100% dried fruit in the 2002 vintage. Dal Forno favors 100% new American oak for his wines, although in recent years he has brought the aging regime down considerably.