A few days ago I received a message through the contact page of my blog: someone from Bootleggers, a small start up that imports boutique wine from around the world to Australia, would like to send me quite a special sample pack and would love my delivery details.
While I have never contacted other parties for free wine, partly because I wanted to maintain impartiality and rise above the agendas that plague the wine industry, I don’t suppose any dedicated wine writer would seriously reject an offer to send them wine when reached out to.
Today, I received the delivery – A crafted wooden box containing a stemless Riedel wine glass, an vial of deep garnet wine (using wine note descriptors for colour has become a habit now), a press release… and an invitation to a very special wine tasting in the future.
According to the invitation, I held in my hands a sample of Dal Forno Romano Valpoicella DOP Superiore 2007.
Let’s see what it tastes like…
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Deep
- Colour: Garnet
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Pronounced
- Development: Developing
- Sweetness: Dry
- Acidity: Medium+
- Tannin: Medium+
- Alcohol: Medium+
- Body: Full
- Flavor Intensity: Medium+
- Finish: Medium+
- Quality: Outstanding
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: Italy / Valpolicella / Corvina, Corvina Grossa, Rondinella, Croatina, Oseleta
- Price: Premium ($159)
- Long, thick tears, highly stained
- Aromas of potpourri, dried flowers, dates, prunes, cinnamon, clove, pepper
- Flavours of stewed prunes, spices, cinnamon, dried rose, dried violets
- Unbelievable complexity of flavours and aromas, silky tannins and good lingering finish
- Drink by itself to appreciate the full spectrum of flavours, or match with rib-eye steak, lamb, braised meats
This is probably my first “Outstanding” rating for a wine… and for something that was given to me for free? Am I slipping into the dark side?
However, I have qualified this decision with my notes above, and judging from the sheer complexity of flavour, it’s balance, and the tasting experience as a whole, I could not in good conscience give it any lower a rating. This wine is not merely “Very Good”. It is Outstanding, and deserves to be pointed out as such.
I have tasted Amarone before, and have written with great respect for the style. I also like my big Barossa Shirazes, so it could be said that this style of wine appeals to me directly. Perhaps a writer who has a greater affinity for lighter-bodied Pinot Noir would rate this wine lower, but I can only hope that professionalism would prevent either of us from straying too far from the moderate, balanced path.
Now, about the actual invitation. The included press release is certainly a compelling story and a great marketing tool – who hasn’t dreamed of lucking into an outstanding deal and stealing it away before anyone could notice?
The sample wine received here was “merely” a Valpolicella. I can only imagine how much richer an experience an Amarone from the same producer would offer.
For a simple comparison (and brace yourself for the price difference), see links from Bootleggers below:
- The wine tasted in this article – 2007 Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella D.O.P Superiore
- The wine to be offered at the future tasting – 2008 Dal Forno Romano Amarone della Valpolicella D.O.P
Read more: The Main Attribute of a Wine Snob