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2003 Chiccheri Valpolicella Superiore

Joe H

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I am drinking this as I type this: it IS equal to several years of Dal Forno's Valpolicella. The '03 in northern Italy was the incredibly hot, record breaking year. I've tasted Dal Forno from the barrel for that year and his wines are a bit sweeter than normal. His '03 Recioto WILL be his best ever! Still, he consulted with this winery in Tregnano which is 3 km up the road from his winery in Illasi. Grapes in Norwalk, CT seems to have bought most if not all of the North American allocation of this wine and is offering it for $49.99 a bottle. If you are willing to buy it by the case it is $34.99. From an e-mail from John Caplan, Grapes' owner:

"This is one of the finest $50 bottles of wine I have ever had. This wine must be tasted to be believed. The wine is immensely concentrated with spectacular purity. Remarkably full bodied, awesome balance and great length. Huge amounts of berry fruit balanced by plenty of new French oak. The palate feel is glorious."

This is a mouth coating swallow that lasts for 30 or more seconds-it is incredible. I honestly believe that in this price range it is one of the finest $35 wines I have ever tasted. For anyone who is into amarone this is a serious wine to take a real look at. You can reach John at wwwgrapeswine.com. I have no connection in any way with him or his store. I just love this wine and believe he is the only way to source it in North America. For those on this board who love Amarone (or may have visited Dal Forno...) this is a wine that you should have a taste of!

He also has a limited amount of Chiccheri's '03 Amarone which I have not tasted. Still, I think enough of the Valpolicella that I have bought six bottles of the '03 Amarone.

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