(AG=98) The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella is compelling. With a little air, the tannins begin to soften, releasing a myriad of intense dark aromas and flavors. Bittersweet chocolate, cloves, violets, plums and blackberry jam cover every inch of the palate in a stunning, headspinning Amarone that captures all of the best qualities of the year. When Romano Dal Forno's wines are on, there is nothing quite like them, and that is certainly the case here. If opened young, the 2008 needs a little air. Actually, a lot of air. (RP=95) 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella (with fruit sourced from the high density Monte Lodoletta vineyard) opens with immense darkness and the kind of midnight impenetrability you never see on any color wheel for fine wine. Its off the charts appearance is followed by similarly unique aromatic intensity and versatility that spans from blackberry syrup and candied prune to chewing tobacco, black peppercorn and rain-soaked asphalt. This is but a baby that will require loads of time in your cellar before it enters its prime drinking window. Because Dal Forno did not make Amarone in 2007, the wait will seem that much longer. Having said that, this wine is very different from the 2006 Amarone despite the fact 2006 and 2008 were relatively similar cool vintages overall. I distinctly remember the impossible tightness and astringency of the tannins in 2006 when tasted at the same young stage in the wine??s life. The 2008 Amarone, on the other hand, is much softer and a tad more approachable in contrast. Ultimately, this wine promises a graceful, steady and long evolution. Drink: 2017-2035. (WS=94) Game and ashy smoke details lead the way in this ripe red, followed by juicy plumped cherry, date, dark chocolate and woodsy spice notes on the plush-textured palate. Velvety tannins give this some brawn, but this is beautifully knit and balanced, showing an overall sense of finesse. Delivers a lasting finish of fruit and spice. Drink now through 2033.