Along with Giuseppe Quintarelli, Dal Forno Romano makes the best wines in the Veneto. The history of Dal Forno Romano, however, is much shorter, and its rise to fame much faster.
The Dal Forno family had long owned vines in Valpolicella, in Illasi – on the eastern side of the historical Classico zone. The fruit had, however, always been sold to the local co-op. In 1983, discouraged by the lowly prices his family received for their grapes, Romano Dal Forno decided to start making his own wine.
He went to visit the already famous Giuseppe Quintarelli, who offered the young upstart encouragement in his venture. Despite his father’s and the locals’ dismissal of his ambition, he – with the help of his wife Loretta – set about crafting the best wines possible.
With no prior experience, he learnt everything as he went along. In a constant pursuit of perfection, he built a state-of-the-art winery (completed in 2008), developing his own vacuum-pressured tanks, inventing new technology for extraction – all to better his wines. He replaced Molinara in blends with Croatina and Orseleta – the former for its complex sugars and intensity of flavor, the latter for colour, tannin and acidity. His reputation grew in an astonishingly short time.
The wines were – at first – made in imitation of Quintarelli, with even the Dal Forno labels bearing a a looping script not dissimilar to Quintarelli’s. Today, however, the wines stand on their own reputation, considered on a par with Quintarelli’s, rivalling them in both prestige and price. The wines are some of the deepest, densest, most concentrated and age-worthy expressions of the region, yet they bear a freshness and finesse that is remarkable for wines of this stature.
Today Michele, Luca and Marco – Romano’s sons – are all involved, gradually taking over in the vineyards and winery. The focus is constantly on striving for greatness,
implementing exacting standards and pushing to see how they can make the wines even better.