The 1996 Valpolicella is amazing. Readers will have to redefine their definition of Valpolicella to understand this blockbuster. The color is a dense purple. The bouquet offers glorious levels of blackberry and cherry fruit intertwined with vanilla, minerals, lead pencil shavings, and spice. The wine is full-bodied and voluptuously-textured, with sweet tannin and a seamless finish. It is an enormous yet incredibly symmetrical Valpolicella to drink over the next 2-5 years; it will last for 15-18 years. Regrettably, this wine is both hard to find and priced in the stratosphere. However, anyone who has tasted a Dal Forno offering realizes this is the reference point for prodigious Valpolicella and Amarone. It possesses off the chart levels of complexity, richness, aging potential, and reveals a style totally unlike anything else produced in the region. Decent quantities are exported, although most stays in Italy to be gobbled up by the local cognoscenti and the country's finest restaurants.