There are three kinds of Valpolicella:
Valpolicella, which is usually a light quaffing wine, Valpolicella Amarone, which is often a meditation wine that can age for decades, and -- sandwiched between the two -- Valpolicella Superiore, which can be closer to one or the other end of the spectrum depending upon the vintage and the whim of the winemaker. This makes it especially interesting after a few years, because it can be stunning, and when it is that's a happy discovery. This wine from 1998 wasn't quite stunning, but I did enjoy it:
Dusky garnet with brownish highlights and almandine rim. Dusky nose with balsamic acidity and dusty leather, mingled with wet stable straw and damp leafy underbrush. Quite mature, but not yet falling apart. On the palate it's full, with elegant prune fruit laced with hints of brown sugar and supported by a combination of deft acidity and clean sweet leathery tannins that flow into a long green finish with lasting berry fruit and hints of cooked oatmeal. Pleasing and graceful, and very much ready to drink -- it's not going to improve further at this point, or at least I don't think so. It went quite well with mixed grilled meats, though I might have liked just a touch more mineral acidity than I found.
Bottom line: It was worth waiting for.