Masi Agricola – Extraordinary Italian Wine
Masi Agricola is doing something quiet special in Northern Italy. Italian wine is by far my favorite on Earth. The love, passion, flavor and diligence the Italians squeeze into their grapes and process results in phenomenal wine. For over 200 years, the Boscainis have been vignerons and winemakers in the Veneto (Venice) area. Skilled in the production of delectable Amarone & Recioto, Masi has applied their expertise to give an historic wine making technique a modern and original profile. Masi even created the “Supervenetian” category with the release of Campofiorin in 1964. A blend of innovative and historic methods enhances the wines’ personality and retains a recognizable Venetian style. Their Amarones literally make me blissful!
The name Masi comes from “Vaio dei Masi,” the little valley purchased by the Boscaini family in the late 18th Century. Carefully considered purchases in the best wine growing areas of the Veneto were made over the years. Rooted in the Veneto’s history and tradition, Masi Agricola also manages the most historic estate in Valpolicella, which once belonged to descendants of the legendary 14th Century poet Dante. Recently, Masi Agricola has developed projects in Argentina and Tuscany, in collaboration with Serego Alighieri. If you have never taste an Amarone you have not yet truly experienced Italian wine. Let us peruse some of our favorite Italian wines…
Let us start with a tasty and affordable white… The Masi Masianco 2015 is only $14.99 (88 points) and a super smooth and flavorful blancho. A real fruity nose and a well balanced white. Take some deep sniffs to let it really seep in the nostrils. “Masi’s most up-to-date Italian white is also the estate’s white “Supervenetian,” a wine of great personality. Masianco Pinot Grigio delle Venezie blends the elegant, fruity and rich aromas of this grape, cultivated in Friuli, with the structure, poise and body of the native Verduzzo, picked slightly over-ripe and mature. Pinot Grigio comes from the Castions di Strada vineyard, with sedimentary soil of loose clay and gravel.” (Korband)
Lets us slide over to the illustrious reds. Another powerful yet affordable bottle is the Masi Campofiorin 2013 $18.99 (91 points). The ruby red is so beautiful and the nose shall enchant you. With some hints of plum its bold, yet smooth flavor makes this bottle an epic winner.
“Campofiorin is the original “Supervenetian,” made with Masi’s double fermentation technique. A specialty wine, this red is made from local Veronese grapes Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara vinified and then re-fermented with a small percentage of semi-dried grapes of the same varieties. Vineyards in the valleys of the Veronese hills have similar conditions to the original “Campofiorin” vineyard in Marano di Valpolicella, with very deep alluvial and eocenic limestone soil. Fermented wine from fresh grapes is re-fermented with 25% of whole grapes semi-dried (for about 6 weeks) of the same varieties. After fermentation, malolactic begins immediately. The wine is aged in wood, 2/3 in Slavonian oak botti of 90 hl, 1/3 in Allier and Slavonian barrels of 600 liters, new, and a period in bottle.” (Korband)
Now we begin to get a lil pricey as we introduce you to the vaunted Amarones, worth every penny… The Masi Costasera 2011 $63.99 (94 points) starts to get the committed and/or affluent vino lovers attention. This a bold and complex Amarone that is as silky smooth as the previous. The dark crimson is gorgeous, almost a royal purple. The nose is a bit subdued, but still entices wildly. The plum is still there but coupled with other flavors of perhaps cinnamon and slight cherry.
“With sunset-facing slopes, Costasera the best terroir for producing high-quality Amarone in Valpolicella Classico. With a longer day, vines facing Lake Garda get reflected and direct sunlight, with soft breezes. Since the 1960s, Masi experts have confirmed the superiority of west-facing sites. Masi combines ancient varieties (Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara) and winemaking methods (vinifying grapes semi-dried on racks for 3-4 months) with modern techniques. Traditional 600-liter Veronese barrels have been re-introduced, the best to age this wine. By end of January, grapes lose 35% of their weight and develop highly concentrated sugars. Only Corvina develops botrytis. After gentle pressing; partially de-stemmed grapes undergo fermentation for 45 days in large Slavonian oak or stainless steel vats at low temperature. The wine is transferred to 30-40 hl barrels; alcoholic fermentation continues 35 days with alcohol-resistant yeasts, before malolactic. Aged 24 months; 80% in Slavonian oak botti, 40-80 hl, and 20% in small Allier and Slavonian oak barrels (40% new, 30% one year, and 30% two years old), and at least 4 months in bottle. Can age 30-35 years.” (Korband)
Our final lovely bottle is a reserve edition. The Masi Riserva Costasera 2009 $76.99 (93 Points) Same glorious color and nose in this slightly older version, but with notes of perhaps coffee as well. Another phenomenal bottle that will make you purr.
“Modern techniques are combined with ancient varieties (Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and the unique Oseleta grape, rediscovered by Masi), the “Appassimento” method from the Romans and traditional 600-liter Veronese barrels. Costasera’s slopes face the sunset, making this the best terroir in Valpolicella Classico. End of September or beginning of October, selected fruit is dried in special lofts for natural appassimento. By mid-February, grapes lose 40% of their weight and gain concentration. Only Corvina grapes naturally develop botrytis and Oseleta variety imparts tannic structure and deep color to the wine after drying. After gentle pressing and partial de-stemming, fermentation takes 45 days in large Slavonian oak botti or stainless steel vats at low, natural temperature. The wine goes into 30-40 hl botti, where final fermentation takes 35 days, with alcohol-resistant yeasts, then malolactic. Aged for 38-40 months in 600-litre Slavonian and Allier oak casks; 1/3 new, 1/3 year old and 1/3 two years old; minimum 6 months in bottle.” (Korband)
Masi Agricola exclusively produces wines of the top quality level. A specialist in producing Amarones and Reciotos using historic wine making techniques, Masi is the leading Amarone producer, with 5 Amarones that account for 20% of total production in the Veneto. If you are truly ready to step up your wine then Masi is the perfect place to start…