AGRICOLA MASI - ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED AND FAMOUS WINERIES OF VENETO
Among wine enthusiasts everywhere the name Masi evokes fine Valpolicellas of every category, Soaves of distinct character and special blends no other winery can muster. Agricola Masi has built a reputation for maintaining quality and saving indigenous grapes varieties from extinction. The winery saved at least one variety (Oseleta) from total extinction, which in itself is an honourable deed.
The history of the winery dates back to the 18th century by the Boscaini family’s acquisition of “Vaio dei Masi” Valley close to Verona. Since then the establishment evolved gradually pruchasing vineyards in the best location of Veneto. Masi also manages the historic estate of Serego Alighieri family, descendants of the poet Dante. The estate was founded in 1353.
Today, Agricola Masi is managed by Dottore Sandro Boscaini and his daughter. The company specializes in premium wines using the most modern technology, but still following deeply rooted traditions if and when warranted. Masi specializes in pleasant, well-balanced, Terroir specific wines with long aftertaste that any connoisseur can discern immediately after taking a sip. Masi wines have cachet and possess refinement; they prompt one to take a second sip after the first. In short, Masi produces reliable quality. Vintages unworthy of the Masi label are sold in bulk, a practice very few wineries follow today.
Here are some highly recommended Masi wines:
Amarone della Valpolicella- using Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara grapes from the classico region, the winemaker dries the fruit on bamboo racks for four months in specially designed warehouses with proper ventilation. This high alcohol (15 percent) but nevertheless majestic wine of can be cellared for many years. It is recommended to pair it with game stews, roasts and well aged cheeses.
Campolongo di Torbe Amarone Classico - is a single vineyard (Campolongo di Torbe) Amarone of power and balance. At 16 percent alcohol it is potent, but has enough extract to carry the high alcohol. The maximum production of this wines never exceeds 14,000 per annum.
It is best enjoyed on its own or with mature cheeses – Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, Pecorino Sardo. This wine can be cellared for decades.
Mazzano Amarone Classico - another single vineyard Amarone. This wine is barrique aged and can be cellared for decades. Annual production never exceeds 15,000 bottles.
Goes well with game stews, beef roasts, ripe hard cheeses, Grueyere, Emmental or even Oka.
Vaio Amaron Seregho Alighieri Amarone Classico is a single vineyard Amarone, from the vineyards of the Alighieri family since the 14th century.
Today the estate is managed by Masi. This wine is always superbly balanced, deeply flavoured and powerful. It goes best with beef and game roasts and mature hard cheeses.
Riserva degli Angeli Recioto Classico (Reserve of Angels) – a sweet red wine of monumental power, elegance and vigour. The fruit is dried for three months. It can be cellared for decades.
Mezzanella Amandorlato Recioto Classico – produced from a small single vineyard (Viao Mezzanella) the wine shows immense complexity, with a sweet-bitter taste unique among recioto style wines. Can be cellared for decades. Enjoy on its own.
Toar – composed of Rondinella, Corvina and Oseleta (an ancient variety) this wine has great structure, good fruitiness, and is easy to enjoy. Each grape variety is separately vinified and aged. After blending and bottling, the wine receives a one year long bottle aging.
Enjoy Toar with light meat dishes, on its own, with pastas, pizzas, and semi-soft cheeses.
Osar a varietal wine made from Oseleta which was discovered and revived by Masi. A unique wine produced in very small; quantities (4000 bottles); that can be cellared for many years.
Campoforin is a branded Valpolicella composed of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella that are partially dried before crushing and fermentation. The wine is then blended into regular Valpolicella, encouraging a refermentaton also known as ripasso in Veneto. This full-bodied wine can be enjoyed with a number of dishes including a range of salami and prosciutto.
Brolo di Campofiorin – Brolo means a walled vineyard (in France Clos) It is a refined Campofiorin and stands out with its silky smooth texture.
Soave Classico, Bardolino Classico, Valpolicella Classico and grappas complete Masi’s Portfolio.
Agricola Masi wines are reliable and always worth the price. Masi wines quality to price ratio tends to be in favour of quality at the expense of cost.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu