Thursday, December 12, 2013

White or Red: Two Masi Wines for the Holiday Season

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Back in the summer, I told you about an alternative to the rosés of summer, the Masi Bonacasta Valpolicella. Now, I can tell you about an alternative to the chardonnays of the holiday season, the Masi Masianco 2012. This Italian white wine is what the producer refers to as a “Supervenetian,” a blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo wines using the appassimento method for the Verduzzo grapes (dried and shriveled before pressing, which concentrates the sugars). This is a method more commonly used for Amarone (red) wines, which Masi does quite well with its Costasera Amarone.

The result is a nice, light wine that is enjoyable and easy to drink. I recently brought my review bottle to a dinner of (vegetarian) Indian food — thinking that the pairing would be appropriate — but we finished the wine before we were even seated. It starts fruity with a hint of honey and finishes with a taste of citrus, but it’s still rather dry. I didn’t feel a spike in my blood sugar like I do with some whites, though its drinkability let it sneak up on me. I had to slow my roll at the beginning of my second glass.

Overall, it works quite well with light hors d’oeuvres but would also pair quite nicely with a dinner of pasta, fish, and/or light meats. It also stands on its own. At roughly $15-ish per bottle, it’s certainly worth a try.

If you prefer a red — or your occasion calls for it — Masi produces a sister wine to the Masianco, a red dubbed Campofiorin (actually Masi’s first “Supervenetian”). The Campofiorin is more commonly known (from other vintners) as Ripasso, but the Masi wine is made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes, with a portion of the grapes dried and shriveled for a second fermentation.

My review wine was the Campofiorin 2009, which was a very pleasant and drinkable wine, though best paired with hard cheeses instead of light hors d’oeuvres or on its own. It’s defintely suitable to eat with a hearty Italian cuisine or rich holiday dinners that include roasted or grilled meats. The wine is a deep red with notes of cherry and spices, finishing with a hint of chocolate. It was clear from the taste why the Campofiorin is one of Masi’s most popular wines. Retail price hovers around $18 per bottle, so it’s a perfect holiday dinner party wine.

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