Malcolm Jolley finds an unusual pink wine in the LCBO’s Vintages.
Because it’s such a dominant brand in our market, Masi Agricola and its wines from Valpolicella and elsewhere in the Veneto region of Northeast Italy are sometimes taken for granted in (some) wine writing circles. That’s too bad, because as ubiquitous as Masi wines may be, they reflect an ongoing interplay between tradition and innovation. It was the Boscaini family, that owns Masi, that developed the ripasso method of adding air dried grapes to fresh wines for a double fermentation: the first vintage of the Masi Campofiorin IGT was 1964, released 50 years ago in 1967. Now, along with the pricier Amarone wines, made with only dried ‘appassimento’ grapes, Ripasso wines are the dominant red wine style in Valpolicella.
The innovation continues with a rosé from Masi now avalailabe in the LCBO’s Vintages program for $15.95. The Masi Rosa dei Masi 2016 is the colour of bubblegum, is full of red fruit flavours from strawberry to sour cherry, with a pronounced twang of acidity and just a touch of tannin to give it a bit of structure. It’s a refreshing aperitif, but it’s also serious enough to take you through a late summer meal.
Apart from being delicious, what’s interesting about the Rosa dei Masi for wine nerds is that it is made with a somewhat exotic grape, Refosco, whose native lands stretch from the North East corner of the Veneto region of Italy into Slovenia and Croatia; lands once under the dominion of the Republic of Venice. What’s even more interesting is that the Rosa dei Masi is made in the ripasso method. Technically, and on the palate the wine is dry, with a modest level of four grams of residual sugar per litre. It’s also modest in alcoholic strength, weighing in at 12.5% alcohol by volume. In this way it’s a bit of a feat of vinicultural engineering. Something to ponder while it’s being sipped.
A check of the LCBO’s website shows that stocks are rapidly depleting, click here to see where the closest bottle is to you.