Masi Agricola is one of Italy’s most iconic wineries. The Boscaini family acquired Masi and its vineyards at the end of the eighteenth century and still owns the winery today. The name comes from “Vaio dei Masi,” the small valley in Valpolicella in the province of Verona, Italy, where it’s still located today.
The Masi name is almost synonymous with amarone (ah-ma-ROH-nay), one of the world’s greatest red wines, since they are one of the most renowned producers of this uniquely crafted style. The process involves picking the ripest red grapes, usually corvine, rondinella, and molinara, spreading them on reed mats to dry in the sun, and then fermenting them to dryness. This “raisination” produces a higher alcohol percentage and the characteristic slightly sweet, nutty taste. The resulting full-bodied, full-flavored wines are rich and velvety, and are one of the longest aging wines, lasting up to 15 to 20 years.
This amarone is very fragrant, with aromas of mocha java, fig, sweet spices, and toasty oak, and layers of flavors including black cherry, black plum, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. Full-bodied and concentrated, with substantial but well integrated, smooth tannins, the wine finishes impressively with tremendous fruit intensity and persistence.
I would open this wine and decant it one to two hours before drinking. Temperature-wise, serve it as you would other fuller-bodied red wines, in a range between 64 and 68 degrees, erring on the lower temperature side, as amarone is relatively high in alcohol (this wine is 15.0 percent ABV), and higher temperatures make alcohol more perceivable.
The 2010 Masi Amarone is best paired with hearty foods, such as a ribeye steak, lamb chops, or veal ossu buco, but can be equally enjoyable on its own as a wine to contemplate after a meal.
Discover this distinctive wine that is available at Total Wine & More stores in Orange County and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa ($50). This amarone would make an impressive gift for any wine aficionado.