The Art of Italian Wine
Though not exactly a sommelier, I like my wine, and I think over a number of years my nose for wine has matured. When offered the chance to go wine tasting at Le Di-Vin, with such an established and interesting winery as Masi, I jumped at it.
The set up of the evening was refreshingly simple; we were given a sheet marked with the order of wines, and Raffaele Boscaini of Masi winery mingled between us budding viticulturalists chatting about his wines. It was incredibly interesting, and we dissevered that Masi is a distinct family run winery from Northern Italy that is most notably famous for their Amarone.
Raffaele’s grandfather resurrected the ancient art of wine making by using the Roman technique, and a number of the Masi wines are produced using this ancient method of drying the grapes. Removing the water from the grape means that there is a higher concentration of glycerine giving the wine a richer flavour and you can certainly tell, specifically in the Amarone which is produced from 100% dried grapes.
Our first Wine was the Levarie (£18.50), a white made from the Soave grape. A lovely light wine which we all agreed was fresh, light and very easy to drink.
Next we had the Masianco (£25), another white but this time a Pinot Grigio. The Masianco was much more golden in colour than the easy drinking Levarie and you could instantly tell a big difference. The Masianco was produced using about 25% dried grapes and this was clear as it was a much sweeter wine. The guide for this wine mentioned the flavours of wild flowers and honey, and this certainly shone through during the tasting.
Our 3rd wine and first red was the Bonacosta (£23.50); a Valpolicella. This wine is a great little red. It was thoroughly enjoyable and easy to drink. The Bonacosta was very dry but with only 40% dried grapes it wasn’t too heavy. This was the winning wine for me, and I could easily have drunk it all night (but with another 4 wines to go I am glad I only had half a glass!) (Thank goodness! Ed.)
The 4th on our list was the Brolo Di Campofiorin (£30). This was a nice strong wine at 14%vol and again had about 40% dried grapes. If you were just wanting a nice glass of red after a hard day at work, this would be the one for you! I wouldn’t have been able to handle more than a glass, as it was very rich, but it was also easy to drink and a typically sophisticated smooth red.
At this stage it seemed the reds were getting deeper and deeper and our table was becoming an Aladdin’s cave of half drunk wine glasses, but we soldiered on to number 5 which was the Tupungato Passe Doble (£30). The Passe Doble was a Malbec so it had gone through the double fermentation process before they had partnered it with the Corvina to make up the Passe Doble. This wine consisted of 25% dried grapes and was a blend of both the Masi Italian grapes and grapes from their vineyard’s in Argentina; 1000m above sea level. The Passe Doble was a great wine, again very strong, but also easily drinkable.
The penultimate wine was Celia’s favourite; the Grandarella Appassimento (£45) and grand it certainly was! This was seriously strong at 14.5% and is made from 100% dried grapes. It would have been perfect with a steak, and it actually left me hungry for one!
Last but not least was the infamous Amarone. We had been warned about this wine all night and at £55 a bottle and 15.5%vol this certainly was ‘the big boy’. Amarone is produced using 100% dried grapes and trying it certainly was an experience. I enjoyed the Amarone and Raffaele kindly talked us through the process. I understood the wine to be most similar to the sorts of wine the Romans drank and although this ancient style of wine was lovely, I don’t think I could handle more than a glass!
Celia and I loved the Masi wine tasting experience, and the friendly venue of Le Di-Vin made the night even better. I shall certainly be looking out for Masi wine in future, and if you want to try some Le Di-Vin is the best place to start!
Le Di-Vin, 9 Randolph Place, Edinburgh 0131 538 1815