When I used to work for my previous employer I used to have more days off of work… so when I now get invited for a lunch I have to choose wisely, as I also need to days for when my baby girl gets sick 🙂 So I don’t just want to take a day off to afterwards regret I took one. A few days ago I choose well joining the lunch with the winemakers of Masi at the Bocconi restaurant that is located in the Amigo hotel (one of if not THE fanciest hotel in Brussels/Belgium – last time I was here, was to hang with my friends from the P!nk band). It was a good decision as Masi is producer of my favorite wines, the Valpolicella wines with as their top wine the “Amarone” (which has same status as a Barolo or Brunello di montalcino). When arriving at the lunch I was even more convinced I made a good choice of joining as when arriving I found out the lunch was themed “Amarone lunch” 🙂 🙂 so basically “Amarone” served throughout the whole meal with exception of the aperitif and 1 white wine. I can say for a fact that I already had worse drinks during lunch 😉
It is also always nice when tasting a wine to have the winemakers in front of you! They can tell you anecdotes or stories about how a wine is made or were it found its origin. This time it was not different. During our lunch we were joined by Raffaele & Giacomo Boscaini members of family that owns Masi. Also at our table, 2 Belgian top sommeliers Gianluca di Taranto(The Jane) and Bram van der Aa (previously Pazzo). So enough knowledge around one table for me to learn many new things.
What I personally like about Amarone or Valpolicella in general, is the notions of cherries in it (this is also why I like drinking Merlot wines because of the red fruit flavors) that give the wine a touch of sweetness and fruitiness. Obviously depending on the producer of the wine the fruitiness, etc… will differ, but it will always be in there 🙂 During this lunch I was fortunate enough to taste 6 Amarone wines from 1988, 1990, 1995 and 3 from 1997 and what surprised me is the freshness of these wines. I mean when you think of a 30 your old wine, you think of the total opposite of fresh and 1 glass would be more than enough…
The 6 Amaroni we tasted:
- 1988 – Masi Costasera Amarone
- 1990 – Masi Costasera Amarone
- 1995 – Masi Costasera Amarone
- 1997 – Vaio Serego Alighieri
- 1997 – Amarone Cantina Privata – Campolongo di trobe
- 1997 Amarone Cantina Privata – Mazzano
All 6 were obviously mind blowing, but everybody unanimously agreed that the 1990 Amarone was the favorite of the day! Elegant, velvety wine at the top of it game very soft and round in the mouth… in Belgium we have a saying for how good this wine was “like and angel peeing on your tongue”!! Like I said earlier, not one of these six wines had a disturbing heavy taste you might expect from wines this age, rather round well balanced wines. Every time I drink a good Amarone (or Valpolicella) I always remember why I like them so much 🙂 I could also keep talking about how good and wonderful they are, but I just don’t know enough words and I do think you get my point… The plans for another trip to Verona are getting more real than ever before (FYI, this last sentence is for my wife 😉 😉 )
I do also want to say a few words about the 1 sparkling and 1 white wine we had as I personally didn’t know Masi had sparkling wine 🙂 . For the sparkling wine Masi opted instaid of buying land and start growing their own grapes to join their forces with an existing winery making sparkling and white wines. In this case it was the small estate of Bossi Fedrigotti that is located in the Trento region. Masi doesn’t have the ambition to start mass production of sparkling or white wines, but this is rather completing their wine range by adding high quality white and sparkling wines… which to my opinion they certainly achieved with Bossi Fedrigotti as I think they share the same vision as Masi “better less but good, than a lot and not as good”. From the sparkling wine aka Conte Federico for example there are only produced around 10.000 bottles… but if you get hold of a bottle do try it! I’m sure my wife would be a fan of this bubbles, easy to drink, no disturbing bubbles and a bit of fruitiness…
The Bossi Fedrigotti white wine was a very special blend that if they’d tell you, you wouldn’t believe it. The Vign’asmara (the wine’s name) is a blend of chardonnay with traminer :-). To say it Masi’s own words: “The pronounced perfumes of the Traminer grape, a typical Trentino variety, are combined in an unusual and innovative way with international Chardonnay flavours. Ageing in French oak casks enhances the elegance and the personality of this wine”… I couldn’t say it better myself.
You might have noticed that I didn’t talk about the food yet, but during this lunch it were the wines that played the main role! The food was nice, nothing too complicated… Just some good food to accompany the wines. As the wines were strong, you the dishes also had to be of a stronger kind. We started with a Risotto with radicchio and Montasio cheese. This dish was followed by a beef roast with polenta and broccoli. We finished with an apple dessert and mint ice cream. Sorry I must rephrase, we actually finished with a ristretto coffee… one person actually would have preferred drinking a cappuccino, but after hearing (at the table among the Italians) it was not done to have a cappuccino after 14h, he (non Italian) didn’t dare to take one 🙂 🙂
I had a wonderful lunch and am looking forward to visit the Masi winery!! I could have saved you a lot of reading by just saying in 1 sentence the wine was great 🙂 but you know by now how enthousiastic me gets 🙂 In case you have more questions about Masi wines or want to purchase them in Belgium, please contact Young Charly
Soon more about the Masi Wine estate (after my winery visit 🙂 :-))