Monday, March 11, 2013

Report from ... Lunch at Cucci in Oakville with Raffaele Boscaini - March 4, 2013

Today's lunch is brought to you by Masi and four of their wines (see above) ... each with a story to tell ... but I'll only relate a few of these stories as some of them have been written by me in other places.

Starting with the story of Masianco ...
crisp, mouthfilling, with nice acidity (*** 1/2+)
Masianco is a dry white wine that combines Pinot Grigio with Verduzzo ... the Verduzzo goes through a little bit of drying (3-4 weeks) which adds aromatics, character and structure to the wine, Raffaele called it the "perfect white brother of Campofiorin" ... but it wasn't always this way.  It took Masi 2 years to come up with the proper blending, drying and grape varieties that were to go into Masianico.  At one point Chardonnay was considered and even went as far as trial batches but as Raffaele said, "by adding even a drop of Chardonnay turns the wine into a Chardonnay" so the grape was abandoned as a blending partner for the Pinot Grigio.  They tried green harvesting, different barrel regimes and different grapes, then finally in 2003 they finally had the magic combo with the drying of the Verduzzo - and the rest, as they say, is history.  Today 11,000 cases of this wine comes into Ontario annually, and 30% of those are snapped up by restaurants, so whether at home or out a nice glass of white it never far away.

Find the review and story by clicking here
The 2008 Costasera also has a story to tell, and I have told it in other places in these very pages - it might just be one of the nicest Costasera's I've had in quite some time and that could be because of the declassification of some single vineyard grapes that find their way into this bottle.  Whatever the reason this might not be a considered a classic Masi 5-star vintage, but it sure is close - I'm not sure you're palate will put up much of a fight.

The Story of Riserva Costasera Amarone Classico ...
powerful yet elegant (****+)
The Riserva Costasera's story is one of length and time: aged 48 months  in 600L barrel, and contains the usual suspects as far as grapes, but adds in about 10% Oseletta (this practice started in 2003), a grape rediscovered by Masi in the 80's and first used in a wine in 1992 ... the aging differs from the regular Costasera by 12 months and the drying times are different also.  While the regular is aged up to 120 days, the Riserva is minimum 120 days.  Oseleta translate into bird ... that's because the grape never seem to ripen fully and so the birds end up eating it.  The Riserva had a nose of plum, cherry, creme de cacao and cinnamon, while the palate had powerful acidity and spice with blackberry, plum and chocolate backing, smoothing out on the back palate.  It's ageable another 10 years or more, and shows very little of the 8 years already under its belt.

The 2004 Campolongo di Torbe (pictured above) was much better than the bottle I had at a Vintages tasting back in November.

One more interesting note ... Masi has been establishing wine-making partnerships around the world of late (most recently in Brazil) - when asked if they had looked at something in Ontario Raffaele said, "we've had talks, but nothing has come of it ... but to my thinking, why not?" 

A big thank you to Raffaele Boscaini for big so open and having some great stories to tell - he's as interesting a dining companion as his father - just with less stories - but those will come with age.

The Lunch part at Cucci ... (one word:  delicious)


1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

Masi is all over the place, it must be driving Gordon nuts....