Smooth as you like, with richness, power and weight to match; this is a totally delicious and heady encounter with a wine process that dates back to the Greek settlers in Italy 1200 years ago. A sumptuous and fulfilling wine that, quite literally, hasn't gone out of fashion for hundreds and hundreds of years.
A textbook Amarone, the Costasera is a wine overflowing with pretty much everything you can think of that makes a really great red wine. It is structured, alcoholic, tannic, full-bodied, smooth, rich, dark, complex, dense, powerful, intense, concentrated and has an incredibly long finish.
Black fruits, cherries, plums, Christmas cake spices and notes of cedar, cocoa and blueberry coulis, this is a wine for special occasions, whenever they may be. It certainly assists in welcoming the impending festive season at the end of each year.
The Masi story itself is steeped in history beginning all the way back in 1772, when the Boscaini family carried out their first harvest in the prestigious vineyards in "Vajo dei Masi", a valley in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica region. After more than 200 years of dedicated and seriously high-quality winemaking, the company is still in family hands, run by the sixth and seventh generations.
Made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara the ultra classic Valpolicella grape varieties, this is an execution that the Boscaini family are rightly proud to stand over, a sentiment echoed by industry leading wine critics all over the world: this wine really is the flagship wine not only for Masi but for the Amarone and Valpolicella region at large.
This vintage got 93 Points from James Suckling. Very, very good.
One of the great Allotment tasting experiences was attending a masterclass with a group of customers and Sandro Boscaini, the head of the family and the head of Masi. He was extremely passionate about totally nerdy facts, processes and the diligence with which he goes about his work. We were rapt. But the customers grew thirsty so he got into the wines...
Amarone is a wine style that is made by harvesting fully ripened grapes and leaving them to dry in (traditionally bamboo) wooden crates, called Fruttaio, for up to five months over the winter after harvest.
The racks are placed for the duration in the lofts of barns in the region (that's the old-fashioned way at least - these days it's in specially controlled winery centres).
After this period, the semi-dried grapes are vinified and the knock-on effect of this drying is simply mind-blowing.
The alcohol, colour, flavour, structure and acid potential in the wine all increase in proportion because of the removal of water from the grapes (grapes are about 85% water content); and, because these other components increase together, they retain balance in the resultant wine.
Now, balance is a loose enough concept, because the wines that come out of this process are immensely full-bodied and rich: but they are absolutely delicious.
On a personal note, this exact wine (but many vintages before), was the bottle that cemented my course in the wine trade: a bottle was recommended by my then boss and I brought it for a dinner party in our flat with friends. "Oh" said one guest, "that's the wine that's supposed to be like Christmas cake", and when I opened it, the fulfilment of promise and experience was such a joy that I decided that I'd found my happy place. It was exactly the liquefied Christmas cake experience I wanted and I didn't give two hoots about the alcohol level: it was simply nectar and no matter how many times I see this one on special offer in a Supermarket or other shop, I still experience the nostalgic warmth of that December in 2004. That's some way back...
Style: Structured, Smooth, Silky, Rich, Powerful, Intense, Iconic, Full, Dark, Creamy, Complex, Broad, Balanced
Best food matches: Venison, St Stephen's Day, Red Meats, Grills, Game, Christmas Dinner, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Casseroles