“Chi non beve in compagnia o è un ladro o è una spia.”
(“People who do not drink with others are either thieves, or spies.”)
Masi Masianco is a white wine produced in the Veneto region of Italy by Masi Agricola, or the Masi Farm. It is really a blend of Pinot Grigio, cultivated in Friuli, and Verduzzo, which is a grape more native to the region. AAH, but this wine is different. The process by which this wine is produced is centuries old and very time consuming. But the end result is worth the wait.
After the harvest, the Verduzzo grapes go through a three week drying process. This is a process of natural dehydration producing wines which are richer in both color and flavor. Now, this process also will generally produce a sweeter wine as the dried fruit now contains a higher concentration of sugar. However, in the Veneto, where this process dates back to the days of ancient Rome and the empire, it is also used for dry wines, leaving them full-bodied and a little higher in alcohol. The Verduzzo grapes used must be perfectly healthy to sustain the drying process. They are laid out on bamboo racks in special drying rooms for at least 100 days, losing 30-40 per cent of their weight.
The origin of this winery dates back to 1772 and has been in the family’s hands since. It was then that the Boscaini family acquired several properties in the area known as “Vaio dei Masi” from which it gets its name. In an emotional bow to history one of the wineries was owned by descendants of the Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri and the Boscaini family now manages the chateau where Dante’s family has lived since 1353.
This is a very fresh white wine, ready now for drinking. Its color is clear to a golden hue which can enhance the appearance of your table either in the bottle or in a decanter. I did allow this wine to sit for about twenty minutes before pouring, and then for maybe an extra minute before tasting. The aroma is of fresh citrus fruits but with a very slight hint of honey. Again, this is not at all a sweet wine with a taste of citrus, apricot and an added peach so it is tart and very refreshing. I found this wine perfect for us recently. See, we live in coastal North Carolina where heat and humidity combine for a lot of sweltering days. So this wine, just from the look of it, says light and easy drinking and is perfect for those days where the temperature and the humidity are equal. It is light on the palate with a delicate, velvet feel that leaves a very pleasant taste and a desire for more. It is the type of wine that allows you to pace yourself, to relax and enjoy and spend an afternoon sipping. In addition to this, it pairs well with light, delicate fish, like a flounder, trout or perch, as well as a light chicken dish, seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon.
Rewards for this wine are many, ranging from James Suckling’s rating of 90 points to Wine Decanter’s Bronze in 2017. Personally, I have found this to be a favorite of mine simply because the flavor seems more versatile than some others. By that I mean, the velvety texture sits in the mouth better during dinner than some other Pinot Grigios, and when served as an aperitif, it has a surprising, welcoming character almost like a strong first act to a play you’ve been wanting to see. Bold, deceptively so, dry and slightly acidic, this will become a favorite.
Just as an extra aside, Note the designation on the bottle just below the name:
“Nectar Angelorum hominibus.”
Loosely translated from the original Latin, this means, “Nectar of angels and men.”
This is not a designation to be taken lightly.