I recently had a chance to taste two of Masi’s wines side by each… You’ve probably all heard of Masi or at least seen their bottles on the shelves at the LCBO – and I’ll be honest, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had at least one of their wines at one point in their life or another. I tasted the two wines Masi is most known for: Campofiorin and Costasera. If you’re a regular Italian wine drinker you might know these styles of wine under different names: Ripasso (Campofiorin) and Amarone (Costasera)… the names that Masi has given these wines are proprietary and separate them from other makers of the style.
The key to Masi’s Campofiorin is that it is made as a standalone wine and not as some producers like to make them, as a “baby Amarone.” It is also interesting to note that Masi was the only producer making Ripasso form 1964-1989 – so they’ve had time to hone their skills with it and perfect their techniques.
The Masi 2009 Campofiorin ($18.95 – #155051) might be one of the best values in a Ripasso to come along in quite some time. 2009 was a better vintage than 2008 and the wine shows that. The ’09 is still quite young but with vibrant fruit: plum and spice rule the roost, but there’s still quite a bit of punch from the tannins; that all said, it is also very drinkable. Touches of chocolate, black cherry and mocha also make appearances. What really makes this wine special is the sheer elegance it shows in all aspects from nose to palate. It’s also a wine that punches well above its price point, and definitely tastes that way – it is a wine you could easily lie down for a decade or more, and to find that kind of wine for under $20… that’s a bargain and a plus! This might be one of the best Ripasso’s… oops, Campofiorin’s Masi has ever made; even if the vintages doesn’t get the coveted 5 star rating from the producer. (**** ½)
The 2008 Costasera has an interesting story to tell… 2008 was a good vintage but not an exceptional one, compared with the previous vintages, especially its predecessor 2007. Because of that fact, Masi decided not to make its single vineyard Amarones in that year – this means the grapes that would have gone into those single vineyard offerings had to go somewhere (after all, they grew and were picked) so they were declassified and put into the Costasera production.
This has benefited the Costasera wine greatly as it too might be one of the best I have tasted from Masi in quite some time. The Masi 2008 Costasera ($39.95 – #317057) has lovely plum, cherry and chocolate with spice and anise notes… this is one elegant and delicious wine that should, by all rights, fly off the shelf. Age ability is more than double that of the Campofiorin at 20-25 years with ease – but it is also so supple and tasty right now. (**** ½)
Masi has given us two beautiful new wines – one to drink now and one to drink later… the good news is, if you buy a few bottles of each, you can do both.
Masi 2009 Campofiorin – $18.95, #155051 – (Rating: **** ½ = Excellent)
Masi 2008 Costasera – $39.95 – #317057 – (Rating: **** ½ = Excellent)