2001 Masi Amarone “Serego Alighieri” Vaio Amoran, (single vineyard Amarone) Veneto, Italy
As soon as I opened this bottling of single-vineyard Amarone, I was inundated with the layers of hedonistic scents on the nose – cherry, powdered cocoa, coffee bean, sweet tobacco, candied anise, molasses, ink, amaretto, lavender, violet, and subtle mineral create a heavenly combination. One could become excited just sitting and breathing it in for several minutes, especially when sharing with a friend, and watching each other’s appreciative reactions escalate into sheer ecstasy. Then, you put it in your mouth, and let your tongue become gently coated with what feels like candied velvet. Luscious layer after layer of round, black fruit and spice – cinnamon cookies, nutmeg, and clove – are followed by a mid-palate of plum jam, raisin, and mocha. The mouth feel is something to fall in love with, for it is smooth, sexy, and feels slightly naughty. Fine powdery tannins integrate all of these lush layers, making the finish surprisingly dryer than you expect, and the Amarone arguably suitable for food.
In the words of the charming Raffaele Boscaini, whose family has owned the Vaio di Masi estate vineyard since the 1800’s “This makes a very good friend for your steak.” By no means does an Amarone need food; in fact many would argue that pairing it to something would risk the true experience of Amarone. This wine is heavy and intense, and offers enough interest to be its own meal; dessert, perhaps. But, as Raffaele pointed out, and I think it’s good to remember, you should eat and drink together what you desire. If it feels right in the moment, then that’s all that matters.
Since the acquisition of the first vineyards of Masi estate in the 1800s, the Boscaini Family continued to purchase vineyard parcels in what can be regarded as some of the best viticultural areas in Veneto. Currently, Raffaele and his sister Alessandra represent the seventh generation of the Boscaini Family to be involved in the Masi wine tradition. In addition to the traditional millennia-old Appassimento system of Valpolicella, the Masi Amarone Vaio is also aged in cherry wood casks. During Appassimento, grapes are harvested and laid on bamboo racks to dry for approximately four months, then crushed as a concentrated juice. At Masi, they are then aged in Slovenian oak for 20-30 months. The addition of the cherry wood aging in the Vaio adds to its depth, complexity and elegant structure. (This is) a special bottle to share with someone you love, in celebration of romance. * Check out the Masi website for the history and winery details MASI