The diningroom.ie had a great offer recently for admission to an Italian Wine Masterclass with Masi Wines in the Shelbourne Hotel plus a €10 O’Briens Wines voucher for the baragain price of €15 per person. Absolute steal. Naturally I picked up a couple of tickets.
The room was all set on arrival and jam packed with eager wine lovers. So packed in fact that it was impossibe to stand up and walk behind someones chair without the entire row having to move. They may want to rethink that level of closeness for furture events.
Our host for the evening was the very entertaining and engaging Sandro Boscaini. He is the company president and managing director of Masi Wines and works hands on in the company with his son daughter and two brothers. Sandro is not just a figure head, he actually makes wine. He is passionate about it and that comes across clearly when he talks about the wines his company makes. We had six wines to try that evening. One Rose, two whites and three reds.
We started with the Rosa Dei Masai 2013 made from the Refsosco grape. A light salmon pink colour. According to Sandro the wine is best served at 10 degrees which will no doubt come as a shock to the Irish considering we chill our wines until they taste of nothing but cold. I have to admit I do like my wines cold but having it as per the wine maker’s instructions does actually enhance the flavour and taste. It was a lovely taste of ripened berries. There can be a sense of snobbery about Rose wines among the wine world but Sandro described this one as Armani offering T-shirts for Summer. The same great quality of anything else he would produce but more suitable for Summer. Quite a nice comparison I thought. RRP €19.49
The first of the whites was the Levarie 2011 which was a mix of Garganega and Trebbiano Di Soave grapes. Described as one of the classics. Sandro compared it to an elegant lady with no make up, entirely pure. Again to be served at 8 -10 degrees. Pale straw colour with a hint of green. A burst of citrus fruits and very refreshing. RRP €16.99
The second white was the much more impressive Masianco 2013 made with Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo. Served best at 8 -10 degrees. Light yellow in colour with taste of lemon and peach and some impressions of honey. The Verduzzo grape gives the longer taste where the honey comes from. RRP €19.49 This was my choice of white for the night, typically the more expensive one and considered a ‘Supervenetian’.
The reds were up next, starting with Bonacosta 2012 a mix of Corvina, Rondinella and Oseleta grapes. Cherry red. Sandro described it as simple but not stupid. Cherries are the dominant flavour here. Served best at 18 degrees. Hemingway praised it as “a light dry red wine as friendly as the house of a favourite brother”. I think we we can safely say he liked it. RRP €16.99
Our second red was a Campofiorin 2010. A mix of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Known as the original ‘Supervenetian’ from 1964. Dark ruby read and almost black at the bottom of the glass. Cherry the overriding flavour on this one. Best served at 18 degrees. Masi say it combines simplicity and grace with strength and majesty. RRP €19.99.
Last but by no means least we had the Costasera 2010. Again a very dark ruby red. High alcohol content at 15%. Best served between 18-20 degrees. Made with Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. This one has a storage life of 30-35 years and a RRP of €46. So perhaps one for a special occassion. Fruity with a hint of chocolate. It was a bit too rich for my palate. Masi call it their ‘Gentle Giant’ and consider it part of the aristocracy of the Italian wine world.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening I have to say. The €10 vouchers were put to good use in O’Briens where we bought some Masi wine which was also on sale so it was a double win.