One of the things I’m fond of saying is that “Wine could help to save the world”. I believe this is true on so many levels. It’s the main reason that I’ve been so passionate about getting the series The Dirt On Wine produced.

Not only is the wine world bursting with stories about crazy winemakers and impossible locations, it’s also bursting with stories about winemakers who make a difference in their own communities.

When my family owned Pacific Wine & Spirits we were proud to represent the wines of Masi and were privileged to come to know Sandro Boscaini, the President and Managing Director of the firm.

Sandro is a brilliant man who is deeply committed to promoting not only the wonderful wine produced in the Vaio di Masi in Valpolicella, but in preserving the art and culture of the Veneto as well.

The company is based firmly in the past but also reaches into the future. They successfully combine ancient knowledge of terroir with modern research and technology. They are a firm dedicated to education and promoting all the best of their region.

Each year, for the past thirty-four years, the Masi firm have presented the prestigious “Premio Masi” awards for excellence in a range of achievements from art and music to culinary arts and science. The 2014 winner of the International Masi Prize Grosso D’Oro Veneziano went on to win the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature!

The Boscaini family are nothing if not generous. Years ago Sandro invited me to a tasting at Vinitaly which was hosted by Masi, where participants could taste all the basic varietals of Valpolicella (Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Garganega, Trebbiano di Soave and Oseleta) vinified into separate wines. It was a real eye-opener for me and gave me so much more respect for and understanding of Valpolicella and the varietals therein.

That was not all though. He made certain that I was invited to a nine course Risotto dinner hosted in an ancient rice mill, attended by the likes of Victor and Marcella Hazan (author of The Classic Italian Cookbook). It featured nine different courses, from appetizers to desserts all made of the locally grown rice.

On my last day in Veneto, I got to visit the estate of Serego Alighieri. He is the last living male descendant of the philosopher/poet Dante Alighieri. We tasted some of the wines he makes in cooperation with the Masi firm and we enjoyed a light lunch together. It was a once in a lifetime experience but more than that, it offered me a glimpse into the elegance of Venetian life and culture.

On Thursday last week, the new representative of Masi and their Export Director came into Sherbrooke to taste:

Masi Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2008 – Dense velvet garnet hue. Slightly cold with notes of amber and dark cherry.

Campoluongo di Terbe Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 – Dense velvet ruby hue. Soft perfumed scent of botrytis and subtle cassis. Deep raw silken attack with dense fruit and rich dried fig tones. Bittersweet silk velvet. Round and rich.

Mazzano Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 – Clear dark black cherry hue. Notes of baby powder and black tar, spring tulip and wet gravel. Super astringent, dense attack of lean tannin and bright acidity that gives the impression of higher alcohol than the Campoluongo. Very precise and wonderful.

Recioto della Valpolicella Angelorum 2009 – Clear dark black cherry hue (like the Mazzano). Dried fig, rich cassis, sultanas and Christmas cake. Rich, viscous, delicately sweet attack with notes of bitter almond and a long ribboned finish. It’s very mahogany satin with gentle tooth-aching tannin. Perfect for cold winter evenings in front of the fire with Parmigiano Reggiano and dried figs. ❤

It was so great to be returned to the memories I have of the Masi firm and the many things I learned from Sandro Boscaini and his family. It reminded me again that with true dedication to the land, culture and people of the different wine growing regions around the globe; wine really might just save the world!

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