(2020) Masi are masters of appassimento, most of this wine fermented as normal, but part of it re-fermented with 25% dried grapes. It spent 18 months in mostly large, Slavonian oak barrels. Made with 70% Corvina along with Rondinella and Molinara it has delicious aromatics, dried cherry and red liquorice. Smooth but concentrated on the palate, a touch of umami meatiness, but finishes on sweet black fruit and that stripe of digestible acidity. Down to £9.74 until 2nd June 2020. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) The blend is 70% Corvina, with 25% Rondinella and Molinara, with no appassimento of the grapes. A light balsamic richness, deep cherry and a touch of creaminess from 20% oak ageing. Plenty of sweetness but smooth tannins too, fresh acidity, and a light but elegant finish.
(2018) Named after the castle of Castelrotto in Valpolicella, this is Corvina, dried for about 30 days, then after a long fermentation in Slavonian oak casks it is aged in small French oak barrels. It has a firm briar and cherry nose, with plum and a touch of dried herbs. On the palate it is firm with a bittersweet endive note, the oak and depth of the dried Corvina adding a balsamic richness and again that spicy, herby edge. Grippy yet fruity, and a serious food wine.
(2018) A really lovely Merlot from Colli Euganei, an appellation of the Veneto, From organic-certified vineyards planted on limestone and sited at 290 metres above sea level, it spends 24 months in French oak barrels and a further six months in bottle before release. Despite the plushness of ripe fruit and creamy oak, the bit of altitude and the soils also give a mineral, graphite and iron steeliness and freshness, the plum and blackcurrant fruit and some tobacco spices on the nose moving through to a full and rich palate, the velvety weight of fruit tensioned by firm tannins and a juicy rasp of acidity just giving a nice roughening grip to the wine into the finish.
(2017) A fragrant, light ruby-coloured and light-bodied red with a distinctly truffle and briar nose, this is one for the Pinot lover, its crisp and crunchy framework of acidity and neat tannins wrapping round bright cherry fruit, a bit of sour plum bite that's typically Italian, in a most refreshing style.
(2016) A classic blend of the three main Valpolicalla grapes, Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, this dark and youthful wine has cherry and blackcurrant aromas, a touch of sweet tobacco-spiced plum too. On the palate this is quite a grippy, vinous wine, the dark vine fruits set against nicely grainy tannins, and the bright acidity that typifies Northern Italian reds present and correct. There's a warmth on the finish too, in a most enjoyable and classy Valpolicella.
(2016) From the northeast of Italy, I'm a fan of Bardolino, in this case made from Corvina, and with only 12.5% alcohol in a typically refreshing and agile northern Italian red style. There's small redcurrant and pomegrante fruit notes, a little twig-like steminess and beneath a sweet curranty layer of fruit. On the palate that dry, ashy quality and fruit continues, very nicely fresh with its crisp acids and tight tannins, and whilst a little sweeter and denser than the Baga reviewed below, again not a million miles from the Beaujolais Crus in style. Price for members: £9.00.
(2015) A Ripasso, fermented on the dry skins of Amarone, this is a classic Valpolicella blend of Corvina and Rondinella aged in barrel and wonderfully deep and autumnal in character. The nose has hints of mint and tobacco, a plush blueberry darkness of fruit, and definite hints of violet and kirsch-like lift. In the mouth it makes its presence felt with 14% alcohol, but that super-sweetness of fruit floods across the tongue, the bittersweet cherry and plum-skin grip is savoury, and the tight tannins are spicy and slick. It's a hell of a lot of wine for the money once again. £8.95, The Wine Society.
(2014) 100% Merlot, this spends a year in new French oak and another in bottle. >From terra rossa soils, rich in iron. Yields are low with a green harvest and careful fruit selection. Serious tobacco and cedar nose, with plenty of depth and a bittersweet black fruit character. The palate is fleshy and ripe, filling in any the holes of the with fruit extract, ripeness and that oak. Long, savoury and nicely balanced, with soft but refined tannins and acidity.
(2013) A typical blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, this is immediately racy and sheer, with blue/black and kirsch-like fruit, a touch of chocolate and spice, but also a floral-edged lift. Very appealing. On the palate a flood of chocolate-coated, ripe black berry fruit, such presence with only medium body, but tight, focused and riven with energy.