Veneto-based producer Masi has now released the first wines from its Argentinian enterprise in Mendoza.

The launch follows Masi’s expansion into the New World two years ago. There are two wines, both 1999 vintages and both featuring the classic Valpolicella grape, Corvina, which is grown on the 120ha Masi Tupungato estate high in the Mendoza region.

It was Tupungato’s ability to support the sensitive Corvina variety that persuaded Masi to come to Argentina, Sandro Boscaini, president of Masi, told decanter.com.

‘The area was also chosen for the sort of climatic conditions that favour the use of traditional Venetian techniques,’ he said.

Corbec is a blend of Corvina and Argentinian Malbec and is made in traditional appassimento style – like Amarone. The grapes were dried for three weeks on wooden trays, and the wine aged in French oak before its recent bottling.

For the second wine, called Passo Doble, 8% Merlot was added to the Malbec-Corvina blend. It was made using the ripasso method, the wine undergoing a second fermentation on the Corvina skins.

Boscaini has meanwhile released a new wine from his Venetian estate. Grandarella 1999, made like Amarone from dried grapes, uses an unorthodox blend of Corvina, Refosco and Carmenère

Carmenère is a novely in Italy, though Boscaini insists the grape was planted in Italy 20 years ago as Cabernet Franc. ‘It dries very well thanks to a loose bunch, and adds tannins and austerity to the wine,’ he said.

Written by Wojciech Bonkowski11 June 2002