Described by Decanter Magazine as ‘the leading producer of Amarone’, Masi is probably the most famous name in Valpolicella and a benchmark for quality and prestige in the region. With five different Amarone brands (including the flagship Costasera) produced from a large number of carefully selected vineyards across the area, it’s easy to see why Decanter came to the conclusion they did. Certainly nobody else has done more to boost the region’s caché, catapulting Amarone della Valpolicella (after all a young style of wine) to the same level as older, more established regions Chianti and Barolo, considered the very best of Italian wine.
It also has the prestige of age. The company has existed in some way or another since 1772, when the family Boscaini purchased promising vineland in Vaio dei Masi, a little valley in Valpolicella Classica which gives the winery its name. For the first century and a half they would endure through war, occupation, famine, plague and pestilence, to continue producing the traditional corvina-based dry and sweet wines that characterise the region. However, shortly after the invention of Amarone in the 1930s, Masi would get in on the act and change their fortunes forever, gaining a reputation over the decades as the foremost makers of the style.
The Boscaini are still in charge – the current president of the company, Sandro Boscaini, is known affectionately as ‘Mister Amarone’ for his mastery of the field – and no matter how big they get, expanding into Friuli-Venezia as well as other areas of Veneto, their name will always be synonymous with their spiritual home and its signature style, Amarone della Valpolicella. They can be expensive (most notably their biggest star, the near-cult-level Costasera), but you get what you pay for. Valpolicella without Masi? That’d be no Valpolicella at all.