Visiting our friends, Franco and Francesca Masiero, at their winery in the hills north of Vicenza, is always a pleasure. We thought we were heading out there to relax and drink their fantastic, bio dynamic Merlot, but instead we were offered much, much more! We arrived in the afternoon for our overnight stay. The Masiero’s then introduced us to wine distributor, Gianni Battistella. Gianni deals mainly with Champagne and other French wines and offered us all a glass of Krug – one of the best Champagnes around. Krug is unlike other sparklers because it has a creaminess all its own. It has a nice golden color and never ending quantity of bubbles. All too fast we finished it up and tried the next Champagne, Vouette & Sorbee, Blanc d’Argile. It opened with a wonderful aroma of fresh almonds and lycee fruit, with hints of candied orange. The style was an extra brut, meaning that the sugar content was very low, (3-6 grams). This made it taste much drier than a typical sparkling wine which is a brut (6-12 gr) or an extra dry (12-17 gr). Personally, I prefer the dryness, leaving my mouth clean. The wine was also quite acidic for a 2008, and in a few years, I think it will round out a nicely. Mr. Battistella explained that this wine is not only bio dynamic, but one of the most sought after wines in the world, ranked as one of the best in Japan. We moved from the bubbles and onto a dry, white wine from Bordeaux. The Chateau Carbonnieux, Pessac- Leognan is the only Grand Cru Classe from Graves. The bouquet is light and hot, with 13% alcohol. White peach, chamomile, light vanilla and touches of mint or balsamic were present. I can even say there was a yellow cake smell mixed with wild grass. It was dry and full bodied, warm and pleasant. Traces of white pepper spiced it up. The vanilla smells found earlier proved that a slight passage in wood barrels was made. Personally, I thought this 2005 wine was at its height, but Gianni said it can last for years. Last but not least, we poured a bottle of Masiero’s Merlot called Verdugo. This red is a wine I have often spoken about and one of my favorites. Made from a hectare of vines and following the bio dynamic method, it had great fruit and acidity which lingered in the mouth. With such a small amount of this wine made, I am happy they live fairly close by, so I can stock up whenever I want!
It was time for dinner, so we hopped in the car and drove to the most unexpected place- an English pub! This restaurant, however, is like nothing I have ever seen. The owners of the Wild Turkey Pub shipped pieces of an old pub from London and put it all back together in the large warehouse near Vicenza. Scouting out antique shops, they found little objects typical to England and placed them around the bar. A back room used for smoking cigars and drinking rum and cognac added to the ambiance and lead to the last amazing find, the cellar room. Wines from all over the world were inserted into shelves on the wall and the best were put behind glass. There were no fish n’ chips on this menu, but instead a rich choice of bruschetta with choices of salami, smoked fish, French cheeses and exotic spices. Plus, they had my favorite prosciutto, Pata Negra, the best Spanish ham. We stuffed ourselves to the max, but it was all worth it. A day filled with tastes that most hope to try is something I can not take for granted. Once again, I say thank you to my friends, the family Masiero, for taking us along for the ride.