It’s always interesting – and often fun – to re-taste wines you enjoyed often, a while back, but had somewhat set aside and forgotten.
That’s what happened to me when a good friend of mine brought me a bottle of Masi Campofiorin, a unique wine from the Veneto, in Northern Italy. When I first started drinking wine seriously, in the early 90s, the Campofiorin had been a true discovery: a wine that tasted different from everything else I’d had before, with a richness and depth that felt remarkable, especially at such a reasonable price.
The wine’s unique profile comes from the unique way in which it’s made, a mix between a “regular”, dry wine and an amarone, the wines made from grapes that are partly dried on straw mats after being picked. The Campofiorin is first made from freshly harvested grapes, and then refermented with an addition of grapes dried using the appassimento method (see this great article on the Buzz blog, from Bastianich winery).
The mixed method for this “poor man’s amarone”, as some people call it, provide the wine with an interestingly complex set of flavors and aromas, at once fresh and concentrated. The 2005, when I tasted it last week, provided red cherries and red berry jam, spice and tobacco, with good intensity and balance. Accents like tawny port or amarone mixed with elements closer to a barbera or a regular valpolicella. I’d serve it with veal chops, pasta with a meat ragu or a roast chicken.
Beautiful now, the wine should likely age well for several years, providing a good occasion for cellaring several bottles and watching them evolve, without spending a fortune.