This winery, operated by the notable Angiolino Maule, is making quite a statement in the Gambellara region of the Veneto. Maule is a personality in the field, without trying to be. People’s opinion of him tend to the extremes - admiration or aversion. Passionate about letting nature take its course, and with a strong belief that the highest quality wines are developed by leaving well enough alone, his wines are quite unique.
Maule practices biodynamic viticulture, and does not treat his soil in any way, chemical or otherwise. He strongly believes that great wines are only produced by healthy, robust hand-picked fruit, achieved through natural processes.
His work in the cellar mirrors that in his fields - no additives are utilized during the vinification process. The wines ferment spontaneously, with only indigenous yeast. There is no temperature control, addition of enzymes or sulfur, no fining or filtration. The resulting wines are the outcome of whatever occurs natural in the fermentation process, and sometimes this is a bit unexpected to those of us only familiar with more chemically controlled products.
I tasted the Masieri Rosso 2009, Maule’s entry level red. Made from his own grapes and some from other vineyards selected by him, it is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Lagrein, the percentage changing from vintage to vintage. It is vinified in open wooden vats for 12-15 days, with 10 more days of skin contact before the first racking. It aged partially in stainless and partially in wood, and bottled early to capture its easy style.
It was a surprise at first - spritzy on the tongue. The 2009 is 100% merlot. Lots of cherry and dark berries, fresh and lively. Dark fruit on the palate, with minerals and salt. Good balanced levels of tannins and acidity. The palate became a bit more pronounced after the spritz dissipated. An interesting, delicious wine - and very different from a California Merlot. The volcanic terroir here in this region provides a mineral component missing in Merlots from CA