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New blend raises wine from IGT to DOC status

Masi Agricola revealed its redesigned and newly blended Toar in the UK for the first time at the London Wine Fair with Berkmann Wine Cellars.

The new 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 10% Oseleta blend elevates the 2011 vintage to Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC status, replacing the previous Rosso del Veronese IGT 75% Corvina and 25% Oseleta blend.

Originally launched in 1990, Toar was Masi’s first wine to incorporate Oseleta, a little-known indigenous grape that was rediscovered and replanted in Valpolicella by the Masi Technical Group in 1985. The grape had beforehand been struck of the list of Italian grape varieties and declared as extinct.

Sandro Boscaini, head of Masi Agricola commented: “Back in the 1980s I came across a red wine made by a small producer called Ubaldo Lanza in the Pescantina area, and was impressed that it had the same structure as Amarone; a curiosity. Ubaldo told me he made no more than a few hundred bottles from four vines that were at least one hundred years old, and that he had no idea of the name of the vine type involved. I waited until the next vintage and took away some sample grape bunches in a shoe box, and took to the Experimental Institute for Viticulture in Conegliano Veneto for examination. The grapes were duly identified as coming from the ancient Oseleta vine, and the rest is history!”

At the time the use of Oseleta was revolutionary in the Veneto and Verona regions, signalling a move towards the creation of deeper, more complex wines. While the Corvina and Rondinella used in the Toar are vinified together, the Oseleta is vinified separately, lending the wine structure without masking the typicities of the other two grapes. The Oseleta is grown in vineyards with volcanic soils with outcrops of volcanic tufo known locally as “toar”, lending the wine its name.

The new blend has been celebrated with the design of a new, elegant label depicting the Masi Angel already featured on Masi’s flagship Campofiorin, in gold laminate and red serif script.

Sandro Boscaini, head of Masi Agricola, added: “We are proud to have rediscovered this forgotten native variety as Masi is well aware of the historical importance of Oseleta and of other local grapes, such as Forsellina and Dindarella, in giving personality to the wines of the Valpolicella. It a joy to bring it to the UK in our newly blended Toar; the Valpolicella of tomorrow. While the Corvina and Rondinella provide approachable softness, the Oseleta lends an unusual structure and elegance that is the secret of a great Valpolicella Classico Superiore.”

23 May 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor