So, the other night I was able to do the side-by-side tasting with the 2009 I Masieri and 2009 Sassaia white wines from La Biancara di Angiolino Maule. Unlike the previous time I tried this little experiment, both bottles were sound and doing well. My wine geekiness shall not be denied! The main reason I wanted to taste these wines side-by-side was out of pure curiosity. No grading. No seeing which one was better; more important. Nope, just wanted to see how these two wines from the same producer in the same year differed from each other.
Between the two, the main differences are that the Sassaia is made with 80% Garganega (check out this post from DoBianchi if you’re wondering how to pronounce this) and 20% Trebbiano grapes that have been fermented in wood as well as stainless steel and has had between a day or two of contact with the macerated skins of the grapes. Whereas the I Masieri bottling is all Garganega fermented completely in stainless steel with no skin contact. Speaking of Mr. DoBianchi, he wrote up an excellent post on the Maule winery and family and I highly recommend reading it along with the Maule website linked above to learn more about their wines, their history and wine making philosophy.
As you can see above, the colors are pretty similar between the two. But, the Sassaia on the right is just a touch darker; a deeper golden color. It also pours a touch thicker and slightly viscous compared to the I Masieri. Both were a touch hazy. Essentially, most of the differences between the two wines follow the same path. The I Masieri is a lighter, easier more direct wine that is best matched for some simple seafood on a warm summer day. Bright with a citrusy twang and ample acidity, it’s easily thrown back with only 11.5% alcohol. By comparison, the Sassaia is deeper, heavier and thought provoking. It requires a bit more contemplation. Because of the prolonged skin contact, it behaves more in line with orange wines. While not having the maceration time of say a Gravner or Radikon, you feel the additional depth; not to mention the (slightly higher) 12.5% alc level. The nose is full of almonds and stone fruit pits and heavier citrus scents. Medium/full bodied, with lively acidity, the extra weight on the palate helps the wine go with heavier foods and cheeses. It went well with both roast turkey and a slightly stinky, washed rind cheese.
So what did I determine after drinking these two lovely bottles of wine? That I need to go buy replacements.
After re-reading the DoBianchi post on Maule, I noticed he mentioned that Francesco Maule was listening to and enjoyed heavy metal. What is it with these young Italian vignerons and metal? Luca Roagna is into it as well, even doing a wine with the singer from the Norwegian band Satyricon (which reminds me that I have to post the ‘mix cd’ I made for Luca of new US Black Metal bands). Anyway, I was wondering if Francesco was familiar with this amazing band (truthfully not metal, but tough as hell) from Trieste, Italy called The Secret. They put out one of my favorite albums last year, Solve et Coagula. Not for the feint of heart, just so you know.