An Italian Red That’s Just Right For Summer

Juicy, reliable and widely available, MARY DOWEY selects an ITALIAN RED as her bottle of the week …

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Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico 2015

The Italian wine scene has always seemed to me rather like the fashion world with a mass of shooting stars appearing and disappearing against a backdrop of unfaltering, familiar names. Masi is one of these dependables. A big Veneto family company led with flair for decades by Sandro Boscaini, one of Italy’s most compelling wine communicators, Masi is well known for its Amarones. It has also been hugely successful with Campofiorin, the first wine in Ireland to make us fall in love with the rich, ripasso style.

While these heavy hitters make for comforting winter drinking, it’s worth remembering that the Veneto is also famous for Valpolicella – exactly the kind of juicy red that suits light summer food. Made from the region’s classic red grapes, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, with just four months in large Slavonian oak casks, the Masi version has deliciously pure red cherry flavours with lipsmacking freshness and a gentle squeeze of tannin.

This is a wine to enjoy while it’s still young and lively. Tuck a few bottles away so that you have them on hand over the next month or two for simple dishes like pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil; a platter of cold meats; grilled chicken, sausages or indeed pretty much anything else from the barbecue. I also love this with a simple chicken or mushroom risotto. Its lively tang lifts and enlivens the creamy richness of the dish. No accident: the two are natural partners since the Veneto is the homeland of risotto rice as well as of Valpolicella.

Alcohol: 12%

From O’Briens outlets and online; Molloys outlets; Next Door nationwide; Shiels, Malahide; Savages, Swords; La Touche, Greystones; O’Driscolls, Ballinlough, Co Cork; Amber of Fermoy, Co Cork, usually €16.95.

@MaryDowey

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