Category - Winery News

Massimago Joins the Empson Portfolio

23 February 2024 Winery News

Empson continues to expand its portfolio, but this time with exciting wines from the Veneto, including Valpolicella, Ripasso, and Amarone wines.

Massimago, first founded in 1883, has been growing grapes in Mezzane di Sotto for over a century. But today, it sees fourth-generation Camilla Rossi-Chauvenet (shown above) at the helm, who began commercializing estate-grown and bottled wines in 2003, gracefully combining invention and tradition to make classic Valpolicella wines with a modern twist that truly reflect her personality and unique vision.

Her goal is to craft rich and complex wines that fully represent the one-of-a-kind characteristics of the area. At the same time, her wines have a contemporary style — brilliant with excellent structure, perfume, spice, and loads of acidity. They’re less concentrated and extracted making them versatile, easy to drink, and easy to pair. 

The name Massimago comes from the hill where the estate is located, whose ancient name was Maximum Agium, meaning maximum wellness, speaking to the sheer beauty of the area.

The Vineyards

The fully organic vineyards (since 2014) are located on an exclusive hillside in Mezzane di Sotto, just thirty kilometers outside Verona. They cover about 40 acres (16 hectares) of land, creating a monopole of different parcels that are later blended according to the characteristics of each parcel.

The vineyards are totally surrounded by olive groves, forests, and at least two waterways, which contribute to the biodiversity of the vineyards, and thus their health.

Only native grapes including Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella are grown and the vines range from 25-50 years old. Altitudes can vary from 328-1,312 feet (100-400 meters) above sea level, and see red clay rich in organic substances and colloids, white or pink crumbly limestone, which contributes to freshness and minerality, crumbly and porous marl, which, mixed with fragments of limestone and quartz, allows for excellent drainage in the soils. 

The “Fruttaio” or Drying Cellar

Built in 2014, the Japanese-inspired building was built in the center of the vineyards at about 820 feet (250 meters) above sea level “to preserve the unique characteristics of each parcel and valorize the fruit”, especially allowing for excellent ventilation. The grapes dry slowly for up to four months, instead of the two required by law. The windows of the fruittaio can be opened on all sides to allow the process to progress naturally. The results are extremely gentle wines.

Aging Program

Massimago ages in large oak barrels, which are used for five years. They age longer in bottle than required.

The goal is to create clean wines that aren’t oak-heavy and are ready to be enjoyed earlier, maintaining freshness and an ability to age.

Label Artwork designed by Franco Chiani

The Ritratti line (Portraits in Italian) is a fun range of rich, fruity, and complex wines that are full of personality, visually expressed by the interesting faces drawn on the unconventional labels. They aim to highlight the diversity of wine lovers and focus on the consumer’s experience, rather than the vintner’s story.

The Ritratti line is a premium yet approachable line that emphasizes drinkability and highlights the local terroir without compromising tradition and regulations.

Click here for the Massimago profile and link to wines.