The Maschio family has rightly been called “a dynasty of distillers”. For over a century, the secrets of grappa-making have been passed on from father to son, from Antonio to Giuseppe to Bonaventura, who set up his own estate in these vine-ribbed hills of eastern Veneto.
Today, Italo Maschio owns and runs what is still a family operation bearing its founder’s name, Bonaventura Maschio – with the same artisanal attention to detail, the same passion for excellence and daring research as when the Maschios began to make grappa history.
In 1985, the Maschios chose to focus on distillates from whole, fermented grapes in lieu of grappa (which is distilled from marc). The challenge consisted in producing superb aquae vitae (by the way: aqua vitae is singular, aquae vitae plural) that combine delicacy and character, power, balance and finesse, while maintaining the grapes’ freshness and aromas. So fundamental is fruit character to the Maschio concept, their distillates are called Prime Uve – “First Grapes”.
The grapes in question are the finest varieties from superb terroirs, whose distinctive flavors are captured and enhanced by state-of-the-art distillation at low temperatures. Qualitywise, the Maschio family – now comprising generation no. 5, the enchanting Anna Maschio, in charge of marketing and p.r. – go even beyond superlative distillation. Paramount importance is given to research, and Maschio’s own R & D team works in close synergy with the renowned Viticultural Institute of Conegliano and the University of Udine.
Quality control starts in the vineyard: finest terrain and exposures, densely planted vines yielding small, highly concentrated crops, green harvest in July, severely selected fruit, hand-picked at the ideal maturation point and soft-pressed, etc. Maschio aqua vitae starts off as a potential fine wine, and becomes a great distillate.
For many years now, Prime Uve has proven hugely successful throughout Italy, vis-à-vis tough competition and highly selective consumer tastes. The fiery yet mellow texture, aromatic complexity and unique balance, cater both to experts and beginners, grappa fans and brandy lovers, admirers of the characterfulVeneto varietals and advocates of the region’s particular style and goût de terroir.