Whilst it has been great to be away, it has also been hard to not be onsite watching the final pieces of our new wine store being built. I have been getting virtual updates most days which has been great and when I return at the end of the week, I assume we will almost be ready to close our old site and trade out of our new space.
When you consider that the retail side of our business, Boccaccio Cellars has been running for 51 years and since 1984, it has operated out of the space we will soon leave, then it shows what a big change and step forward for this business to be able to present some of the greatest ITalian wines in the world, in a space that does these wines justice.
For those that live near Boccaccio, we will kick off our regular tasting/masterclasses on Sunday the 9th of November from 11-1pm looking at some of the best producers from Mount Etna. Note all tastings on Sunday are free and open to the public.
The full schedule of Sunday tastings for November are as follows:
NOVEMBER FREE TASTING SCHEDULE – EVERY SUNDAY FROM 11AM-1PM AT THE NEW BOCCACCIO CELLARS 1046-1050 BURKE ROAD, BALWYN, VICTORIA 3103 (40 METRES DOWN THE ROAD FROM OUR EXISTING STORE)
SUNDAY 9TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: THE MYSTERY AND BEAUTY OF MOUNT ETNA, ITALY
A DETAILED LOOK AT THE BEST PRODUCERS FROM THIS REGION. FEATURING PASSOPISCIARO, BENANTI, PIETRADOLCE & GIROLAMO RUSSO
SUNDAY 16TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: NEW RELEASE MOUNT MARY WINES WITH MOUNT MARY WINEMAKER SAM MIDDLETON.
2012 WAS A VINTAGE THAT SAW THE STARS ALIGN AT MOUNT MARY, THE MOST ICONIC WINERY IN THE YARRA VALLEY. ENJOY CHATTING TO SAM AND WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THIS SET OF GREAT RELEASES.
SUNDAY 23RD OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: 2014 VINTAGE RIESLINGS – A LOOK AT THE BEST.
WE HAVE HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT 2014 RIESLING. LET’S LINE THEM UP AND SEE WHAT THE VINTAGE HAS TO OFFER
SUNDAY 30TH OF NOVEMBER 11AM-1PM: YARRA VALLEY YOUNG GUNS – FEATURING THE NEW RELEASES FROM TIMO MAYER, THE WANDERER, GEMBROOK HILL AND HODDLES CREEK ESTATE.
TIMO MAYER, ANDREW MARKS AND FRANCO D’ANNA REPRESENT A SNAPSHOT INTO THE ‘FUTURE’ OF THE YARRA VALLEY. COME AND MEET THE MAKERS AND TRY THEIR LATEST SET OF WINES INCLUDING THE 2013 HODDLES CREEK ESTATE 1ER PINOT NOIR, CHARDONNAY AND PINTO BLANC WHICH ARE RELEASED 1ST OF DECEMBER.
Welcome to Australia Gianfranco Soldera!! From December, Soldera will be available in Australia via my family’s company Mondo Imports. It has been a five year mission to have these great wines available to those in Australia and was the main reason for this trip to Montalcino.
It is weird to think that at 10pm last night we had only just spent 24 hours in Italy.
After arriving late into Rome we left early to drive to Montalcino. It doesn’t matter how many times you come to Montalcino, it is still alway so breathtaking. Each curve in the road presents another fantastic view of the valley below.
We arrived in Montalcino at lunchtime and after a quick plate of pasta we headed to Pieve Santa Restituta, the Gaja’s family winery in Montalcino. This historic estate has been transformed into a modern masterpiece with a barrel room and winery that blends in with the environment.
After a tour we sat down and tried all the 2010 Brunello plus a sneak preview of the 2013. Whilst the 2013 was still quite young, the 2010 across the board presented well and there will be three Brunello from this estate worth buying in 2010. Just a word of advice, like 2010 Barolo: buy as much 2010 Brunello as you can afford. What a magical year.
After finishing at Gaja, we then headed to our favorite estate in Montalcino, Il Palazzone. I have written so much on Laura and Marco from Il Palazzone that it is a given for those that read this blog, know how much I love them and their wines.
A visit to their estate is always a great way to preview upcoming releases and I already know the vintages I am going to buy going forward. One wine that I have gone large on is their 2010 Brunello which will be shipped around March/April next year. I have bought bottles, magnums and doubles magnums of this majestic wine.
For me it is easily the best wine Il Palazzone has made and one of the best Brunello I have tried in a long time. My advice is that as soon as you see this in Oz next year, buy as demand will far outlay supply.
One more (big) appointment today in Montalcino before heading to Florence this afternoon.
Well after the usual 30 hours of flying we arrived at our hotel in Roma at 10pm. By 10.30pm we were sitting at my favorite restaurant, Armando al Pantheon enjoying half a bottle of Vino Nobile and a plate of Spaghetti All’Amatriciana. The perfect way to end a long day traveling to Italy.
As always it is great to see the Pantheon.
Tomorrow we are off early, firstly to visit Angelo Gaja’s Montalcino winery , Pieve Santa Restituta and then to Il Palazzone for a tasting of the upcoming vintages and dinner.
Well we are almost there. Mid next week we will be handed the keys to our new wine store about 50 metres down the road from our existing store. This is where we originally started in Balwyn thirty one years ago. We should commence trading on the following Monday (the 20th of October).
From the 9th of November, our weekly Sunday tasting will kick off from 11-1pm looking at specific regions, wine styles or wineries. Our first tasting is a Mount Etna tasting, looking at the best producers from Etna (think Benati, Passopisciaro, Pietradolce and Girolamo Russo) and it will be educational and fascintatng to loo at these producers in depth. All Sunday tastings will be free and open to the public.
Whilst our new store opens, I will leave for a quick trip to Montalcino and Paris. I am heading to Montalcino to talk to a new producer for Mondo and it is the first time we will break our ‘two producers from one region’ rule but this producer, considered one of the best and rarest in the world is too good to knock back.
Finally five days in Paris to attend SIAL, one of the biggest food fairs and it will start the process of importing french cheeses and other food goods for our new supermarket which will be built after the wine store is complete.
Hmm, busy few weeks ahead!!
As per usual I will be posting on the road from Italy and France and keep everyone updated.
The Produttori del Barbaresco has a long and distinguished history and great wines have always been made here. Prior to 1894, Nebbiolo grapes were sold to make Barolo wine or simply labelled ‘Nebbiolo di Barbaresco’. But in 1894, Domizio Cavazza, headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba and a Barbaresco resident, created the first cooperative, the ‘Cantine Sociali’, by gathering nine Barbaresco vineyard owners to make wine in the local castle that he owned. Cavazza understood that Nebbiolo from Barbaresco differed from Barolo and, for the first time, recognized it on the wine label.
The ‘Cantine Sociali’ was forced to close in the 1920’s because of fascist economic rules. In 1958, the priest of the village of Barbaresco, recognizing that the only way the small properties could survive was by joining their efforts, gathered together nineteen small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. The first three vintages were made in the church basement, and then in the winery built across the square from where the Produttori is still located. United once again, the small growers continued the work started by Domizio Cavazza, producing only Barbaresco wine and enhancing both the reputation of the wine and the village.
The Produttori del Barbaresco now has 56 members and 100 hectares (250 acres) of Nebbiolo vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation, which amounts to almost a sixth of the vineyards of the area.
Last week, myself and twelve other Italian wine lovers got together at Sosta Cucina for a memorable meal looking at four decades of Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco (we were looking at just the standard, not the cru’s) going back to 1968. The wines showed unbelievably well, better than one could ever expert and matched with some fine Italian food from Maurice at Sosta Cucina, it was definitely a night to remember.
If I took only one thing out of this dinner (and this is the reason why I do them), it is the Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco needs decades not years to enter their optimum drinking windows. Apart from a couple of vintages, the wines showed to be able to handle ten to twenty years in canter.
Even though I represent some of the best Italian wineries in Australia (note I do not represent PdB), great bottles of PdB always puts a big smile on my face and the aim of this dinner was to show that people that ignore the standard bottles are missing a big part of what makes Barbaresco so great. Sometimes the sum of all parts are better then individual components. People should be not just be buying the cru’s but also buying the standard PdB and this is a wine that I would buy in bulk every year. Whilst 6 bottles is enough of one wine for my cellar. It is the standard PdB that is one of the few wines that I buy in 12 bottle lots.
Below are my brief notes on the wine. With old bottles, it really comes down to the condition of the cork which has the biggest influence. For example, I have had the ’79 twice in the last two months. This bottle did not show well but the previous bottle was sublime. However, a good cork and a good bottle makes a match made in heaven.
WINES ON THE NIGHT:
1968: still fragrant and tannic. Still looks and tastes quite youthful.
1971: very minerally and intense. Some thought there was brett in this wine. I didn’t think so. Looks very good.
1979: not a good bottle, lot’s of iodine and slightly oxidised.
1982: fantastic, youthful, still quite primary. Unforced and pure.
1985: – MAGNUM: wow!!! wow!!! Length and tannins. Pristine fruit. So long and fresh. Almost the perfect bottle of aged Barbaresco.
1986: really good, not as good as 82 and 85 but still very impressive. In it’s prime at the moment.
1989: high VA. Disolved tannins and fruit.
1991: not as advanced in development as 89 but will head long the same lines.
1992: amazing, one of the best PdB Barbaresco I have ever had. Pure perfection and like the 85 this is as good as it get’s for aged Barbaresco.
1993: not a great bottle. Showing it’s age.
1994: quite shy and unvolved. Needs time but is going to be a ripper.
1995: fantastic wine. Beautiful and still with seemingly decades in front of it
1998: powerful and primary. Still youthful. Just shows PdB needs not years but decades to be at their prime.
2004: Another great bottle. Again still primary but classic Nebbiolo with lot’s of roses and tar and fantastic tannins and acidity.
2006: Bloody good. Decades in front of it. Like the 2004 this is a wine that will live for another 20-30 years. Not no cur’s were made in 2006 and all the single cru’s were blended back into the standard.
2008: A very good Barbaresco year and a very good wine. A long life in front of it.
2010: buy, buy, buy!!! I would be loading up on 2010. Like 2006, all the single cru’s were blended back in. This is already good, but will head towards greatness over the next three decades.