In my work, I am constantly surrounded by people working in the wine industry. Whether it be sales representatives, winemakers or journalists. So it makes sense that some of my closest friends are individuals who work in the wine industry. Sometimes, you will have an instant connection with a person and understand on all levels exactly what they are thinking and the direction they want to take. It doesn’t have to be about wine. It might be about politics, life or sport. You just understand each other.
For me, Honesty and simplicity are two traits I think are pretty hard to go past in life and most of my closest friends have this in spades. I am not a pretender: what you see is what you get. I am like that in life as well as in business. If you can’t be yourself, then what is the point of it all?
The same goes with the wineries we represent from Italy via Mondo Imports in Australia. Whilst we have a fantastic relationship with all the wineries we import (if we don’t, then we don’t import their wines) there are certain people that you feel you have known them since birth. Massimo Benevelli is one such person and every individual that has met him at his winery in Monforte or on his visit to Australia to do vintage this year understands what I am talking about.
Massimo is quiet and shy. When he talks, he talks for a reason. The same goes with the wines he makes. They are a reflection of Massimo and his Langhe Nebbiolo, Bricco Ravera Barbera and Monforte Barolo all share his stamp. They are not tricked up. They are not smothered in oak. They speak of Monforte, they speak of Massimo and importantly they speak of the vintage. They are not trying to be something they are not.
In Australia, Massimo’s wines have had an incredible response. More than I would have ever imagined. These wines have sold themselves and are on the wine lists of some of the best restaurants in Australia. I know for Massimo, if we had sold 2, 200 or 2000 bottles of his wine in Australia, his opinion of us would not have changed. That is the sort of person he is and the people we like to represent.
It is an honour selling his wines in Australia and knowing Massimo on a personal level. He is truly one in a million.
The 2007 Monforte Barolo will be released on the 1st of November, it again is a great reflection of Massimo, Monforte and the year.