A quiet night to salute the end of 2011

Last night I had a very quiet night with some family before heading home for a glass of Barbera d’Alba and a cigar.

With everyone in bed, I stayed up with a dear friend, sat on a familiar bench and told old stories. Some may not have even been true 🙂

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I hope you all had a great New Years Eve!!

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ciao ciao 2011 e benvenuto 2012….

I can’t believe 2011 is nearly gone. Where has the year gone?

For me personally and in business 2011 has been a really rewarding year.

My youngest daughter turned one yesterday: how did that happen? She is nearly walking and her personality is really starting to shine through. She already has a strong personality and temper… it must be her Southern Italian heritage already rearing it’s head.

My eldest daughter relaxing on our family holiday in October.

My eldest daughter is growing up. Last year of kindergarten next year and then school. She loves wine and beer and the Carlton Football Club. Hence, she is already the perfect child.

Business has been good and we have added some fantastic new wineries to our portfolio (Traversa, Paolo Saracco and Bruno Porro) and sadly ended a collaboration with one of the wineries we import (they have changed from family ownership to a large corporation and it shows).

Next year we will add two, possibily three wineries to our portfolio. We have already  added Le Moire http://www.lemoire.it/behinde.html from Calabria with the first order placed and stocks due in March. For me personally, this is greatly satisfying. My family have lived for generations and generations in Calabria. My parents came to Australia as young children but we will still always be tied to Calabria. We still have land there and I still feel a sense of belonging to the region.

Le Moire is exactly what I have been looking for. High density planting, the use of indigenous varieties, no short cuts and business done with a trust and a handshake.

Hopefully by the end of next year we will add Aglianico from Campania to sit beside Aglianico from Basilicata. This should be confirmed at Vinitaly but it is all looking very good. Again same philosophy as Le Moire.

And finally I can’t wait to get back to Italy in March. The trip will be just short of three weeks with equal time spent in the Langhe, Toscana and Verona. All three parts of Italy I love, especially Verona. I love the  town, the people, the atmosphere and the food.

Myself (on the left) and brother Stefano enjoying vino rosso in Verona after Vinitaly.

In June, I will head back to Italy for our #realitalianbeer project. It is amazing to think a year ago, many people in Australia did not know that Nastro Azzurro was brewed in Australia (with so many other beers). This has now changed with so much press on the subject, finally people are realizing that buying beer ‘brewed under licence’ is not the same as beer ‘brewed in it’s country of origin’.

Max Allen in The Australian 'The Real Thing?'

In 2012 we will continue the fight against ‘brewed under licence’ beers.

Finally I wish you a safe New Year. I hope you eat and drink well and enjoy the night with family and friends.

Felice Anno Nuovo!!!

Moscato d’Asti: A wine to salute Christmas….

For me Moscato d’Asti and Christmas share a common link.

What does Moscato d’Asti and Christmas have in common?

Plenty.

When I think of both, it reminds me of celebration, family and giving.

In my household, we drink Moscato d’Asti in equal proportions at breakfast and for dessert. On both occasions is it normally with our closest friends or family with us, and our children and at our home.

What is Moscato d’Asti?

While most consumers recognize Asti Spumante instantly, few have heard of a related though very different wine, Moscato d’Asti. Asti Spumante refers to a fully sparkling wine with straightforward sweet and fruity flavors, which is best enjoyed on its own or as a dessert selection. Moscato d’Asti on the other hand, is one of the world’s great wine styles. It is a low alcohol, semi-sparkling wine with about half the carbonation of a typical sparkling wine, and is released very soon after the vintage to preserve its uniquely fresh character. It is extremely aromatic with a famously complex perfume, and generally has a mild level of sweetness which is counterbalanced by vibrant acidity. Moscato d’Asti makes an exceptional dessert wine but is also versatile enough to have as an aperitif. Served alone, it is one of the most refreshing wines in the world, and one would be hard pressed to find something better for a hot summer day. One final note—Moscato d’Asti is always best consumed within two years of the vintage. http://www.tastings.com

 

Via Mondo Imports, we represent the wines of Paolo Saracco http://www.paolosaracco.it/ into Australia and we ship the wines of Saracco mutiple times of the year to maintain freshness. With Moscato freshness is the key. If you see Moscato on a wine list or in a wine shop that is more than a couple of years old, just be weary. Moscato d’Asti is like bread: the fresher the better. Once it is no longer fresh, it will lose it zing and ability to cut through the palate.

In Australia, we import most of the top producers of Moscato D’Asti into Australia. Look for:

Paolo Saracco

Vietti

La Caudrina

Marcarini

La Spinetta

These five producers make fine examples of Moscato d’Asti and represent their own take on the variety.

Calabria here we come :-)

Last night we sent email confirmation for our first order from Calabria. We will start with one producer and one wine. The wine is made from Magliocco Dolce, grown at 400 metres in middle Savuto valley in the Motta Santa Lucia (CZ) commune. Plant density is eight thousand plants per hectare which is almost unheard of in Calabria.

And in their own words: ‘Quality for us means folks, relationships, dutifulness, confidence’.

As an importer of Italian wine into Australia, there is not much more I could ask for and I can’t wait for these wines to arrive in Australia sometime in March and it will retail for around $20 a bottle.

 

The crazy little thing called Christmas…

My wife always knows when Christmas is getting closer. Longer hours, shorter temper and more dinners drinking great wines sometimes with her, sometimes without her 🙂

Whilst is a crazy time of year, I do love December. It seems like you work like crazy, then balance it all with some great family time together and then, as always, a very lazy January. This year has been even busier and I can’t really complain with family, work and life all treating pretty well.

So far, I had to pick my favourite wine of December is would have to be the freakin amazing 1990 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino served around a table amongst friends at one of our favourite restaurants called Scopri. For some reason, when I sit down at dinner with fellow Italian wine lovers, I do not tweet or take photo’s of bottles. It doesn’t matter. This is the best bottle of Brunello I have drunk. Period.

Tonight as I am about to eat a bowl of Pasta alla norma and drink a glass of the Fuligni Rosso di Montalcino, it reminds me of just how great that bottle was. And that is what December is all about: sharing great bottles of wine with friends.

Tomorrow night I am heading back to Scopri with my tasting group and no doubt the December theme of sharing great bottles with friends will continue. More on the later in the week….!