It was not that long ago, that the thought of trying to sell Italian wine in Australia that was not Chianti or Pinot Grigio was like the trying to convince the majority of the wine drinking population to drink something so foreign that you might as well just throw money (and wine) down the drain.
How times have changed it as I am about to head off on another buying trip, with so many of my bases covered with fantastic producers (Fatalone, Passopisciaro, Lamoresca, Salvatore Moliettierri, Paolo Saracco, Piero Benevelli, etc) it is a sign of just how far Australia and the rest of the world has come in appreciating wines that are just a little bit different.
Different in that they are not mainstream items, grown in mainstream area’s. Don’t get me wrong, there will also be a market for Chianti (as there should be) as it is one of the great wines of Italy, but it has been so refreshing to see so many other great wines gain acceptance by those that buy and drink wine. If there wasn’t such a diverse variety of wine from all over Italy being drunk in Australia, I doubt I would have had the patience or even the stamina s\to be an importer of Italian wine.
When I hear people tell me about the amazing wine that had from Mount Etna made from an obscure variety called Nerello Mascalese, or email to say that they drank a wine from Puglia called Fatalone that was like no other Primitivo that they had ever drunk before: that is what gives me the energy and motivation to follow the path we have chosen.
Importing wines of interest from regions like Southern Italy is all part of our journey in wine. Why would I want to follow the path and stick to the mainstream. As mentioned previously, I love mainstream, but I also embrace the thought of something different.
Something different on this trip to Italy might be importing a new winery from Puglia that focuses solely in indigenous whites grown in different ‘crus’ around Puglia. Or it might be to import another winery from Calabria that focuses on long forgotten ancient grape varieties that have grown in the region for a thousand years before.
Whatever I import, I will bring you along for the journey when over the next few weeks.