Nothing gets your head around a particular grape variety or region that whacking a heap a heap in a tasting and looking at a broad variety of similar wines. When you narrow this down to a a sub-region it gives an even greater understanding of a so called ‘cru’.

At Scopri last week we did this with the Barolo cru of Monforte and the result backed up my thinking that Monforte is one of the greatest and long lived Barolo Cru’s. These wines are not fashionable and giving in their youth. They are masked by a wall of tannings that perfectly hide (for sometimes years) the beautiful fruit fruit. The wines of Monforte require patience and those without patience will probably never understand the quality of wines that this cru is able to produce.

Below is a snapshot of the wines featured on the night.

Domenico Clerico Trevigne Barbera 2006: oaky,though good fruit and high tones.

Domenico Clerico Trevigne Barbera 2008: more oak than fruit, touch varnishy.

Benevelli Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2010: beautiful wine, so well balanced and in the grove.

Fenocchio Barolo 1990: corked

Aldo Conterno Granbussia Barolo 1995: typical Monforte, lovely, tea bag tannins, tar and roses, benchmark Monforte

Aldo Conterno Granbussia Barolo 1996: bigger, rounder, a product of a warmer year. A crowd pleaser amongst the dinner group. Lacks the structure of the 1995.

Conterno Fantino Sori Ginestra Barolo 1996: an amazing cru and amazing wine. Touch of brett but no way distracting, oozes class, poise and style.

Rocche dei Manzoni Capella Santo Stefano Barolo Riserva 2001: amazing, pure and seamless. Breathtaking in it’s beauty. Years to go.

Elio Grasso Casa Mate Ginestra Barolo 2004: for me wine of the night. Amazing purity of fruit, complexity to boot, Ten, twenty or thirty years in the tank.

Domenica Clerico Pajana Barolo 2004: oaky, new world style, not my style but a style that will please many.

Domenico Clerico Percristina Barolo 2004: a lot better than the previous wine, more balanced but still with a lot of up front fruit and oak. More La Morra than Monforte.

Benevelli Ravera Barolo 2005: classic Monforte, tannic, just starting to drink well now. A bargain. Still evolving and just entering into int’s drinking window.

Rocche de ManzoneCapella Santo Stefano Barolo 2006: very different to the 2001 Riserva of the same winery. Lot’s of VA and a touch of brett.

Benevelli Ravera Barolo 2006: so consistent, lovely, balance with beautiful complexity. I still have another 280 bottles of this at the winery in Monforte. Yay!!

Aldo Conterno Romanasco Barolo 2008: oak up front, too young to really do this wine justice.

Principiano Ravera Barolo 2010: scalped.


All in all a great night. Lot’s of diverse and different wines that highlighted the strengths of Monforte and also the hand of each winemaker.

Monforte and its Crus @ Scopri Food & Wine last night…

Over the last few months, a group of Italian wine lovers have been working our way through the cru’s of Barolo. Last month it was La Morra, last night in was Monforte and buy did the wines look good.

The menu for our Monforte dinner last night.
The menu for our Monforte dinner last night.

The food as usual was a great match to the wines and whilst it has been a few months since my last visit to Scopri, and it reminded me just how good this restaurant is.

The line up of wines from Monforte.

The line up of wines from Monforte.


In the next few days I will post full notes on the wines, but it was definately a great experience looking at  sixteen wines from the different cru’s of Monforte from 1990 up to the current release 2010 vintage wines.

New wines & vintages of Lamoresca: packed, picked up and on the way to Oz…


When my freight forwarder sends me this pictures it always puts a smile on my face. I know the wines have left Italy, packed into a refrigerated container and are on the way to Oz.

ETA on the new wines and vintages from Lamoresca in Sicily (think 13 Bianco, more 12 Rosso and the 13 Nerocapitano Frappato) should be around the 20th of June. I can’t wait for these wines to arrive and Filippo will most likely come to Australia next February for Rootstock which will be even better! I love Sicily and their wines, at the moment they are making some of the most exciting wine in Italy.

Passopisciaro: wines that show the beauty of Etna….

Passopisciaro and it's single vineyard cru's.
Passopisciaro and it’s single vineyard cru’s.

Mount Etna: a place that makes magical and mythical wines that convey this in the structure and taste of their wines. They are light in colour and strong in flavour and tannin. They are some of the most complex wines I have tried from any grape variety. The fact that the once obscure and unknown grape variety, Nerello Mascalese is being such amazing wines sums up Etna in so many ways.


It was this beauty that drew me to the wines of Passopisciaro all those years ago. Back then, only one or two producers from Etna made their way to Australia which meant that I basically had the pick of the mountain, to decide which winery to import to Australia.

Back then I was tossing up between Graci and Passopisciaro and decided to go with my heart and start with Passopisciaro. Well fast forward and the wines have found a strong following by wine lovers all around Australia.

This week, the standard 2011 Etna Rosso (the single cru’s should arrive in the first week of July) was reviewed by Gary Walsh on The Wine Front and within 24 hours our whole allocation was sold.

passopisciaro 2011 rosso review

Another shipment of the 2011 Etna Rosso will arrive along with the Cru’s in the first week of July and be available via @mondoimports Together with these wines and the wines of Lamoresca, we think we have captured the magic of Etna and Sicily with these amazing wines. Forza Passopisciaro. Forza Etna. Forza Sicily.



Radici del Sud and why it is so important for Southern Italian wines around the world…

radici nicola

If someone asked me to name the most important person for Southern Italian Wine in Italy at the moment, it would not be a winemaker or vineyard owner. It would be Nicola Campanile, the organiser and curator of the wine competition and festival called Radici del Sud which happens every year in Puglia. Radici del Sud celebrates the native grape varieties of Southern Italy bringing in some of the best journalist’s and wine trade from around the world for a week long event that looks at why Southern Italian wine is so special.


The competition aspect of Radici del Sud is simple.

Radici del Sud’s wine tasting is the event where the wines made by native grapes of Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and Sicilia are compared. It has been designed by the ProPapilla Association with the aim of identifying those labels that best represent the typicity of the grape that they are produced from. ProPapilla’s mission consists of enhancing the South Italian oenology for the safeguard of that cultural heritage that makes agro-food products appreciated. Under the name of Radici, the Association arranges all sorts of initiatives that support the production of wine from native grapes, with the aim of spreading the high quality of the South Italian labels, enhancing their profile and offering opportunities for visibility within both national and international markets looking for authentic products able to express the territory they come from.

This year, 129 wineries from Southern Italy have entered into the competition and I know for myself, when I attended in 2012, it was an amazing and fascinating experience.

And going back to our original statement, why is Nicola so important?


He is one of the few people in Southern Italy who is working to unite all the Southern regions in highlighting to the world, just how special the native varities they have in their own back yard.

Forza Nicola I say and let’s hope that Radici del Sud is still as relevant and important for Southern Italian wine in the future, because the landscape would be much different without him.