Category Archives: boccacciovino

A long time between drinks….

 

Well it has been a while since my last post on il vino da tavola. When I look back it has been a crazy year. I don’t think I will experience to many like that in my working life.

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Consider that Mondo Imports continues to grow not only in the amount we import (roughly 100 containers a year from Italy) but also creatively with many new wines we make ourselves in Italy. Whilst doing this, we have rebuilt (without losing an hour’s trade) our food and wine retail hub Boccaccio Cellars.

Already we have had great feedback from our customers and media about the new Boccaccio. With online foodie publication Broadsheet listing it amongst the ‘best speciality Italian grocers’ in Melbourne.

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Pity the fool who turns his nose up at Boccaccio’s IGA branding. “Fifty years and still going strong,” the D’Anna clan likes to say, but really, its Boccaccio Cellars isn’t simply maintaining; it’s improving.

 Freshly refurbished, the new store is striking. A mural of the eponymous Boccaccio – the 14th-century Italian writer, poet and imbiber – is an appropriate introduction to the acres of produce inside.

 Boccaccio likes to boast of its 3000 wines. Many are from Europe courtesy of the D’Annas’ sister operation, Mondo Imports. But the family actually got its start in the 1960s delivering fresh bread, spaghetti and oil to the crowds of Italian migrants pouring off the boats into Melbourne’s growing suburbs.

 The D’Annas still deliver – Australia wide these days – but its Balywn store is a mecca for hungry Melburnians. It’s a Mediterranean-influenced grocery, delicatessen, butcher, green grocer and bakery.

 The in-house cheesemongers, Bernard and Jery, almost steal the show with their ridiculous array of European products, which include Tete de Moine from Switzerland and Reypenaer gouda from the Netherlands. Still, the gents are beaten out by what more or less amounts to a refrigerated installation-wall of prosciutto imported directly from Parma. Good luck leaving without any.

Boccaccio

1030–1050 Burke Road, Balwyn

(03) 9817 2257

 

With this now complete and going great guns, I can focus ( well almost!) on doing what I love best, importing and selecting wines of interest from Italy.

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We are lucky to have great staff in each department with four cheesemongers, three bakers, two Swiss butchers and a team of seven running our Italian built deli. With the retail arm in great hands, it means one thing: more wines from Italy!

Via Rotella Toscana Sangiovese 2014
Via Rotella Toscana Sangiovese 2014

Our latest project has been a $15 Toscana Sangiovese made exactly how I think Tuscan Sangiovese should taste like.

Campbell Mattinson on Via Rotella Toscana Sangiovese 2014
Campbell Mattinson on Via Rotella Toscana Sangiovese 2014

Respected wine journalist Campbell Mattinson, had this to say about the wine and we expect to import around 60,000 bottles of our Sangiovese next year which is a great start.

Good to back on my blog and hopefully it won’t be as long between posts in the future!!

Cheers

Anthony D’Anna

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In other news….

We are three weeks away from finishing the redevelopment of our retail hub which will encompass the best of food and wine, anywhere in Australia.
The build which is running a month ahead of schedule has been pretty easy considering the logistics involved in keeping everything operating.

Yesterday three semi trailers of refrigeration cases arrived and next week the remainder of shelving will be installed. After that, it is just commissioning and filling this massive space.

Already the response from the public and industry has been fantastic and I can’t wait to fast forward a few years to see what it is able to achieve. After September, it is back to my day job of focusing on Mondo Imports.

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A little bit of Tuscany in Balwyn….

For the last fifty years, our family business interests have covered importing, retailing and making wines from both Australia and abroad. Over the last year, our retail outlet Boccaccio Cellars has been redeveloped and refurbished to try and showcase what we do across all our businesses.

Our store Boccaccio is names after the Tuscan Poet Giovanni Boccaccio and we thought we would honour him by a special mural painted on the entrance to our Continental Supermarket and Wine Store. This week this mural was completed and illustrates to people that they have walked into a pretty unique store.

On the painting:

In this group portrait, six distinguished poets and philosophers of the 13th and 14th centuries are shown as if engaged in a literary conversation. Each was revered for his role in the development of lyric poetry, which helped establish the Tuscan dialect as the standard language in Italy.The seated figure is Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), author of the Divine Comedy. Facing him is Guido Cavalcanti (about 1255-1300), acclaimed for his love sonnets. The standing figure in clerical garb is the humanist and classical scholar Francesco Petrarch (1304-74); to his right is Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), author of the Decameron. The figures at the far left are two authoritative commentators on their works, the humanist and man of letters Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and the platonic philosopher Cristoforo Landino (1424-1498/1504). All four wear laurel wreaths, symbolic of literary achievement. The objects on the table represent various scholarly disciplines. The solar quadrant and celestial globe denote astronomy and astrology; the compass and terrestrial globe, geometry and geography; the books, grammar and rhetoric.

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Sometimes it is not all about the travel…..

Every year I head to Italy (and most years twice a year) to learn more and better educate myself as an advocate of Italian wine in Australia. It is not always visiting the estates I represent in Italy, sometimes it is visiting and talking to the best about their thoughts on wines and vintages from their region. This last trip to the Langhe, I not only visited the estates I work with, but also caught with the Roberto Conterno from Giacomo Conterno, Giacomo Conterno from Aldo Conterno and Gaia Gaja from Gaja. Doing this is the best way of getting the most out of a region.

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However, sometimes you can learn more from a visit and intense masterclass with than visiting a cellar in that region. Yesterday, twelve special private customers and myself got to spend two hours with Gaia and for the whole two hours, she talked. Talked about what makes Barbaresco and Gaja so special. Tasting the wines were almost a side show to the main event. For me, I learnt so much in that two hour period. More than I have in any structured masterclass.

Gaia has the smarts to not only equal her father, but to take the estate of Gaja into the stratosphere and having known her and watched her develop over the last five to six years, she is as smart and as formidable than anyone I have met in the wine world (through in Soldera and Biondi Santi into that mix) and I can’t wait to see what she does over the next two decades.

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Awesome day and what an amazing person Gaia is…

Back in Oz….with lot’s of new developments happening….

Well it was good to get back in Australia after a great trip away. After Calabria and Sicily, we spent one night in Rome and I always find that it is a great way to end the trip. The highlight was dinner at Armando al Pantheon which I love to eat at, and typifies everything I love about Italian food and wine.

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I have certainly hit the ground running with Letizia from Passopisciaro due in Oz this weekend for a number of consumer and trade events around Melbourne and Sydney. This Sunday, the 12th of April, Letizia will be hosting free vertical tasting at Boccaccio Cellars from 11am-1pm looking at 5 vintages back to 2007 of the Passopisciaro Etna Rosso. She will also be hosting similar events in Sydney next week.

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We are also proud to announce that Mondo Imports will be representing the wines of Emidio Pepe in Australia. These wines should arrive in June and we will have multiple vintages of the Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Once these wines arrive, I will hold a number of masterclasses ad tastings to show people just how good they are.

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Finally the new supermarket redevelopment is going great guns with the newt stage opening in June. This will encompass our glass prosciutto cool room, new registers, new deli built in florence and big new supermarket entry. The redevelopment will finish in September with the whole site being redeveloped.