Category Archives: restaurants

Vintage 2006 in Tuscany…

  
Whilst I have always had the belief that 2004 was and will be always a superior vintage than 2006 in Tuscany, sometimes you can drink a wine that tells you that vintage generalisations aren’t always spot on.
Let me make it clear that both these vintages for Chianti Classico and Brunello are in the top few vintages in the last couple of decades. When you have two great vintages so close to each other (like 1989 and 1990 in the Langhe) there are always going to be comparisons made.
Last night, I was in a distinctively Chianti Classico mode and grabbed a bottle of the 2006 Castello Monsanto Il Poggio to drink. Monsanto was the first winery that we represented from Italy in Australia and today, the wines have never been better. It is also a wine that drink better and will age longer than the 2004 Il Poggio. 

Monsanto always make restrained and savoury styled wines. A year like 2006 which was warmer than the stellar (and classic Tuscan vintage) 2004, has given the wine more omph and power. It still has at least another twenty years before it starts it’s slow decline.

This wine and the 2010 and 2012 vintage has again showed me why it is so critical to cellar the wines of Italy’s best producers. 

ps Don’t always follow or agree with vintage generalisations!

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.

Boccaccio

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

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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Three days in Barolo + Barbaresco.

Well we have had three fantastic days today we head to Calabria and Sicily. As well as seeing all our producers we represent in Australia via Mondo Imports, we had some great tasting at some of the best producers in the Langhe.

The highlights included a tour and tasting with Roberto Conterno from Giacomo Conterno (trying the 2010 Monfortino out of barrel) and dinner last night with Gaia Gaja over a bottle of 78 Barbaresco.

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Vinitaly 2015….

Well it is crazy to think that we have been in Italy for 48 hours and already seem like we have done so much. Today was the first day of Vinitaly and it was great to catch up with the wineries that we love to represent in Australia.

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One of the many highlights from today was trying the 2010 Brunello from Biondi Santi. The first shipment of this wine (which has been fully allocated) will arrive in Australia in a couple of the weeks and it was great to try this wine. It is one of the most complete Biondi Santi Brunello’s I have ever tried at such a young age. The winery has sold it’s entire production of BdM in a month of it being in the market and I am glad that we secured a second large allocation of this wine for June shipment to Australia via Mondo Imports.

Another highlight was trying the 2012 Cru’s and standard 2013 Etna Rosso from Passopsiciaro. I feel like the very essence of Mondo Imports is illustrated through these wines. Indigenous wines that show the territory they are grown in (Etna) and each vintage showcases the difference of the season. We should also announce in the next month or so another one of Italy’s best wineries will be joining our portfolio. We tried the wines again today and they are standouts. More in this soon!

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After a big day, a sprtiz in Piazza Erbe is on the cards then a glass of vino at Bottega Vini.

13 vintages of Gaja Barbaresco spanning 5 decades: Thursday 12th of March @ Sosta Cucina

IMG_8067 Last Thursday, a fellow group of wine lovers got together to look at 13 vintages of Gaja Barbaresco spanning 5 decades. Both wines and food were in top form and look at so many wines from a producer like Gaja, allowed us to see the evolution of style from the Gaja family. The conclusion was that the just released 2011 has almost seen a return to style of the very early Gaja Barbaresco’s where the fruit is allowed to play a dominant role, rather than fruit and oak. See below, notes on the wines. I have tried to include other reviewer and winemaker notes to give you a comparison My notes are in italic. IMG_8077 13 vintages of Gaja Barbaresco spanning 5 decades.

Strikingly profound and built to live for decades, Gaja’s wines display opulence and elegance unmatched elsewhere in Italy. These wines, while harnessing modern technology, have a long-established track record, ensuring they will perform well both in the glass and on the auction block. For any collector considering Italian wines, Gaja should be the first name on the list.

Gaja Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG Produced in Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive, Barbaresco is one of the great wines of Piemonte. Cultivated in Piedmont since the 13th century, Nebbiolo plays a principal role in the winemaking culture of the region. It is a late maturing grape which is very sensitive to different soils and climates, resulting in a fascinating range of flavors that are affected by the subtleties of the area’s microclimates. While much smaller than the Barolo area, Barbaresco benefits from the influence of the Tanaro river which results in Nebbiolo that ripens earlier and has a lighter character. WINES ON THE NIGHT: 1967 Giacomo Conterno’s 1967 Barolo was awesome. It was similar to the Gaja in the depth of its fruit, but with a more balsamic profile of mint, leather, spices and tar. During this era Conterno sourced fruit from Monforte and Serralunga, and this Barolo revealed the heft that is the hallmark of those villages. Notwithstanding the wine’s masculinity, the finish was sweet, long and sublime. This was an exceptional bottle. 92 points Antonio Galloni Sweet and stellar. Classic Gaja with beautifully balanced tannins and fruit.  1973 The 1973 vintage helped to show us the ability of vineyards with the best exposure. Some crus are very good, not outstanding, but quite good. Angelo Gaja Again fantastic tannins and fruit. Lovely wine. Still some years ahead of it and very impressive. 1974 This vintage was celebrated as a great vintage but in fact it was a good vintage, with a large crop. It was close to 1964 but less quality. The crop was large. The harvest time was very long and lasted through November. Angelo Gaja Past it’s best. The ’75 runs rings around it. This has lost it’s fruit and is started to fade away. IMG_8073 1975 Amazing colour and complexity. Floral, perfumed and alive. Absolutely love it. Note that this wine faded very quickly after starting so strong. Maybe a slight hint of TCA but for me it didn’t affect the quality of the fruit that you could see. 1977 Lovely. Perfect Barbaresco. Savoury and tannic. A great example of aged Barbaresco. 1987 Seems like there has been a stylistic change with the ’87. Darker in colour and fruit weight. More brooding and oak more obvious. Not exactly my style. 1994 Classic wine. Clean, dark fruit but well structured This will have the capacity to live for a long time. 1996 The 1996 Barbaresco exhibits a dense ruby color as well as a forward nose of cherry liqueur, earth, truffle, mineral, and spicy scents. Rich, full-bodied, and seductive, with its moderate tannin largely concealed by the wine’s wealth of fruit and extract, this gorgeously pure offering gets my nod as the finest Barbaresco produced by Gaja since 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2016. As I reported in issue #124 (8-27-99), 1996 is a spectacular vintage for Angelo Gaja. 90 points Robert Parker Wine Advocate #130 Aug 2000 Not a great bottle of ’96. Starting to age and fall away where great bottles should still be going strong. 1998 Full, deep red-ruby. Pungent floral/spicy aromas of black raspberry, tar, dark chocolate and marzipan. Juicy and very intensely flavored, with brilliant acidity giving the wine brightness and grip. Superb fruit really expands in the mouth. Boasts superb backbone for this bottling, which I almost referred to as Gaja basic Barbaresco. Very long, vibrant aftertaste. 91-93 points, Steven Tanzer, Vinous 1998 is one of my favorite vintages. It is a vintage of balance, beautiful balance. But after 1996 and 1997, 1998 was forgotten. But it is one of the most drinkable wines in the last thirty years. Excellent balance. Perfect to match with food. Because Piedmont produces food wines. Angelo Gaja Youthful, classic fruit and tannin. This still has 20 years ahead of before it get’s somewhere close to it’s drinking window. Lovely sweet tannins. 1999 Medium ruby. Gaja’s 1999 Barbaresco opens with a delicate, perfumed nose followed by sweet red fruit, tar, licorice, wet earth and smoke flavors with excellent length and overall harmony although it can’t quite match the sheer appeal of the 2000 and 2001 versions. With some air it is approachable now, although a few years of cellaring will be beneficial. It should drink well to age twenty. 91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous A classic vintage, very good. Rough tannin in the beginning but it’s now beginning to open. Angelo Gaja 15 years old and still another 15 years away from being ready. Again another fantastic wine that is going to age so well. Don’t be in a rush to drink these if time is on your side. 2004 The 2004 Barbaresco reveals fresh, perfumed aromatics that lead to layers of crushed flowers, spices and sweet raspberries. this is a wine of rare class, elegance and pure breed. It offers outstanding length and silky, elegant tannins to round out the inviting finish. 93 points Antonio Galloni Another vintage close to 1964. Good crop and a good combination of harmony. Good harmony. Close to 1962 and close to 1982. More to 1964. Angelo Gaja Very good. Classic Gaja. Amazing quality of fruit and lovely savoury tannins. Still years ahead of it. 2006 The 2006 Barbaresco reveals terrific concentration, depth and purity. This is a remarkably soft, harmonious Barbaresco from Angelo Gaja with pretty notes of raspberries, crushed flowers and spices. The wine turns more powerful in the glass, as it gains additional richness, volume and depth, all of which carry through to the polished finish. The wine’s balance is impeccable, and this is easily is one the more harmonious, complete wines of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026. 93 points Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate # 185 Oct 2009 Quite salty and lot’s of oak. Oak tannins. A touch disappointing when looking at it now but if it does come round, and fruit and oak are in balance, then it is going to be a belter. 2011 Awesome. Primary and stripped back to let the fruit take centre stage. It almost reminds me of the ’67, ’75 and ’77 in style and structure. It is going to be exciting to see this develop over the next two decades. HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE ESTATE Plain and simple, Angelo Gaja is the biggest name in Italian wine. The Gaja winery was founded by Giovanni Gaja in 1859 and has been owned and operated by four generations of the Gaja family, with Angelo Gaja running the operation since the 1960s. Angelo is credited with modernizing Barbaresco and Barolo wines, having pioneered the use of controlled-temperature fermentation (for reducing oxidation) and small-cask aging (to stabilize color and preserve fruitiness). Gaja is most well-known for his Barbarescos, though the three most sought-after wines, Costa Russi, Sori Tildin and Sori San Lorenzo have recently been reclassified from Barbaresco DOCG to Langhe DOC, giving Gaja more flexibility in the winemaking process. Strikingly profound and built to live for decades, Gaja’s wines display opulence and elegance unmatched elsewhere in Italy. These wines, while harnessing modern technology, have a long-established track record, ensuring they will perform well both in the glass and on the auction block. For any collector considering Italian wines, Gaja should be the first name on the list. The centerpiece of the portfolio, GAJA Barbaresco is a testament to the Gaja family’s historic commitment to the appellation and its belief that Barbaresco stands proudly with the great growing regions of the world. The GAJA winery stopped sourcing fruit from other growers in 1961 in order to ensure the utmost quality in its wines. In all, GAJA Barbaresco is produced using grapes grown in 14 vineyards in the village of Barbaresco. It is important to note the unique bottle shape created by the GAJA winery for this classic wine. The rich, powerful GAJA Barbaresco is intended for aging and thus benefits from a longer cork – and, in 1978, GAJA became the first winemaker in Piedmont to make that change. In order to accomodate the new format, GAJA redesigned the traditional Burgundian-format bottle used in Piedmont, created a hybrid bottle with a long Bordelaise neck and Burgundian bottle