For those that read Eric Asimov, they will know he writes some of the most interesting article on wine and when it comes to Italy, it seems that he always nails the region and it’s wines.
In his latest article names ‘In Sicily, making a name for Vittoria’ click here to read it, he not only covers the big guns like Cos and Occhipinti but also covers some of the up and comers like Lamoresca, which Mondo imports to Australia.
My favourite line from the article is this and it sums up Filippo perfectly:
I’m more than organic, I’m an artisan,” he said. “I want to be a traditio…nal Mediterranean farm. I don’t want to be a trend.”
Likewise, his wines, like his Nerocapitano, a frappato, are pure and alive. They might be called natural wines, yet he rejects that term, too.
“They are not natural wines, which are Coca-Cola for young people in Paris,” he said. “They lose the terroir. They taste the same. I won’t be a part of it.
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!
For those that think of the wine growing region of Mount Etna has a warm climate, will be in for shock when you visit. High altitudes, an active volcano and snow falls make Etna one of the worlds most intriguing wine regions.
I love Etna and it’s wines. These photo’s from the winery we represent, Passopisciaro were taken over the weekend and shows the level of snow fall that can happen on Etna.
What a thrill it is to announce that @mondoimports will be importing the wines of Alessandro e Gian Natale Fantino from Monforte. The wines should be here late Feb, early March.
This is what @vinousmedia ‘s Antonio Galloni has to say about the wines: “What a thrill it is to taste these wines from brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino. The Fantinos work out of a tiny cellar in Monforte’s old, historic center. Alessandro Fantino spent twenty years working alongside Bartolo Mascarello, where he made the wines and managed the vineyards. In 1998, as Maria-Theresa Mascarello was becoming increasingly involved in the family business, Alessandro Fantino returned to his own estate…I am often asked who the up and coming producers are in Barolo. Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino are among them.”
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.
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.
I like to think that my mind is wired a little different to most. I am also lucky that I have the ability to not only think differently but to make these thoughts turn into reality and produce a result, either via a new winery discovery (Passopisciaro, Lamoresca, Gran Sasso, Parri, etc) or a new wine (i.e. Fratelli D’Anna).
Sometimes it is easy to accept what we are given. To say ok that must be it. It takes more thought and effort to say no, that is not ok. And push forward to bigger and better things. In regards to the labels we have created like Parri Chianti and Umberto Luigi Domenico Prosecco this has certainly been the case and the results speak for themselves. I also love the fact that I work with talented people like artist Meredith Gaston to create wines that are distinctly recognisable by so many people.
Projects like Fratelli D’Anna (think Rosso and Brunello) have also been a massive success. To the point whereby we will soon not publicise the release date of both wines so that we actually have stock when they land in Australia for more than a few days. The Fratelli wines have given me a lot of joy especially working with people in Italy who understand what we do and also releasing wines under a label that is now recognised in a short amount of time for it’s quality. The more I travel to Italy and visit Montalcino, the more I realise just how special this town is. How complex and age-worthy the best examples of Sangiovese Grosso can be and the more I want to better promote and educate people who appreciate fine wine in Australia about these wines. Lucky for companies like mine, there already has been the groundwork laid by amazing importers like Trembath and Taylor and historically Arquilla. I would like to think that Mondo Imports has been able to join them in representing some of the best estates (at both low and high price points) and educating people just how good the wines from Montalcino can be.
Our next project should land in the second half of the year, and it is two $20 wines from Veneto. Whilst drinking Amarone is not my favourite pastime, I recognise that good Valpolicella and Pinot Grigio from this region will have a strong following in Australia so we have been working with one of the best wineries from Veneto in creating wines that reflect the strengths of the Veneto region.
These wines are named after a good friend in the wine industry who was instrumental on a number of levels in helping start out as an importer of Italian wine into Australia eight years ago. Paolo is from Veneto so I thought it was fitting to name this new project after him.
What am I planning next?
Not sure, but I am thinking maybe Sicily…..
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia