Tag Archives: Boccaccio Cellars

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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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.

Benevelli on Galloni’s radar…

As the year draws to a close, I am already looking forward to next year. I have had a great year on all fronts with lots of new and exciting projects planned for next year.

It is also great to see some of our long term producers getting noticed by some of the best wine journalists on the planet. I am so happy for my friend Massimo Benevelli getting a rave review by Antonio Galloni.

For those that live in Melbourne, I will be pouring the wines of Benevelli plus Vajra and Sobrero this Sunday from 11am-1pm at a free tasting at Boccaccio Cellars. It is going to be a lot of fun!

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Looking forward to ‘A focus on the wines of Mount Etna’ tasting….

Tomorrow I am hosting a free tasting looking at the wines of Mount Etna. It should be fascinating and there are the best of the best from Etna lined up in both white and red.

If you live in Melbourne, pop down to the new Boccaccio Cellars store from 11am-1pm at 1050 Burke Road, Balwyn.

Etna is one of my favorite wine regions in the world and it will be good to show why this is the case.

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A new wine store nearly complete and a trip to Montalcino and Paris coming up..

Joinery and shelving in new wine store.
Joinery and shelving in new wine store.

Well we are almost there. Mid next week we will be handed the keys to our new wine store about 50 metres down the road from our existing store. This is where we originally started in Balwyn thirty one years ago. We should commence trading on the following Monday (the 20th of October).

From the 9th of November, our weekly Sunday tasting will kick off from 11-1pm looking at specific regions, wine styles or wineries. Our first tasting is a Mount Etna tasting, looking at the best producers from Etna (think Benati, Passopisciaro, Pietradolce and Girolamo Russo) and it will be educational and fascintatng to loo at these producers in depth. All Sunday tastings will be free and open to the public.

Whilst our new store opens, I will leave for a quick trip to Montalcino and Paris. I am heading to Montalcino to talk to a new producer for Mondo and it is the first time we will break our ‘two producers from one region’ rule but this producer, considered one of the best and rarest in the world is too good to knock back.

Finally five days in Paris to attend SIAL, one of the biggest food fairs and it will start the process of importing french cheeses and other food goods for our new supermarket which will be built after the wine store is complete.

Hmm, busy few weeks ahead!!

As per usual I will be posting on the road from Italy and France and keep everyone updated.