Tag Archives: Chianti

Dario: the best butcher in the world…

Today was our first free day of the trip with no appointments. With a night booked in Florence, we decided to take a little detour and stop by Panzano in Chianti to visit the best butcher in the world: Dario Cecchini.

Not only is Dario a butcher specialising in traditional cuts of Tuscan beef, but he is also a showman and has a restaurant above his shop serving meat prepared by his staff. I wouldn’t say it was the best meat I have ever eaten, but the theatre behind it all was worth the visit alone. See pictures below.

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We must remember to do things for ourselves, not others….

Dear Anthony, I read with great interest your interview Blog Ziliani, in addition to them my most sincere congratulations on your work, I wanted to ask you some information.

We are a small viniculture ……., and we do our best to bring the best of our quality in our bottles. Lambrusco and produce still wines from native grapes such as Malbo Gentile.

As is seen in the Australian market Lambrusco? If the Vinitaly will be very happy to have them taste our wines, if you want to know something we do not hesitate to contact us.

With the hope of not having disturbed Yours faithfully.

Since Italy’s top wine blogger, Franco Ziliani published an interview https://ilvinodatavola.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/an-interview-by-franco-ziliani-on-vino-al-vino-blog/ on his website http://www.vinoalvino.org I have had over a dozen emails from wineries from Italy contacting me about the possibility of distribution in Australia for their wines via Mondo Imports. This I think is a fantastic thing. They are on the front foot, ready to look for new markets abroad and push their wines front and center in the eye of ‘us’ importers of Italian wine.

However, for some, the past actions of many have tainted the image of their wines and in a tough environment world wide, their job is even harder through no real fault of their own. Lambrusco, Frascati and to a limited extent Chianti have all had their images tarnished by poor decisions made twenty and thirty years ago.

The mind does not forget, generations of drinkers still think that Chianti is the wine in the Raffia bottle. That Lumbrusco is cheap, sweet and fizzy. That Frascati is the wine you drink and pour over your salad. All these massive generalisations exsist because more than a decade ago, the image of a grape variety or style was modified to suit the palate and images of the international market.

I love Chianti, but it is one of the hardest wines to sell in my portfolio. I love Lambrusco, but haven’t dared import it. Same goes with Frascati.

Wineries in Italy and all around the world must remember that your decision today, will not just affect you tomorrow but also the day after. The year after. The decade after. There is no such thing as a quick fix. You must stay loyal to your ideas and beliefs and not take the short road to success. For the majority, it is a small minority that taints the image for so many and it is today that the minority is now working so hard to bring the image of Chianti, Lumbrusco and Frascati back to where it should be.

Let this also be a lesson for the emerging regions, styles and varieties. In regards to Italy,  the next decade will all be about the wines of the south and importantly Calabria which will finally get it’s time in the spotlight. For me Calabria is the final frontier for the rebirth of the south.

Last year I wrote a blog post about this https://ilvinodatavola.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/calabria-the-final-frontier/ and for me it is a good reference point to remember that whilst the road to importing and success is long, you must always stay true to your ideals and beliefs. The same applies to the image of Calabria and the rest of Italy. Be careful on how you promote your region and wines as it will have a lasting effect for generations to come.

Do not make wine to please markets, make wine that is a reflection of yourself, your place and your varieties. I do not want to drink Cabernet, Syrah or Chardonnay from Sicily, Puglia, Tuscany or any other Italian region. I want to drink the grape varieties that have lived for centuries on your land and that illustrates your region. These are the wines you should be showcasing to the world and these are the wines that success will be built on for generations to come.

The Carlton Football Club and Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2005

Yesterday whilst doing odd things like gardening I had the radio in the background listening to the might Carlton Football Club beat old foes Richmond by a lazy 103 points. During this time I also had a bottle of Castello Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 open in the back ground and it made for a great day.

The Monsanto Riserva 2005 has been shaped by a rainy vintage in Tuscany. I spent the first two weeks of the vintage in Tuscany and the weather was dreadful with overcast skies and drizzly rain for most of the two weeks. Some producers made some good wine and this Chianti is a classic example. With no Il Poggio made in 2005 the fruit from the Il Poggio vineyard made it’s way into this wine and it has made a big difference.

Whilst not luscious and complex like the 2006 Monsanto Chianti Riserva, it is drinking well at an earlier age but with still those classic Tuscan savoury fruits and tannins. I drank this over three days and it improved each day which suggests it should age well for the next 7-10 years.

Fattoria Di Felsina Chianti Classico 2000

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From memory I think I brought a dozen of these on release and I have been steadily drinking a bottle a year since then. However if this bottle is any indication, I better stick the balance away for a few more years: this wine is still a pup at eleven years of age.

Still deep purple in colour, the nose is quite closed and not a strong point for this wine. What is a strong point is the beautiful palate. Some may find the tannins a bit offputing: I love them. Mouth puckering tannins balance a perfect Chianti palate with dried herbs, plums and acid all in perfect harmony.

Felsina are a reference point for Chianti and this wine is certainly no exception.

Will indigenous grape varieties ever be mainstream?

Going forward, I strongly believe the Italian Wine Industry should be basing it’s future and therefore success of the Italian wines abroad on the promotion of it’s indigenous grape varieties in world wide markets.

The days of Chianti, etc (ie the traditional successful varieties of the past) being the backbone of the Italian wine scene (and whilst I rate Chianti and Sangiovese for that matter) are nearly over. Whilst Chianti is near the top of my favorite Italian grapes, it is traction in the Australian market is declining every year.

In Australia we are seeing restaurants, journalists, and the wine drinking public more willing to try different varieties and in most instances, varieties that they have never heard of. These unkown grape varieties we have been showcasing through Mondo have been indigenous varieties from the region that they originate. This for me gets me more excited to see someone try Nerello Mascalese or our cheeky Bianco Salentino and be blown away by a grape variety they never even knew existed.

However, will these indigenous grape varieties ever be accepted in the mainstream like Chianti, Soave and Montepulciano of the past? And is it such a bad thing if it doesn’t achieve the success?

A lot of open questions and who know where the answer lies….

Pizza is a religion.

Unfortunately we live in an a area which is well short of good restaurants and take away places, hopefully they may change in the future. However, in the last few months a fantastic pizza restaurant called Pizza Religion (www.pizzareligion.com.au) has opened it’s doors not too far away from our house. Since opening, it has been packed with good reason.

These Pizza’s are the real deal and whilst not exactly the same as the Pizza’s you get in Italia, they are not lacking in quality and are a great take on high quality Pizza. You know the drill, thin base, quality ingredients and sensational flavours.

We washed these down with a fantastic bottle of Castello Monsanto Chianti Classico 2006. This wine was a brute when it was young, but is now finally mellowing to be a beautiful wine.