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.
Well it has been a trip of extremes. Three days in the Langhe, followed by a day in Calabria and the last three days in Sicily. I love Sicily. There is something about Sicily that draws me to this land and it’s wines.
Five years ago I started with Passopisciaro from Mount Etna. Not because I thought I had the market for it, but because I loved the wines. The decision to import these wines were made with my heart not my head. And sometimes in wine and love you should follow your heart and not your head. These wines now have a massive following in Australia and it makes me quite proud to be representing this great estate in Australia.
The purpose of the visit to Etna this year was to go to the ‘Le contrada dell’ Etna’ tasting which organised by Passopisciaro and other wineries to showcase the 2014 vintage from Mount Etna. By going to this tasting, it gave me a great feel for the vintage which will be one of the great Etna vintages. The wines are tight and structured, with fantastic acidity and purity of fruit.
Before today, we spent time at our other Sicilian producer: Lamoresca. The wines of Lamoresca have had a cult following since the first day we imported these wines in Australia via Mondo Imports. Normally these wines sell out in 48 hours which is good and bad, as I would like to realistically have them available in the market for 2-3 months.
Lamoresca’s vineyards are situated right in the heart of Sicily and it is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. His vineyards are a mix of clay and sand and depending on the variety, it is planted on corresponding soil type. Filippo works the land in an organic way and his wines see minimal oak and sulphur.
If your lucky to see Filippo’s wines in Australia, do yourself a favour a buy a bottle. It is a wine that will hook you in on the first glass.
Whilst the economy might be in the doldrums (or not exactly sure what it wants to do), there is no doubting the thirst for Italian wine. Just as I shudder when I get my upcoming invoices, duties, etc before we know it and almost as soon as the stocks land, most of the stocks have already found a home, either to one of the restaurants we love, or independent retail and private customers.
Within the space of a week of arriving, every single bottle from Lamoresca and Passopisciaro (all the cru’s and 70% of the standard Etna Rosso) have been sold. Whilst these wines are from the South (and it is a region that I am most passionate about) the trend is all over.
We simply cannot import enough (or be able to buy enough) Piero Benevelli with the 10,000 bottles landing in Australia in the past two months already sold. At the end of the month, his 2009 and 2010 Barolo’s will land and it is going to be a tough job allocating these out to the trade. It will be in bottles rather than in cases.
What it shows to me is that not only do we have a good understanding on what our customers want (well that is a lie as I import wines I love, not wines I think will sell) but Italian wine in general is well in demand.
Why buy Bordeaux and Burgundy at such crazy prices, when one bottle of good Burgundy will get you a case of 2010 Barolo? One could argue that the longevity of Barolo will be longer and in regards to the 2010 vintage, you cannot argue that the best Burgundies are more complex than the best Barolo.
I have seen so many great Baroli for under $100 a bottle. These are wines that will age with decades with complexity to burn. Whilst my cellar is generally all Italian, the thought of buying good Burgundy and Bordeaux makes my wallet shudder. It would be interesting to ask importers of Spanish wine if they are getting an uplift in demand from fine wine buyers moving from French to Italian and Spanish wines.
When my freight forwarder sends me this pictures it always puts a smile on my face. I know the wines have left Italy, packed into a refrigerated container and are on the way to Oz.
ETA on the new wines and vintages from Lamoresca in Sicily (think 13 Bianco, more 12 Rosso and the 13 Nerocapitano Frappato) should be around the 20th of June. I can’t wait for these wines to arrive and Filippo will most likely come to Australia next February for Rootstock which will be even better! I love Sicily and their wines, at the moment they are making some of the most exciting wine in Italy.
My trip to Sicily with my family in July was special. Special to be able to spend over a week on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Everything about our visit was great and I am itching to return to Sicily in the near future.
Whilst I have love Sicilian reds, especially those around Etna (we have imported Passopisciaro for the last few years) it was a dinner in Siracusa that left me in awe of just how good Nero and Frappato are together.
I have drunk lots of wines like Cos Cerasuolo Di Vittoria in Australia, it was a meal at Ristorante Porta Marina in Siracusa that showed how great this wine can be when matched with the right foods. Over the course of our stay, we drank likes of Cos and also Lamoresca which is now available in Australia via our company Mondo Imports.
Since it’s arrival last week, I have tried the 2011 Rosso, 2012 Bianco (both now sold out) and 2012 Rosso. These wines are not only delicious, but highly complex and I can’t wait to see how they develop with 4-5 years in the cellar.
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia