Tag Archives: Mondo Imports

A new producer from Monforte in Oz for Mondo Imports…

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.”

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!


Anthony D’Anna

Our next project? paolovino…….

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 wine project: paolovino
Our next wine project: paolovino

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…..

2010 Il Palazzone has arrived in Oz but….

After arriving in our warehouse yesterday from Italy, the 2010 @ilpalazzone stocks are already 2/3 gone and we have already polished off two bottles amongst ourselves! What a wine. Described by Antonio Galloni as a ‘very beautiful wine.’ I doubt the first shipment of this wine will last more than a week.

Luckily we have secured a second allocation which should arrive mid year. What a wine and illustrates why I have been talking up 2010 Brunello for the last few years.


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.




A small window of opportunity…

More Southern Italian reds landing down under...
More Southern Italian reds landing down under…

Well what a crazy couple of weeks it has been, so much wine arriving from Italy and plenty going out around Australia. This time of year, our window for preparing orders after the Italian summer vacation and having those wines land before Christmas is relatively short indeed. Hence, now is the time to try and order those wines we want to sell in Australia before Christmas.

The Lucarrelli Salice Salentino is one such find. This wine should arrive to us at the end of October/start of November and I can’t wait to show this wine in Australia





A fantastic visit to Il Palazzone in Montalcino….


Last year I visited Montalcino for the first time. Whilst I have been to Chianti close to a dozen times, I had up until that point, never visited Montalcino. This seems crazy now but whilst I have admired Chianti, it was not until I had a 1979 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino that made me realize that I was missing out on something special.

So on my visit last year, I visited the cellars of Fuligni (which is imported by my good friends over at Trembath and Taylor) and also stopped by a small estate called Il Palazzone. My intention was to just try the wines, meet Laura and Marco and have a bite to eat. Well, after returning to Australia I knew that I could not let an estate like Il Palazzone go and made the decision to import the wines.

Well it is close to a year since we first starting importing the wines via Mondo Imports. We started with the classic 2006 Bruneloo di Montalcino and it has been so well received in Australia. As a wine that is seven years old. it is just starting to enter it’s drinking window but with 10-20 years left in the tank. We are very lucky to start with such a great wine from the 2006 vintage.


This year, it was nice to return as the import of Il Palazzone into Australia and have a more in depth look at the operations and speak to Laura and Marco about the philosophy behind Il Palazzone.

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino is made from three distinct vineyards sites:

The estate has three separate vineyard in quite different areas of Montalcino. The microclimate and extraordinary variety of terroirs means that we are able, on blending the three vineyard harvests, to have three complementary aspects of Montalcino in our Brunello.

The Due Porte vineyard, our youngest vineyard, is 530 metres above sea level. The three small plots are north west facing. Documents indicate that vineyards have been planted in this area since the 13th century; a clear indication of the suitability of the area for quality wine production. In fact, in spite of the altitude and the exposition, the grapes from the Due Porte are high in fruit and sugars and benefit from the excellent ventilation and day/night thermal excursion. The galestro or good clay gives good drainage.

The Vigna del Capa, located down below the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, is quite different. Over 200 meters lower in altitude and south facing, the vineyards here are over thirty years old. The harvest is distinguished by lovely saline and aromatic components, thanks to the presence of marine fossils in the soil. The third vineyard, also over 30 years old, is also close to Castelnuovo dell’Abate, in an area with iron, magnesium and manganese in the soil. The grapes from this vineyard have an incredible mineral component. Il Palazzone

It was fascinating visiting each vineyard site and hear Marco (via Laura!) tell us the differences between each site and how it contributes to the overall make up of Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino. Tasting the wine is one thing: seeing why it tastes as it does is priceless and this is one of the key reasons why visiting each estate makes so much sense.


We also visited the new cellar and barrel room. In the years to come, this will play a big part in the continued improvement at Il Palazzone and whilst it is a massive investment, control is everything. To be able to control every aspect from the vineyard into barrel with the best equipment available will make a big difference in the overall quality of the wines.


We tried the 2009, 2010 and 2011 pre-releases and whilst all slightly different, you can see the upward trend in quality as the years progress. Marco is a big believer in nature and not messing about unless you have to and it shows in these wines. They are distinctively Sangiovese Grosso  and speak of Montalicino with a purity of fruit and complexity that has given Montalcino the reputation for producing such amazing wines.


Speaking of amazing wines, the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino absolutely blew us away. Already sold out at the winery, we have begged and pleaded for some for Australia and fingers crossed this happens. In a line up over dinner that included Soldera and Salvioni, the 2008 Il Palazzone Brunello held it’s own and two weeks after returning to Australia, through my mind I can still taste this wine. It is ethereal and powerful in the same breath and has the length, tannins and complexity to never die. This wine showed to me the direction in which Il Palazzone are heading and I am so glad that I am able to join in on the ride.