Well after 30 hours travel time it was good to arrive in Rome Tuesday afternoon and relax before we hit the ground running on Wednesday morning. Our first stop was the headquarters at Farnese in Abruzzo who are the guys behind Pipoli (Basilicata), Gran Sasso (Abruzzo) and Lucarrelli (Puglia) who we represent in Australia.
It was a great afternoon going through all the new vintage wines which will be available in Australia throughout 2014 and also some new wines which I think will be well received in Australia. All the wines focus on indigenous varieties grown in the region they originate from. It is good to see also the names Bianco and Rosso appearing on the label from wines that are a blend of indigenous varieties. It will give us a reason to educate and show why these native grape varieties are so suited to these Southern Italian regions.
After a two and half hour tasting we were off for a forty minute drive up to near the top of one of the nearby mountains for a fantastic dinner that put cheese (from Campania) and local Salami front and centre. I have never tried so much fresh cheese and it was hard to stop going back for more.
However, when we were told that main was a 2.5kg bistecca I knew I better keep some room for this. Whilst the meat was great, the highlight was definitely the antipasto.
After less than 24 hours in Abruzzo, we woke up early and drove up to Vittoria Veneto and onto Le Vigne di Alice which is the home of our prosecco for Mondo Imports. Since working with Alice of the last five years, we have seen demand and sales increase at a massive rate and we now ship straight containers of Prosecco to Australia.
These guys are also part of the team behind Umberto Luigi Domenico Cosmo Prosecco which distribute in the Australian market. The new label (a collaboration between Mondo and Australian artist Meredith Gaston) is on the way to Australia and I can’t wait to see the reaction from those in the trade.
After dinner tonight at Le Vigne di Alice we head tomorrow to the town of San Daniele in Fruili and then onto Trieste.
Today in the Weekly Review, Ben Thomas has written a fantastic article on the success of Southern Italian wines in Australia. Mondo Imports is well represented with three out of the five wines recommended.
As I get ready to head off an judge in Radici del Sud 2012 next week, I have dedicated this week to only drinking the wines of Southern Italy. I will also try and blog everyday from Radici to keep you informed about all the exciting things happening in the South of Italy at the moment.
Four containers in five days has stretched us to our limits but it has been well worth it. Heaps of new wines and lot’s more of the same.
Gran Sasso still amazes me. 10,000 bottles of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2010 were unloaded Tuesday morning and by lunchtime 10,000 bottles were dispatched to various restaurants and wine stores around Australia. We have another 40,000 bottles due in the next few weeks just to keep up with demand.
Also more stocks of #realperoni which should keep us ahead of the game for the next couple of months.
Plus new wines from Le Vigne di Alice, Corte Sant’ Alda, Lucarrelli, Pipoli have all arrived and been unloaded this week. We have a couple of weeks break for the next batch of containers arrive.
Whilst Nero d’Avola, Montepulciano and Primativo has grabbed the limelight in the last ten years for indigenous varieties grown in the South of Italy, I think Aglianico is the grape variety that has the most potential to chalange the noble grape varieties of the North. Whilst this statement is not new, the difference is now that there is actual infrastructure and the right tools to give Aglianico the attention it deserves.
Via Mondo Imports we import from Basilicata Pipoli Vigneti del Vulture with the highlight being their 2008 Aglianico del Vulture and for me, it is a wine that I am constantly drawn to. When I am on the road, I love showing this wine, and it always receives a fantastic response.
Last night my wife cooked a fantastic sugo and soon as I saw the richness of the tomatoes in the sauce, I knew the Aglianico would be a great match. As is the case with wines like this on a school night, I had to stop myself going back for another glass. Why? Because with wines that draw you in, another glass means another glass and then another glass and in the end, the bottle is gone. Not a bad thing on a Friday or Saturday night, but not something I try and do on a school night.
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia