Tag Archives: wine


boccaccio reno

Nothing gets me more excited than progress. I hate standing still. It must be a family trait as I see it in my eldest daughter. We are both wake up at the same time each morning and jump from the blocks, ready to take the day on. I have always been a believer that time is too precious to waste and it is in the morning, when my brain is the sharpest and idea’s flow freely.

Even whilst studying at school and university, I never worked on assignments or studies for exams past 8pm. By that time, my mind was frazzled and all I wanted to do was unwind.

Getting back to progress, there has been a lot going on at @boccacciovino with work underway to create something unique in Australia. I do not want to just build a new wine store and Italian supermarket: I want it to be a showcase of all things good about Italian food and wine.

The new site for @boccacciovino wine store
The new site for @boccacciovino wine store

Today there is a crew of twenty plus tradesman working on our new @boccacciovino wine store which should be ready for us to operate out of in ten weeks (yes 10 weeks, scary really!) and a new Italian supermarket which will take a year of building.

I will keep you posted along the whole journey and it is sure going to be a fantastic experience!

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





Well finally made it to Roma: and Palatium Enoteca




Well after delays almost the whole way along our trip we finally made it to Roma. A 90 minute delay in Dubai due to fog (can you believe it in Dubai!) meant that we missed our connecting flight to Italy at Heathrow which then affected our car hire booking. After wasting half a day sorting all this out we finally arrived at our hotel and turned our watches to Italian time.

After enjoying a spritz on our hotel balcony overlooking Piazza di Spagna we sat down to an amazing dinner at Palatium in Centro storico in Piazza di Spagna. After a fantastic meal, we did what I always do in Rome: take a stroll to the Pantheon.



A new month, a new batch of wines arrive in Oz


Well after a great holiday it was back to reality yesterday with a container waiting at my back door on my first day back.

Whilst I have been away, new wines from a variety of producers have been rolling through the door. It is always a highlight when new release wines from Luca Roagna arrive and last night I opened a bottle of the new Roagna Le Coste Barolo 2007.

This famous vineyard has been making some of the best wines in Barolo for close to one hundred years. Some of the first Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo came from this vineyard and Luca has managed to buy grapes from this plot for the first time.

It is a beautiful wine and I can’t wait to see it develop over the next two decades.

With holidays over, it is going to be a busy month ahead.

A wine cellar is more than just a wine cellar: it shows our journey through life….

Last week I was looking through my cellar (I do not catalogue and prefer to put wines in and forget about them) and reminiscing about all the different wines, wine styles and varieties that I have put in there over the last decade and a half. The vast majority of my cellar is Italian, split roughly 40% from the North, 30% from the Central and 30% from the South of Italy.

The Cellars of Monsanto

Over this fifteen year period my preferences for wine have changed markedly. I have also fallen in love with certain regions and styles before falling out of love and now after fifteen years, falling back into love with those wines. It is amazing the changes you go through.

The perfect example of this is Brunello di Montalcino. When I was fresh out of University, my favourite wine was Brunello di Montalcino and a good proportion of the Brunello in my cellar was from these days. It peaked around the 2001 vintage and therefore in my cellar are the likes of Casanova di Neri, Fanti, Fuligni, Castelgiocondo, Banfi and Mastrojanni. These wines are now just entering their drinking window.

However it did not take long for my preferences to change and I found that a couple of years later, I had a preference for Chianti Riserva over Brunello and this continued up until recently. Hence, I have put a lot of different Chianti Riserva from 2004 and 2006 in my cellar over the last five years.

There also also some wines in there that I would never think about putting in my cellar today. I love Barbera d’Alba and have a major preference of it compared to Barbera d’Asti. However, in those early years I put more Barbera d’Asti in there without knowing the major differences between the two. I am sure that I will enjoy the Barbera d’Asti but looking back at it now, I wish it was bottles of Barbera d’Alba as I know I would have got far greater enjoyment from them.

Fifteen years ago the wines of Southern Italy did not exist in my world. Today it is the exact opposite. Now Nerello Mascalese from Mt Etna, Aglianico from Basilicata and Campania, Negroamaro and Primativo from Puglia and Gaglioppo from Calabria are front and centre in my own cellar. I can’t wait to see how the wines I have put to sleep in the last years will develop in the next decade.

My cellar has also witnessed my life journey over the last fifteen years: and what an amazing journey it has been. Fifteen years ago, I had just finished a couple of degrees at University and entered the wine world fresh and eager to learn. Whilst I have grown up in and around wine, being able to work with it almost every day of the week has given me a different perspective of it and I could not think of a life not revolved around wine.

As the years have passed, my life and cellar have developed along a constant line and length. Whilst finishing University (literally the last few weeks of it) I met my future wife and it was in those early years of our relationship that we started to head to Italy travelling. Those were also the years that my cellar started to develop a strong Italian line.

When we married, I was given some amazing wines as gifts and these wines have a special spot in my cellar. The birth of my two beautiful daughters (born in 2007 and 2010)  has meant extra German Riesling and Vintage Port so they can drink it with their children.

My cellar and also the journey through life is always changing, with ebbs and flows, and differences in what we like and prefer. I am sure in the next ten or twenty years time this will continue and I can’t wait to see where both will be in another decade or so.

The time as come: Carlton into a final and I am going!!!

I will be wearing my Carlton beanie for the next three days and maybe even longer if we win!! For those outside Australia, click on link to find out more http://www.carltonfc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/4311/newsid/122964/default.aspx

The game is on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm and if we win and beat our arch rival Essendon, I will be celebrating with Champagne and Florentine T-Bone on my weber (see below 🙂 for dinner Sunday night.

My pet hate: great BYO restaurants and cheap plonk…

Let’s be honest, in regards to the food and wine industry, running a restaurant would be the hardest gig. It takes a brave individual to take the plunge and open a restaurant. When you consider the hours, pressure on family time and ultimately, the end profit, it makes running a successful restaurant as easy as walking across a tight rope in Port Melbourne (ie damn near impossible).

Then to take it one step further, one of the main ways restaurants can actually make some money to pay wages, rent, etc is by selling wine. There is not much money to be made in food. Some restaurants sacrifice profit for the love of their customers and allow individuals to Bring their Own Wine to be enjoyed in a restaurant. This is a gutsy move and not many restuarants can pull it off long term.

If I wanted to run a successful restaurant, the temptation NOT to offer BYO would be pretty strong. As a business decision, it is CRAZY to offer BYO. However, I am glad that there are some restaurants that offer the privilege of being able to bring your own bottle to their restaurant.

Hence, we should not abuse this privilege that BYO restautants offer. I am not talking about your cheap Chinese suburbian BYO restaurant nor local Pizzeria that gives you tumblers to drink your wine out of. I am talking about those fine dining restuarants that go the extra yard with food, service and good glassware. By allowing BYO it means that you can bring that special bottle to be drunk with food you can not simply cook at home.

In the UK, there is actually a ‘BYO Wine Club’ that has been set up as a business (click here to read more http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/483384/byo-wine-club-debuts-in-uk-restaurants ) and whilst I do not agree with everything, it is interesting to read their ‘Club Rules’:

Do not bring an open bottle of wine unless agreed with the restaurant in advance.

Do not bring homemade wine or boxed wine. Only commercially made wine in a sealed bottle is permitted.

Do not bring beer, cider, alcopops or spirits. Only wine and champagne are permitted.

Do not ask restaurants to allow BYO on non-Club days or times — they don’t like that.

Do not nip out to the off license during your meal to purchase more wine — it’s just bad form.

BYO Etiquette

While not steadfast rules, the following guidelines reflect proper BYO etiquette.  Please bear them in mind when visiting participating restaurants:

Endeavour to bring wines on par with at least some of the wines on the restaurant’s own list. If you feel the need to bring a truly inexpensive bottle, it’s best to do so at a comparably inexpensive restaurant.

Whenever possible, try to avoid bringing the same wine that is on the restaurant’s list.

We encourage you to peruse the wine list whilst at participating restaurants. Owners and managers have spent a lot of time and effort putting them together and you might find some hidden gems that you want to try should you return on a non-Club day.

Consider offering the sommelier a taste of your wine — it’s just a nice thing to do.



Quality restaurants in Melbourne that allow BYO (places like Matteo’s, Scopri, Mister Bianco, France-Soir, etc) don’t do this so you can enjoy a bottle of Yellowtail or Brown Brothers Moscato with your meal. Please don’t abuse the privilege: bring a bottle that justifies their BYO offer.