Apart from Pinot Noir (‘Holy Grail’ #1) Nebbiolo seems to be the only other grape variety whose wines cause people to cluster into little sects to wonder and argue over its characters and complexities - and occasionally its cost. The other acknowledged members of the worlds’s Premier League of grape varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Riesling and Chardonnay – just don’t evoke this phenomenon, these passions. This is why it’s regarded as the other ‘Holy Grail’; because that elusive challenge to make a great wine to rival those fabled reds of Piedmont’s Langhe has echoes of a similar yearning to emulate Burgundy’s greatest Pinots.
So why Nebbiolo and how is this quest going? There are various answers – various ways to answer this.
From day 1, the Venetian wines had a certain appeal to me. Admittedly, my half Veneto heritage had an important part to play, but it was more for the exclusivity of varieties, and particularly their methods which helped the intrigue. The fact that the Veneto is the biggest DOC producer (region wise), and whose winemakers are probably the most modernised in the country certainly struck a few chords too.
With almost a year into the development of La Cantina it was something we had to do.......and again, and again..........
Thursday 25th November 2010
It was inevitalble to visit our partners and to establish new relationships to further develop our portfolio of authentic Italian wines & liqueurs. There is so much more to just a bottle of wine. Each has a story to be told...
We spent a few weeks planning appointments, juggling destinations/regions and timeslots that were realistic and bearing in mind we needed to be fresh for each interaction. David, Tania (David’s wife) & I met up in Piemonte and i had the pleasure of being guest with the Brezza family in Barolo. A wine that David suggested was a must for the La Cantina shelves now means so much more... amazingly enough the wines are so much easier to recommend when you know from where they are given birth.
“Given the obvious quality of Strega, I would have been happy to accept the sight of rows of jars of essences…”
Friday November 19th 2010
The biggest surprise on a recent trip for much of October, which took in various wine regions of Italy, France and Portugal, was not the expected wonderful little winery discovery – although there were a few of them – as much as the profound eye-opening experience of a visit to the venerable liqueur and liqueur chocolate producer Strega. In their (very) unprepossessing plant across the road from Benevento’s main railway station, this remarkable institution remains firmly in the hands of the Alberti family and in the same place, some 150 years after they made their first bottle of Strega for sale.
The selection of Italian wines you find online at www.lacantinawines.com.au will, of course, have plenty unfamiliar names. Once we have had a chance to explain them and, especially if you can drop in to La Cantina to taste a few wines, you’ll see an array of possibilities. Each producer has something special about them. There are a number of the wines we think you may fall for immediately; delicious, beautifully made and authentic drinks in relevant categories and at really good values. The whole range of Lenotti wines are a revelation; the whites are fresh, authentic and realistically priced. The reds include a remarkable Bardolino, a wine quickly being taken up by customers and even our staff, as their dream lighter red and each of the others delivers strongly. They are regular award winners in Italy. You’ll have to see these affordable Veneto classics for yourself!
Coals to Newcastle- Why would we buy Italian wines in Australia?
Monday 19th July 2010
It’s not even a decade ago that I might have been challenged (to say the least) as to why I was daring/bothering to show Italian wines in tastings; “We don’t need them, Australia makes the world’s best wines – today’s paper said so…” etc, etc “Besides, isn’t it unpatriotic…”
Now that last one would get the sarky or glib response; “…and I spose you don’t drive a foreign made car, mate…” (etc, etc). The real point, however, was that while we had indeed not only established our wine industry here on a most technically and qualitatively competent base, but we also, no doubt, had at least a handful of world class wines. Only a handful mind. Australian wines though, we made Aussie wines. Almost nothing other than wines from (mostly) French grape varieties that had had totally dominated winemaking in Oz since (wine) time began. Barely an Italian variety in sight - let alone wines made in the lighter, more savoury (and dare I say it) food friendly fashion of Italian wines. Ours were, by definition full on and in the face – bold and confident, ripe, rich, and oaky. Obvious you might say? Even up to a very few years ago, those Italian varieties that had made an appearance were struggling with their novelty and identity.