This is the fourth in a series of profiles of importers of Italian wines into Australia. Today we have Trembath & Taylor, with answers from Matt Paul. Trembath & Taylor also have the Sotto La Pergola blog I have written about back on October 12.
Q1 What is your business?
- Importers and distributors of Italian wine.
Q2 How long have you been importing Italian wines into Australia?
- The company was established in 1994 by Michael Trembath and Virginia Taylor.
Q3 How did your interest in Italian wines start?
- David Chapman, then sommelier at the Melbourne Wine Room, served me a glass of 1994 Brancaia Il Blu and I never looked back.
Q4 What kind of Italian wines do you focus on in your portfolio and why?
- We do business with a handshake, the old fashioned way. The wine has to be good, of course, but most important is the relationship between us and the grower. The fact that our portfolio is more central and northern concentrated reflects our preferred styles.
Q5 What Italian wines sell well out of your portfolio at the moment?
- Chianti Classico and Nebbiolo, with customers frequently asking for both wines with some age. Pinot Grigio is on the move, although I don’t think New Zealand Sauvignon need worry just yet.
Q6 What Italian wines do you find hardest to sell in Australia?
- Lambrusco is a challenge, but we sell Lambrusco. Real Lambrusco is dry, refreshing, great in summer and it’s place in Italian wine deserves representation. Its image has been ruined by the lolly water stuff that, unfortunately, is still available. But when people try real Lambrusco, they like it.
Q7 What do you think is the place of Italian wines in Australia, and is this changing?
- It’s always changing. Italy is an old wine producing country with the benefit of centuries of localised cultivation of specific grapes. But then much of the production is recent history: quality Chianti only began in the 1980’s. In Australia, it’s about adding another layer of diversity to our industry.
Q8 Recent years have seen significant increases in the number and diversity of Australian wines made from Italian grape varieties. What are your thoughts on Australian wines made from Italian varieties?
- The short answer: it’s in-fashion to plant varieties like Nebbiolo, but Australia is much better suited to exploring the potential of Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola and Negroamaro (to name a few).
Q9 Greatest Italian wine moment?
- Any dinner with the Colla family (preferably during truffle season!). Bruna is a great cook and the cellar is full of gems back to the 50’s. Wonderful family and an incredible history of classic Piedmontese winemaking.
Q10 What Italian wines are you most likely to drink at home?
- Nebbiolo is my favourite grape but I could drink Sangiovese everyday. Great with just about anything I like to cook.