Winemaker Profile: Sandro Mosele

26 Feb
Sketch by La Donna del Vino

Sketch by La Donna del Vino

Sandro Mosele is the distinguished winemaking authority of Port Phillip/Kooyong Estate in the Mornington Peninsula. I became acquainted with this gentleman after his colleague, the lovely Tessa Brown, noted that our ancestors hailed from the same town of Asiago in the Veneto region of northern Italy. I can’t exactly describe the bonding phenomenon that happens when you meet someone from the same town as your ancestors. The effect is twofold if you have actually been there and feel that warm fuzzy connection with the homeland. Ultimately a mutual level of respect is established and you can look at your newfound buddy from across the room and give that knowing nod of, “Yeah, you’re OK.”

After creating that initial connection with Sandro, I decided it was safe to reel off some questions in an attempt to gain more of an understanding of his past, likes, inspirations and dreams.

LDdV: Sandro, you and I bonded because of this little town called Asiago. Considering it is so near to Bassano del Grappa, do you consider yourself a Grappa connoisseur because it is undeniably ‘in your blood’?

Sandro: I do enjoy grappa, but unfortunately I rarely get the chance to. I try to have the occasional glass with my father and savour it on these moments.

LDdV: What other aperitifs or digestives do you like to have?

Sandro: I love Amaro and particularly the Amaro Lucana. I also enjoy Tariquet Armagnac and the Salers Gentiane. I recently tried a Barolo Chinato with you at one of your Bibemus dinners, which I found very interesting [it was Cappellano].

LDdV: What is your favourite style of wine (ie: Burgundy, Barolo, Bordeaux, etc)? What food would you pair it with?

Sandro: I like many varied and different wines. It’s very hard to split Burgundy (both red and white) and Barolo. Other wines that I like to drink include Manzanilla and Amontillado sherries, Aglianico from Barile, Chianti as well as quirkier styles like Pecorino and Dolcetto. Gosh, I haven’t even mentioned German Rieslings and Champagne. That selection above covers most of the food bases. Having said that I greatly enjoy freshly caught fish, simply prepared with a glass of white Burgundy. It’s also hard to beat home-made pasta with Chianti or Barolo and selvaggina…the list goes on.

LDdV: If you could make wine in any part of the world, where would you be and why?

Sandro: If I was to be making wine in another part of the world, it would be very hard to choose between Piemonte and the Côte d’Or. Piemonte would perhaps get the nod because the food is so much better there.

LDdV: How long have you been making wine for?

Sandro: This will be my 19th year. My first vintage was with Sergio Carlei in 1994.

LDdV: Who are your most respected and admired people in the wine industry today and historically?

Sandro: There are many winemakers I respect and I certainly look up to legends like Henri Jayer. However I am more and more impressed with a number of Australian winemakers because of their adaptability and belief in continual improvement.

LDdV: What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Sandro: 1. As a winemaker, the most important thing is to know when to do nothing. 2. As a business manager, understanding the difference between being a wine producer and an alcoholic beverage producer. The former strives for quality and requires patience in establishing a return. The latter concentrates purely on financial return.

LDdV: Do you have a favourite quote?

Sandro: “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken.” – Oliver Cromwell. This always helps one keep a clear mind.

LDdV: Did the winemaking career come naturally?

Sandro: For me it just happened. One thing led to another and I met the right people and things grew from there.

LDdV: Do you consider yourself lucky to be doing what you’re doing?

Sandro: I feel very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. I’m lucky to not consider this my job, but rather just the thing I do. I also feel very fortunate that I can concentrate on quality first and foremost.

LDdV: What wine(s) do you have stowed in your cellar that you are most looking forward to drinking?

Sandro: If I had to name one it would probably be the 1993 La Tache.

LDdV: Having attended one of Bibemus’ wine club dinners, what is exciting you about Italian wine these days?

Sandro: I feel Italy is far less well known or understood than Australia. We all recognize the classics but there are many wines to explore in Sicily, Friuli and the like that can be amazing. Italy has incredible diversity that I am still discovering. This is where I find its pleasure.

LDdV: What was your favourite wine of the Bibemus Barolo night?

Sandro: The 1996 Conterno Cascina Francia was absolutely singing and was a remarkably detailed and alluring wine. The 2006 Massolino Margheria was a very close second, which in time may well rival the Conterno.

LDdV: Which of your wines are you recently impressed with and why?

Sandro: I am very happy with the 2010 Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir. This wine is the first which we have aged in botte and the result has been very enlightening. The wine has more power but hasn’t lost any of its delicacy and the fruit is also much more savoury and satisfying.

I must have been inspired by Barolo…yet again!

LDdV Tasting Note:
2010 Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir RRP $53.00
Tasted on 6th Aug 2012. Source: Sample
Deep burgundy hue with a youthful violet rim.
The nose is unmistakably Pinot Noir with aromas of wild berries, hints of strawberries, earth and a pop of gun fire.
The palate has a super savoury, cured meat line, creamy mid-palate texture but immediately after heads in a more gravelly direction with the tannins. This wine has oodles of character, a nice portion of fatness to its fruit, with a rustic, gutsy side that I found immediately appealing. Perfectly suited to my dish of penne with a rich pork and pea ragu.


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