Domenic Mondillo. MONDILLO VINEYARDS
Mondillo’s vineyard is on a moderately steep hillside high in Bendigo. It has a great aspect and, to my eye at least, appears to be fairly frost-free. The vines look well-fed and are neatly trimmed. In fact, the whole property, including a stylish cellar door, looks orderly and well-polished. It makes sense that the wines are of an equally high standard.
Domenic Mondillo was born in Rhode Island in the US. The grandson of Italian immigrants, he grew up with a healthy appreciation for good wine and fine food. After earning a degree in culinary arts he moved to New Zealand and established a successful restaurant in Queenstown and ran it for nearly a decade. After gaining a viticulture and oenology qualification, Domenic and his wife Ally became involved in designing and developing vineyards throughout Central Otago.
They established their own vineyard at Bendigo in 2001. I have reviewed 32 Mondillo wines starting with the 2009 vintage. Nearly 50% have earned a score of 95-points or better. That is quite an achievement.
A luscious dessert wine with lime, apricot, mandarin blossom and a suggestion of honey supported by a line of vibrant acidity that perfectly balances the wine’s sweetness and prevents any suggestion of cloying. A bright, tangy wine that makes a great aperitif. (NZD $38)
From four rows in Mondillo’s sloping Bendigo vineyard. It’s a deeply-scented, concentrated pinot noir with ripe dark-fleshed plum, cassis, mixed spice, dark chocolate, wood smoke and nutty oak flavours supported by a backbone of ripe tannins. (NZD $125)