WTF is MDI Wines?

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MDI Wines are made by Kevin McCarthy, husband of the famous Kathleen Quealy. MDI stands for Murray Darling Italy, all of the grapes have deep Italian roots and are sourced from vineyards near Mildura. The famous Chalmers vineyard in Merebin, the other is the lesser known yet still very interesting Pasut Vineyard in Sunnycliffs.

This pack includes 1 x 750ml bottle of the following and is available at a significant discount so you can try them all! 

MDI Wines Picolit 2021 - Single bottle price $29

Picolit is an obscure grape variety most widely planted in Friuli, right at the North Eastern corner of Italy along the Slovenian border. Said to be difficult to grow, with very low fruit yields per vine. It is most often made into a dessert wine called Passito, though Jancis Robinson noted in 2006 that it was being illegaly blended with Verduzzo for table wine, due to supply and demand issues surrounding Picolit grapes themselves.

These grapes were grown on the Pasut vineyard, and the wine spent 22 days on skins in open vats, before being pressed to old oak, with lots of lees contact and full malolactic fermentation. It pours a deep gold colour and smells like stewed pear, quince, marshmallows and vanilla - it's a really exotic, interesting nose. The palate is medium bodied, savoury/minerally and quite stemmy - straw, twigs and a smidge of honeysuckle, grapefruit and a little grip in the dry finish. Very long grapefruit peel aftertaste. Really, really interesting booze for the adventurous. 

MDI Wines Ansonica 2021 - Single bottle price $29

Ansonica or Inzolia is a relatively obscure variety in Australia. In Italy it's used to make Marsala on Sicily or it pops up a little bit in parts of Tuscany. These grapes were grown on the Chalmers vineyard. The juice spent 17 days on skins, before being pressed to barrel with lots of lees and full malolactic fermentation. 


It pours a very pale gold colour with grapefruit, mandarin and orange on the nose, it's delicate, but bright and fresh. The palate is medium bodied and velvet-smooth. The citrus mix that the nose promised is there up front, vibrant and juicy, with some gentle spice in the background. A very long, soft dry citrussy finish. Lovely drinking, it's so poised and polite. 

MDI Wines Moscato Giallo 2021 - Single bottle price $29

Moscato Giallo has to be the "if you know, you know" grape of the late 2010s and early 2020s. So often it is associated with sweet wine, and it can be difficult to hand sell because of the trauma that so many ordinary "Moscato" wines have inflicted on the palates of many. When we sell wine in the shop, we pretty much conduct a mini-interview with people - asking them questions about what their occasion or intended consumption of a drink is about, and we then guide our customers towards what we think will fit best. So many times we have come to the conclusion that a Moscato Giallo wine was appropriate for the time, and suggested it only to have people reply "oh I don't like sweet wine!" Friends, the modern MG is anything but sweet! 

14 days on skins then pressed gently to barrel for a small sleep, lots of lees contact and full malolactic fermentation. It pours a golden bronze colour and smells incredible; big aromas of lychee, musk stick, melon, pineapple, grapefruit. The palate is medium bodied, plush in texture and so incredibly soft. Heaps of grapefruit, and melon up front, then a little stonefruit, spice, musky slightly grippy, DRY finish. Delightful. 

MDI Wines Refosco 2021 - Single bottle price $29

Refosco is another family of grapes that's not very common in Australia, picking up on the theme of MDI Wines yet?! While Kevin hasn't stated which of the eight Refoscos are used here, we assume that it's the same Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso that Patrick Underwood of Little Reddie used, given the same fruit source. It is most widely planted in the NE corner of Italy and Slovenia, where it makes dark broody table wine. 

This wine spent 11 days on skins with regular plunging before being pressed to old oak for a short rest before bottling. It pours a deep inky purple with a bright lively rim. It's big and exuberant to sniff; cherries, berries, lavendar, green herbs and a little chocolate. The palate is rich, plush and slurpable; full of cherries and berries - with a little tartness, chocolate, then a peppery, herby, powdery fine tannin driven finish. It's a ripper of a drink, it's a bit like a band you are really familiar with - let's call them the "Modern Australian Dry Reds" playing a cover of someone else's song during a live set. Gee that was wordy. Familiar, but a little different.  

MDI Wines Ribolla Gialla 2021 - Single bottle price $29

Ribolla Gialla is famed in western Slovenia / north east Italy where some producers like Gravner and Radicon have created cult wines by using oxidative techniques and/or extended time on skins, which Kevin has clearly drawn inspiration from. This Ribolla spent six months on skins, then had another short sleep in old French oak.

It pours a pale gold with a slight green tinge. Delicate orange blossom, rose petal, tomato vine and blackberry aromas. Far livelier in the mouth than the nose suggests, more of the blossom and florals, with a curious twangy blackberry pop, and a long savoury, slightly grippy dry finish. The black fruit vibe that pops up in Ribolla I find so darn compelling. 

MDI Wines Favorita Fiano Garganega 2021 - Single bottle price $24

Favorita is a white grape grown in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. It has an interesting history, plantings seem to be on the decline as the popularity of Arneis and Chardonnay puts pressure on the existing vines in a region where space is at a premium. According to Oz Clarke it was once used as a grape to blend with Nebbiolo to soften out the astringent tannins that Nebbiolo can bring to a wine. Makes sense to us! This wine is 70% Favorita, with the rest being made up of the more common Fiano, and the increasingly popular Garganega grape which is used to make Soave DOC wines. 

All three parcels of the fruit were destemmed and fermented together, spending over 190 days on skins. Only the free run juice from this ferment was used, the pressings were retained for some other wine Kev has planned and we cannot wait to see it. It's very pale in colour, and offers big floral aromas, blossom, lavender, rose hip, talc, lawn clippings and lime. The palate is very fine and light, bursting with floral limey flavours above a layer of sea mist, toast and nuts. Very long, dry savoury nutty aftertaste. Absolutely incredible drinking at this price. 

MDI Wines Nero d'Avola Rose 2021 - Single bottle price $24

Nero d'Avola is a Sicilian grape variety that's becoming more and more prevalent in Australia. It works well in dry red style table wine, Pet Nat Rose, chilled reds and in this case Rose. It grows best in a warm climate and requires significantly less water than other red table grape varieties. It's easy to see why more and more wines made with this grape are coming from Mildura, and given the Italian inspiration employed by MDI wines, it all makes sense.

This Rose was produced by destemming all of the fruit, then pressing to barrel for a wild ferment. It pours a very pale pink colour with a goldish hue. A very delicate nose, ripe strawberry, blackberry and herbs. The palate is also very delicate, strawberries & cream early before a herby whiff, then a super zingy sherbert dry finish with a little bit of powdery grip. It plays a pretty straight bat, but it is incredibly slurpable, fun dry Rose.