The Ellis Team goes to Italy

James Ellis
Le Monde

Last week the Ellis team took a trip to Italy, to see our friends at Le Monde. Read about our Purchasing Manager, Richard's experience below. It sounds wonderful doesn't it?!

We arrived at Marco Polo Airport on Monday, having flown in on a smooth flight over the Swiss Alps. The day had been wet and the clouds were low with Venice appearing to us shortly before we landed. After a very long queue waiting for our hire car we made our way out of Venice and along the motorway directly to Vigneti Le Monde in Friuli where we would meet with our host Massimo Furlan.  

Massimo greeted us all with open arms and a big smile and took us around the winery where lunch was being served to us outside by the swimming pool, we were met there with a warm smile from a very familiar face and friend to the business Paola Antonaci. Prosecco was flowing as the delicious food was being served and the air was filled with chatter and laughter from our guests.  

That evening we took our hire car and followed Massimo along the country roads and motorways to Vittoria Veneto, Treviso (which was quite a challenge to follow an Italian driver who thinks of indicators as more of a car's fashion accessory rather than an actual purposeful means of telling other drivers where you are going on the road. Massimo's reaction to this was “You English are too polite”). Here we enjoyed a beautiful meal at Restorante Le Macine overlooking the Italian Alps and watching the sun disappear behind them. We tasted through all of the Le Monde wines as we ate through the several courses consisting of beautiful lamb chops, snails, mushrooms & polenta and crème brûlée before leaving for the winery again in good spirit with our tummies full and under a full moon, back across the Italian countryside!

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The next day and after a great sleep we met again with our host Massimo and made our way back to Venice and Marco Polo Airport. The fascinating thing is that at this particular airport, you take the lift downstairs to the water jetties where boats await passengers for transport across the water to Venice. Massimo did not disappoint us as we were whisked off in a private water taxi (often called Motoscafi) splashing our way in the beautiful sunshine across the lagoon and into the narrow waterways of Venice. I recalled the James Bond movies and in particular Casino Royale! Venice did not disappoint from its beautiful buildings, bridges and people, there is something amazing about this place and unique in the world. Another great lunch was again hosted by our ever smiling and considerate host Massimo and several courses later we walked it off enjoying the sights around St Mark’s Square before departing again by Motoscafi to the airport and back to the winery for lobster tagliatelle and evening drinks!

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The next morning we were back at the winery for a tour with Massimo and a tasting sessions of the wines. The winery itself is 17th century and has passed through different hands where in 2008 it was purchased by the Maccan family. It is in fact under the charge of Alex Maccan (son) and after a huge investment, it now boasts 104 hectares of land which is a considerable increase from the original 16 hectares originally purchased. Nothing has been spared at Le Monde in their endeavour to create fantastic wines. The state of the art winery can even be controlled remotely from an app on a mobile phone meaning that wherever the winemaker is in the world, they can control and oversee the vinification process. The tour took us from the highly polished stainless steel tanks upstairs to the modern and bespoke temperature controlled cellars below with the wines ageing in barrel and then back up to the top floor to the beautiful tasting room. This room has been featured in ‘Sommelier Heaven’ – Paolo Basso, as part of one of the greatest wine tasting rooms of the world! Our host once again took us on a journey through the wines, the wine making process and the outlook for Le Monde’s future where Massimo anticipates an increase in production from 700,000 bottles per annum to 1,000,000 bottles by 2023. 

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The wines are very impressive and this shows as evidence of the investment and modern process used to create serious yet enjoyable wines of great quality and interest.  

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We left the winery (sadly) and headed for yet another full lunch in Treviso before heading back to the airport and our departure to Gatwick with nothing left but fantastic memories of our trip together to the heart of Friuli and enjoyment of the best in Italian hospitality. Thank you Massimo!  

My star wine is Pinot Bianco! Gold Lemon in colour, notes of candied lemon and stone fruit on the nose, round in the mouth with good weight, ripe peaches and creamy notes from the 6 months that the wine enjoys ageing on lees and a hint of hazelnut from the 3% aged in barrique, an outstanding wine!

View Le Monde's wines here.