Il Modo was born from the dual passion Ray has for Italian wines and experimentation.
Italian grape varieties have a long history in Australian viticulture but have never quite achieved the distinction and recognition of the more famous French varietals. The delicious savoury food friendly nature of these Italian varietals coupled with the fact that they are generally more climate appropriate for our warming continent presented the perfect challenge.
Many Australian wine regions are warming to such an extent that the traditional French varieties have become marginal, too much sugar, not enough acid, yet the grape varieties from central and southern Italy depend on warm, dry conditions to effectively ripen and develop the rich structure and phenolics for which they are famous. So back in 2014 Ray and Maree, founders of Lethbridge Wines, identified that the Chalmers vineyards in Mildura and in Heathcote had planted a range of Italian varieties that they could experiment with. Many surprising requests were made such as ‘can you let the fruit hang a bit’ (to achieve more structure), ‘can you hand pick’, ( to enable incorporation of some whole bunches). Fortunately the Chalmers family were happy to be a part of the experiment.
When it came to winemaking we researched and experimented and discovered we could reveal the desired textural characteristics by embracing a more traditional means of production. Our Il Modo wines are fermented and matured in clay Amphorae, the type of vessels used for production and transportation of wine for millennia.
The shape of the amphorae facilitate a natural circulation in temperature during fermentation, allowing for subtle extraction and development of structure and flavour, while the clay material changes the way a wine interacts with oxygen during fermentation and maturation.
All our Il Modo wines spend time in amphorae and are bottled without fining or filtration, retaining a richer texture in both whites and reds.
The Il Modo wines display new ideas in partnership with traditional ethos. We believe that the results prove the endless and enduring possibilities of Australian wine.
The range includes Fiano, Greco, a Bianco white blend, Aglianico, Sagrantino, a Rosso red blend and for the first time in 2021 a red Frizzante Pet Nat style wine.