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Wednesday 24 November 2021

Wine trend-setter heads straight to funky town

  • Kevin McCarthy has been an influential winemaker for decades, at labels including T'Gallant and Quealy, and as a pioneer of pinot gris/grigio styles in Australia.
  • Now the self-proclaimed "wine rebel" is branching out in a new direction with a range of alternative varieties from Mildura under the MANDI label. 
  • The labels tell the story of these out-there skin-contact wines; they look as if they were drawn by a stoned graffiti artist in a Melbourne laneway. 
  • Taught by the masters in Alsace, France and Collio, Italy, McCarthy has always been a risk-taker. 
  • At T’Gallant, on the Mornington Peninsula, he released his first pinot grigio and the Aussie Pinot G revolution was underway.
  • Kevin McCarthy started T'Gallant with his wife, fellow winemaker Kathleen Quealy, back in 1988. His daughter. Celia, is the MANDI marketing manager, keeping things in the family.

  • McCarthy continues to combine the best of old world tradition with Australia’s culture of innovation, be it a natural approach, extended skin contact, or establishing a new variety. 

  • For the past 20 years he's travelled Victoria and South Australia looking for special vineyards. He considers the Murray-Darling, unsung workhorse of the Australian wine industry, the most important region for him outside of his Mornington Peninsula home.

  • The initial MANDI releases (all $25 or under) are a a fresh and vibrant 2021 pinot grigio (obviously), a wild 2021 fruilano and a funster 2021 sangiovese. 

  • Coming in 2022: picolit, ansonica, favorita fiano garganega, refosco, ribolla and moscato giallo. 

  • MANDI, spelt in capitals for extra street cred, celebrates the natural sunshine and limestone soils of Mildura - with a punk edge. Fruit is sourced from two of the best vineyards in the region: Chalmers and Pasult. 

The cellar door will be in funky Fitzroy in Melbourne: a Gertrude St space shared with Art, Design and Fashion. 

“Simply put, the Mildura region is not only a wonderful environment primed to produce wonderful, unexpected wine - it’s also a place of genuine spiritual and cultural importance to us," McCarthy says. 

"A world of zeal and interconnection between us locals and our friends over the oceans, all working to keep our diverse stories and traditions alive, together.”

MANDI is available via Mandi.Wine for delivery Australia wide, as well as at Blackhearts and 
Sparrows, Wine Republic, Armadale Cellars and Different Drop. 

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