If I didn’t know better, I might speculate on Olek Bondonio being a Buddhist, he is and he isn’t. Olek’s energy permits him to be everywhere and nowhere, which is the fortunate happenstance which brought me to my first meeting with Sindi Mandiqi. Sindi is a young wine producer who works as Olek’s right hand woman in the production, and moonlights in a wine bar in Torino as well as having recently begun her own wine production in Olek’s cellar.
I had arranged to meet Olek this spring, and he wasn’t able to make it. Instead, Sindi welcomed me and took me through the cellar tasting. She was bottling her first Grignolino with a friend, and before departing she asked if I would be interested in tasting her wine. I enjoyed it, and she gave me a bottle to take on my way. The bottle was good in Prague, as well. [This comment may seem trivial, but after years of listening to complaints from clients and fellow importers on differences in wine temperament between romantic hilltop sunset tastings on holiday and the same wine at home, I like to underline that serious wine tastes equally good at the vineyard and several thousand kilometres yonder.]
This fall, I led a client tour through Piedmont and one of the visits was with Olek and Sindi, who were in the middle of vinifying just harvested grapes. Thank you for having us at this crucial time! We got to taste fresh musts from the previous week, as well as barrel samples. Sindi’s wines were impressive for such a young person, and they show talent. I am excited to have the privilege of showing them.