The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside IWM, December 15-18, 2014: Everything is Delicious

Posted on | December 19, 2014 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

gravnerWinter is time to nestle into warm environs, all the better to eat and drink. That’s more or less what we did this past week on our blog! We finished the week with a recipe for Ossobuco, complete with wine pairings. Because no winter is complete without something sweet, we also gave you a recipe for IWM’s favorite flourless chocolate cake! We enjoyed a gorgeous $25 Rosso from Sicilia, and we sang the praises of winter whites, most specifically orange wines (which complement every season).

This week our Experts were in a French kind of mood. Garrett picked two beautiful wines from Domaine Lucien le Moine. David Gwo selected a gorgeous pair from Domaine des Lambrays. And RKO mixed it up a bit by picking one from Domaine Trapet and one from Bonneau du Martray.

Here’s to you snuggling, nestling, and enjoying your way through your penultimate weekend in 2014!


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Enjoying the Winter with Ossobuco and Winter Wines!

Posted on | December 18, 2014 | Written by David Bertot | No Comments

The weather this winter has been relatively warm, allowing for ideal shipping conditions to most of the country this hectic December. Early this week was in the low 50s, practically like a cellar! I’m welcoming the 20s and 30s, when IWM’s wine shipments slow down. My favorite part of the winter season is staying indoors and cooking hearty, amazing meals. A classic Milanese veal Ossobuco is a surefire way to warm up the mind, body, and soul this winter. My wife and I had this dish in Milan this past October, and it was better than anything I was possibly expecting. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Heat up a Dutch oven on high heat.

Dust eight seasoned veal shanks (center cut), 2 to 2 1/2 inches think, and sear in a little olive oil; set aside.

Lower heat to medium.

Add 2 chopped onions, 4 chopped ribs of celery, 2 chopped carrots, and 5 minced cloves of garlic to the Dutch oven, and sauté for 5 minutes in a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil.

Deglaze with half a bottle of a neutral tasting white wine (feel free to pour yourself a glass or 2).

Add 12 ounces of veal stock and a 14 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes.

Add the veal shanks back to the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.

Add rosemary, sage, thyme, and bay leaves as well as salt and pepper.

Cover the Dutch and put into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.

Set aside the shanks.

Reduce sauce by half; taste and re-season, if needed.

Serve over saffron risotto, drizzling the sauce.

Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Stick a 3 inch piece of rosemary in the shank bone for presentation and aroma.

Here are 3 simple tricks to add a tremendous depth to the flavor of the risotto:

  1. Instead of using chicken stock, use veal stock for more depth.
  2. Use bone marrow instead of butter.
  3. Increase the saffron threads by 50%.

Serves 4 to 6, with plenty of leftovers. If you are so inclined, broken down Ossobuco leftovers make an amazing filling for homemade raviolis.

Barolo is a spectacular choice for this classic Northern Italian dish. I highly recommend the 2007 Renzo Seghesio Barolo. I’ve enjoyed the 1996, 1998, 2004, and 2007 from Renzo Seghesio, and all of them were delicious. The freshness and zippiness of the 2007 will certainly complement this dish at first, but the complexity of the dish, and the wine’s development will finely sync as the meal progresses. There are also a few delicious Baroli from the stellar 2010 vintage available like the Massolino, but whichever you decide to pair with the Ossobuco you and your family will be happy.


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Torta Caprese, IWM’s Favorite Flourless Chocolate Cake

Posted on | December 17, 2014 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

1357_MEDIUM-300x272This lavish desert, which comes from IWM’s own kitchen, is nothing short of sinful.  The way the chocolate coats your tongue and lingers just long enough makes this dish the best end, or start, to any meal; the only way this dish can possibly be improved is by adding a taste of Ca’ dei Mandorli Brachetto d’Acqui.  The combination of strawberries and chocolate with a slight fizz is heavenly.

Here is the simple recipe for this decadent flourless chocolate cake!

Torta Caprese

9 oz. dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 c. butter
2 tbs. cocoa powder
1 c. granulated sugar
6 eggs, room temperature

1.  Preheat an oven to 310°F and line the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper.

2.  Slowly melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler.  In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together the melted chocolate mixture, the cocoa powder, and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, adding each egg after the first has been incorporated into the mixture.  Pour the mixture into the spring-form pan.  Make sure the mixture is level and smooth on top.

3.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.

4. Let cool and remove from spring-form. Serve to your favorite people. Expect praise and adoration interspersed among the happy sighs.


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Expert Picks: Domaine des Lambrays and…Domaine des Lambrays!

Posted on | December 17, 2014 | Written by David Gwo | No Comments

d gwoBetween the famed Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits rests the unsung village of Morey-St-Denis. Make no mistake: Morey-St-Denis is a formidable rival to its two marquee neighbors. The appellation has more Grand Cru acreage than Premier Cru, and its wines blend the characteristics of Chambolle and Gevrey, making them more rustic than Chambolle and less tannic than Gevrey. Morey is also much smaller than Gevrey and Chambolle, so its wines are rarer and harder to come by. Today, I want to introduce you to the historic and iconic estate Domaine de Lambrays.

Here’s the first thing you should know: Domaine de Lambrays essentially owns all of the Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, which is composed of three distinct vineyards, Meix Rentier, Les Larrets, and Les Bouchots. In addition to this near-monopole, the domaine also owns a handful of Premier Cru and Village level vineyards. The estate uses organic viticultural techniques, which avoid the use of pesticides and anti-rot chemicals. Technicalities aside, this domaine produces stunning Burgundy, both red and white. I picked a pair of wines that any serious Burgundy enthusiast should have in his or her cellar.

Domaine des Lambrays 2011 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Clos du Cailleret $134.99

Although they’re known for their reds, Domaine des Lambrays makes drop-dead gorgeous whites. This comes from the benchmark village of Puligny-Montrachet, one of the greatest appellations for white Burgundy. I had the opportunity to taste this wine a few weeks ago and was floored. As soon as I stuck my nose in the glass and before I even tasted I said to my colleagues, “This is going to be incredible.” The nose exploded with a blend of tropical and stone fruits backed by waves of white flowers, honey, and minerality. These notes carried through to the palate, but the experience was so much more. The mouth-feel was both palate coating and lively, with layers and layers of flavor that unfolded, even after the wine was gone. This is one of the best white Burgundy I’ve tasted to date.

​​Domaine des Lambrays 2011 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru $199.00

This is the domaine’s flagship wine, and it’s one of the best examples of Morey-St-Denis. This wine is fermented with the stems and stalks, and it sees about 50% new oak. This protocol explains the distinct smoky and peppery character that exists in this wine that, in combination with dark fruits and big structure, will allow it to grow immensely in complexity over time. While I have yet to have the privilege to taste a vintage example of this exemplary bottling, this one will surely impress down the road—it just requires a bit of patience.


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Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Graci 2012 Etna Rosso

Posted on | December 16, 2014 | Written by David Bertot | No Comments

graci-etna-rosso-sicily-italy-10437225I thought I knew about wines when I first started working at Italian Wine Merchants. Even as an engineering student at Florida International University, I was greatly interested in wine. Contrary to my academic advisor’s advice, I enrolled in Wine Technology. Needless to say, the concept of drinking wine in a classroom on campus at 21 years old appealed to me. Little did I know that the course was surprisingly challenging; it was not an easy A. The business students were spending more time on this class than some of their business classes. In fact, FIU has one of the best hospitality management programs in the country; with Miami being the backyard of southern wines and spirits, the facilities were beautiful.

Nevertheless, the seed was planted. As the years went on, I kept educating myself through tastings, books, and wine travel. When I moved up to NY, my wine education kicked into a higher gear. All of a sudden all sorts of new wines became accessible to me. Then I joined IWM in 2010, and my education was put into overdrive. Some of my fondest memories in this education of beautiful Italian wines are my discoveries of how powerful and interesting the indigenous wines of Italy can be.

Today I bring you the beautiful wine of Graci Etna Rosso 2012 made with the indigenous Nerello Mascalese grape, grown on the northern slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna, where viticulture dates back thousands of years. Graci’s parcel contains two hectares of ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines planted over a century ago. Graci practices viticultural techniques that require very limited intervention in the vineyards and in the in the cellar. This combination yields an amazing, pure expression of the rich volcanic island soils.

In the glass the wine is bright ruby red. The nose overwhelms with violets, roses, and peonies. The wine is crisp and firm on the palate, without being too tannic, with bright red cherry and subtle flavors. One thing I find particularly interesting about this wine is that is can be deceiving—please, allow me to explain. I once hosted a sit-down Saturday tasting at IWM, and the crowd agreed: it is soft and supple, yet it packs a punch when served with food. The wines stands up incredibly well with lamb accompanied with a mint sauce. Wine is a constant and humbling education and the Graci Etna Rosso 2012 is a welcomed addition to an ongoing education.


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