The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside IWM, October 20-13, 2014: Travels with Wine

Posted on | October 24, 2014 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

imageThis week began with the original wine teaching tool–the Pythagorean Cup. Is it a trick? Is it a treat? It’s certainly ancient and interesting. Read about it here, and learn how to make your own! The week ended with something else you can make–a recipe for Osso Buco, winter’s signature dish. In between, Jessica Catelli offered a sentimental take on a wine to enjoy all year long, the 2011 La Sala Chianti Classico. And best of all, David Bertot offered a travelogue of his time in Liguria, with plenty of pictures of the Italian Riviera!

In a rare departure, all of our experts gravitated to French wines. Playing well known against the under-the-radar estates, Garrett Kowalsky offered two picks from Louis Jadot on Monday, and on Thursday, he picked a pair from Chandon de Briailles. Robin Kelley O’Connor selected two very classic Champagnes to make your celebrations bright, Louis Roederer Crystal and Billecart-Salmon Blanc des Blancs Brut NV. And David Gwo experienced a wine epiphany and chose two lovely wines from Domaine Latour to explain it.

Cheers to you and your wine, and making the very best out of whatever this fall hands you!


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Osso Buco for Chilly Autumn Nights

Posted on | October 23, 2014 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

osso-bucco-w-saffrom-223x300A classic Milanese veal Osso Buco is a surefire way to warm up the mind, body, and soul this winter season.

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 two).

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 Osso Buco 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 have been able to enjoy the 1996, 1998, 2004, and 2007 vintages of this particular Barolo, and all of them are delicious. The freshness and zippiness of the2007 will certainly complement this dish at first, but the complexity of the dish and the wine with finely sync as the meal progresses.


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Expert Picks: Chandon de Briailles and…Chandon de Briailles!

Posted on | October 23, 2014 | Written by Garrett Kowalsky | No Comments

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiMany times in your life you will come across an incredible bottle of Burgundy from an unfamiliar estate, and you will ask yourself, “How have I never heard of this?” The fact is that many estates simply do not have enough property to make enough wine to find world-wide distribution. This obscurity can be a blessing, of course, because once you identify the wine and where you can find it, then you have located a hidden treasure. Take Chandon de Briailles, for example. Located four kilometers north of Beaune, Chandon de Briailles has been around since 1834, and this domaine makes some of my absolute favorite wines from Savigny, Pernand Vergelesses and Aloxe-Corton. However, you’ve probably never heard of Chandon de Briailles. It can be difficult getting your name on the international stage when you make little more than 4,000 cases among 13 different appellations. I am pleased to offer you two selections from this exceptional, under-the-radar estate.

Chandon de Briailles Pernand 1er Cru Vergelesses 2010 $47.50

Deriving from vines dating back to the 1950s, the fruit produced on this tiny two-acre parcel is chock full of intensity. With the crop level down 40% in 2010, almost every wine Chandon de Briailles made exhibits amazing concentration. Showing a deep ruby color, this ’10 Vergelesses offers a rich, palate-coating mouth-feel, though it never goes too far–all the while it maintains fresh fruit and a racy, spicy profile. Drink now 2015-2025.

Chandon de Briailles Corton Les Marechaudes Grand Cru 2010 $109.99

0.4 ha, or about 1 acre, is the size of the tiny Les Marechaudes plot this winemaker owns, but I assure you that Chandon de Briailles does quite a lot with very, very little. Unlike some monster Grand Crus from the Cote de Nuits, this ’10 Corton Les Marechaudes invites Burgundy lovers to enjoy some fairly young drinking. Extraordinary elegance shows as this wine swirls across your palate like a ballet dancer. Delicate in style and velvety in texture, this is a wine to fall in love with. Drink 2017-2030.


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Touring Liguria and Falling in Love with San Rocco di Camogli

Posted on | October 22, 2014 | Written by David Bertot | No Comments

image_3My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Italy, and we were overwhelmed with just how beautiful and magical this country is. Having been lucky to learn about Italian culture and wine from my time at IWM, I have been ecstatically awaiting a visit to Liguria for over four years. I had heard all these stories about how delicious the seafood is, how elegant and wholesome the people are, how impossibly beautiful the scenery is. As you can tell in these pictures, Liguria over-delivered and the four days we spent in this region was a was a very special time in our Italian road trip.

image_5Let’s start with the charming little town of San Rocco di Camogli. We were blown away by how perfectly intact all the traditions and the buildings were. This gorgeous little village is perched on top of Monte di Portofino overlooking the Ligurian Sea and the fishing village of Camogli. Sergio Esposito kindly pointed us in the right direction and recommended we stay at a quaint, family-run bed and breakfast called La Rosa Bianca di Portofino. You park your car and walk about 15 minutes through a 2-meter-wide paved trail, 200 meters above the Mediterranean, through a national park to get to La Rosa. Technically, it is a 15-minute hike, but it always took longer with stops at the bakery, an aperitivo, and several pauses for a gaze into the blue. Along the way you pass a beautiful little church, a mouth-watering bakery with superb goods, charming houses with incredible views, and a handful of warm, polite locals. It was surreal to wake up in a place like this.

image_4We were very blessed with weather and we had two entire beach days. We hiked down the mountain about 40 minutes to a place called Punta Chiappa, where we caught a ferry to a medieval abbey built by the Benedictines of Monte Cassino. We had a lovely beach day, inclusive of a platter of tasty fried seafood served with local Vermentino. The last thing I thought I was going to do was swim in Northern Italy in October; I am so glad I brought my swim trunks. It was a little chilly, but the water was crystal clear blue that I’d never even imagined.

The over-stimulation of the senses, the culture, and the whole of the Italian Rivera’s physical presence make this region an unforgettable place. It is very simple to fall in love with this part of the world. I am very much looking forward to the next trip!


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Expert Picks: Billecart-Salmon and Louis Roederer

Posted on | October 22, 2014 | Written by Robin Kelley OConnor | No Comments

Robin_B_8.6.14_72dpiThe holidays feel distant, but they’re fast approaching. With this in mind—as well as the fact that an excellent Champagne is delicious with food—I chose a pair of classic Champagnes today.

One of the great Champagne houses, Billecart-Salmon is a medium-sized family-owned property, founded in 1818 by Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, in the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay. This estate is perfectionist, demanding nothing short of excellence, shrouded with a bit of mystery as it approaches the firm’s 200th celebration. Billecart-Salmon’s house style whether non-vintage, vintage, blanc de blancs, rosé or deluxe cuvée has been a perennial favorite among sommeliers and those in the wine trade, and the Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve famously stands tall among all the non-vintage cuvées of the most famous champagne houses.

The name Louis Roederer resounds with the name Cristal. One of the wine world’s most revered wines, Cristal Champagne sits in a standalone category for prestige, quality and pure class. Cristal was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II when the Tsar asked the house of Louis Roederer to reserve the best cuvée for him every year. To distinguish the Cristal Cuvée, Roederer bottled the champagne in a flat-bottomed, transparent-lead crystal. This tradition has now lasted 138 years and it shows no sign of changing.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs NV $84.95

Harmonious and very well balanced, the Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs NV is the epitome of the greatness of Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay. Straw yellow in color, this wine offers tiny bubbles and a beautiful mousse with continual effervescence. The bouquet is steely and fresh, with hints of white flowers, strong notes of citrus including lemon and lime, as well as pear, apple, white peach, hints of ginger and biscuit. Its refreshingly clean palate shows razor-sharp precision complemented by ripe, refreshing acidity, while its citrus notes come through with pineapple, ripe pear, Meyer lemon. Tangy, complex and energetic, this is a Champagne for all occasions that will pair perfectly with a multitude of food dishes.

Louis Roederer Cristal 2005 $209.00

The Louis Roederer Cristal 2005 is a Champagne approaching its tenth birthday. It’s a wine so complex, concentrated and classy that in the words of Louis Roederer’s current Cellar Master, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, it’s a wine of “pure pleasure and a sophisticated gastronomic wine…both powerful and delicate, combining subtlety and precision.” This 2005 cuvée is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. As with all of Roederer’s Champagnes, this bottling of Cristal, produced only in the best vintages, was aged six years in the Roederer cellars before dégorgement. It is a timeless masterpiece.


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