The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

All Things Great and Glowing

a video of USQ Greenmarket

Market Walk from maya borenstein on Vimeo.

One of the things I like most about working at IWM (other than the obvious perks) is our proximity to the Union Square Greenmarket. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, no matter the season, I get to walk around and see, smell, touch, and occasionally buy and taste locally grown or produced food. It’s really swell. This Wednesday was rainy, but the stalls were still open, and the gray light made all the gorgeous fall produce glow like embers. I took my camera and snapped a bunch of pictures (which I then set to Broken Social Scene’s “Superconnected”). You’ll see my IWM colleagues Jenny and Brian if you look close. No gourds were harmed in the filming of this video.

Hong Kong Dispatch:

Debra Meiburg, woman of the world of wine

Debra Meiburg

Based in Hong Kong, Debra Meiburg is a celebrated wine journalist, TV personality, wine educator and in-demand speaker who pleases palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. Awarded Master of Wine, the highest wine industry honor, Debra has a serious tongue for wine, but her approach is a little tongue in cheek. Through her numerous wine-related pursuits, she is taking the everyday wine lover beyond the bottle to discover the intricacies of their own taste buds and thoroughly enjoy the pleasures of wine.  

At what point did you decide to pursue your MW certification?
Fifteen years ago, I was working as a professor of wine.  I was never so interested in science, but loved learning about soils, pesticides and wine theory.  This was the holy grail for me.  The day I stopped working and began pursuit of the MW was the most exhilarating. 

What don’t people know about Masters of Wine?
In short, how incredibly hard it is!  The MW attracts top tasters, but the difficulty in preparing written arguments for your positions, with consistency, is perhaps more challenging.  I was taught to think like a detective and argue like a lawyer.

After receiving your MW, what was the first project you wanted to work on?
Education was my focus.  It has developed into a sort of “edutainment,” which is an appealing way to introduce vineyards and winemakers.

What do you drink on an ordinary Wednesday night at home while watching TV?
When I’m relaxing, I prefer Pinot Noir and particularly Burgundy.  I also enjoy Barolo and often a sour, tart Chianti.  But I’m always working, so invigorating Mosel Riesling or Pinot Gris from Alsace or New Zealand keep me going. 

If not in the wine biz, what would you be doing?

I’d be a Cheese Instructor.  I love Epoisses in particular 

What is your advice to someone considering the path of MW?
It is a field of bon vivant, gourmet dining and conviviality.  But if you’re a banker or have a great job, don’t give it up.  Keep wine as a hobby. 

We know you like wine.  What is your guilty pleasure outside of wine?
Emergen C

Anchor Wine Blog Likes Barolo (and IWM)

A Tasting Experience

Would you buy a Barolo from this man?

Anchor Wine Blog came to our “Barolo Old and Young” tasting last Saturday and wrote a post about the experience. Illustrated with lots of photos, AWB’s post happily  captured the convivial and educational atmosphere we try to create at our tastings. The post includes tasting notes on all the wines served, but we think our favorite part are the many photos of Portfolio Manager John Camacho Vidal looking wicked suave.

Thank you, AWB, and we do hope you return very soon.

Drinking on the Job

another day at IWM

When I arrived home from IWM last night, my roommate asked me how work was, as is the custom.  In reply, I gave a small anecdote from the day.  A colleague commented on my unusual combination of beverages that lay before me: water, Diet Coke, and a glass of wine.  Telling my roommate, I believed I was pointing out my strange taste in combinations, but my roommate saw it differently. She immediately exclaimed, “You’re drinking wine at work!”

I thought to myself, well, yes, of course!

The wines we tasted yesterday afternoon were three wines featured in our Cellar Selections from Waters Winery.  Before the tasting, I was given information on each wine’s flavor profiles, the producer, and varietal distribution.  As I was reading, I noticed a small group of co-workers forming behind my desk.  The tasting had begun!

Each of our tastings happens in a similar manner.  First, our Wine Acquisitions Director, Christy Canterbury, sends an email naming the wines that will be opened and kindly reminds us to BOG (Bring Your Own Glass).  Then we gather and we each pour small tastes of the wine, give our own perceptions of the wine, and confirm certain details of production.  It’s a very casual but collaborative effort that enables me to understand the different ways people can experience the same wine.  It also provides me with the ability to relate to the wine, understand it, and use my experience to better inform my clients of what to expect when they open a bottle.

Wine is so much about personal experience and personal flavor profiles.  It is impossible to describe a wine in its entirety having never experienced its taste or smell.   For Portfolio Managers at IWM, drinking wine is essential to helping our clients in the best way possible. And for me personally, it’s also a great, big, delicious perk.

Go-To-Wine Tuesday

Sartarelli 2008 Verdicchio Tralivio

It’s autumn, and I’m drawn to rustic harvest treats.  Apple cider, salted caramels, and pumpkin pie are all seasonal staples, but this year I’m obsessively drawn to butternut squash filled homemade pasta—specifically Agnolotti.  Sometimes after working nightly events in the IWM studio, we’re lucky enough to score some leftover pasta from the night’s celebration.  Alberto is our in-house pasta-making Sous-Chef, and his works are always delicate pasta pods of perfection.  I recently took home a large container of butternut squash pasta goodness and have been eating it for every meal for the past week. I’m delighted in this perk.

Knowing that I had a new wine to try, the Sartarelli 2008 Verdicchio Tralivio, I chose to make as its complement butternut squash Agnolotti with sage, butter and amaretto sauce. I decided that would pair the Verdocchio and the Agnolotti, even though the pairing was sure to be unusual and quite possibly a terrible one.  I like to live dangerously, at least in terms of gastronomy.

Luckily, I was wrong, and I thoroughly enjoyed my fall favorite with the luscious Verdicchio from Le Marche. Under $25, the wine was surprising citrusy on the nose, and it showed bright acidity in juxtaposition with a velvety smoothness with notes of apricot and nuts. It was a delicious, very odd mix of flavors and textures, which is the exact reason it was such a great pairing for my pasta. The acid and citrus notes cut right through each bite, refreshing my palate and enhancing the buttery, creaminess of the pasta itself.  I didn’t expect a success, yet I had one, however serendipitously.

Previous Go-to-Wines:

Castello Fageto’s 2008 Rosso Piceno

2008 Girlan Sauvignon  “Indra”

keep looking »