The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

The IWM Winemaker Series featuring Sassicaia 1988, Salon 1988, Barolo 1988

Posted on | June 7, 2011 | Written by Chris Deas | No Comments

It’s that time of year when the white tents go up, corks are popped, and thousands descend on nation’s line-up of wine and food festivals throughout the country.  While some set the stage for a chugging contest with miles of smiling teeth the color of Grimace (few can match the denture staining platform of the ZAP Festival – Zinfandel Advocates and Producers), a selected few manage to balance the pleasures of the vine with a greater sense of calm.  Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic in the Berkshires would top that list, and it may be the best kept secret for New York enthusiasts (CT and MA residents as well). The Nantucket Wine Festival is perfectly executed each May. And then there’s the U.S. Open for oenophiles, the Aspen Food and Wine Classic now in its impressive 29th year.

This June 17th thousands of American gourmands will take over the former silver mining town of Aspen and turn it into the nation’s premier food and wine event.  There is a good chance you will see José Andrés walking through a late night party with an Iberico Jamon over his shoulder or Alvaro Palacios playing some flamenco as the midnight hours approach, IWM will in the meantime be preparing lunch and dinner with some of our most cherished craftsman/woman of the vine at The Little Nell.

This year’s IWM Winemaker Series will include more than five luncheons and dinners (which I have listed below for those interested).  Among the luncheon highlights is our lunch with Nicolas Joly of Coulée de la Serrant, who is a rare combination of Josko Graver meets Ales Kristancic (Movia), and a winemaker who takes the practice of biodynamics to extremes with his rich Savennieres.  We also have Cinzia Merli (Le Macchiole) pouring her miniscule production and Petrus-like Messorio, not a bad choice for washing done lunch in between seminars.

For the evening events, attendees to the Champagne Salon will receive a rare first taste (on American soil that is), of the 1999 before diving into the vintage gems of 1988 and 1983.  Then there is the rare Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia and Bodega Chacra dinner with Piero Incisa della Rocchetta featuring the 1988; yes, it is the wine that Maya references in “Sideways,” but unlike many depictions it is done with accuracy. While many critics and collectors are absorbed with the iconic and super-ripe 1985 Sassicaia, this wine is about finesse and elegance, the 1988 is in fact the house favorite of Tenuta San Guido (and on that note, many a Sassicaia whose vintage ends in the number 8 – 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, and now 2008).  In addition, Piero will be pouring his 2010 Cincuenta y Cinco; guests will be the first in the country to taste this pure, pre-phylloxera Pinot Noir delivered at just 11.4% alcohol.  Like the 1988 Sassicaia, this wine is about finesse and stands as a statement against over-extraction and high alcohol Pinot.

The IWM Winemaker Series at The Little Nell

Lunch with the Winemaker: The Vintage Barolos of Borgogno
Andrea Farinetti and the Barolos of Borgogno

When: Thursday, June 16th
Time: 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: IWM Cellars at The Little Nell
Guests: Limited
Special Guest(s): Andrea Farinetti of Borgogno
Wines: Borgogno Barolo Riserva and the Champagnes of Alfred Gratien

Vintage Champagne Salon and Delamotte Dinner
featuring fine Champagnes from the Historic Houses of Salon and Delamotte

When: Thursday, June 16th
Reception: 6:30-7:15 pm (Champagne and Oysters) at IWM Cellars
Dinner: 7:30-9:30 pm (Four Courses) at Montagna Restaurant
IWM Cellars (Reception), Montagna Restaurant Wine Room (Dinner)
Wines: Vintage Champagne Salon (1983 – 1999) and Champagne Delamotte

Lunch with the Winemaker: The Biodynamics Wines of Nicolas Joly (Coulée de la Serrant)
featuring Nicolas Joly and the
Savennières of Coulee de la Serrant

When: Friday, June 17th
Time: 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: IWM Cellars at The Little Nell
Special Guest(s): Nicolas Joly (Coulée de la Serrant)
Wines: Joly Coulee de Serrant, Savennieres Les Clos Sacres, and more

Winemaker Dinner: Vintage Sassicaia and Bodega Chacra Dinner
Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, the wines of Tenuta San Guido and Bodega Chacra

When: Friday, June 17th
Reception: 6:30-7:15 pm (Antipasti) at IWM Cellars
Dinner: 7:30-9:30 pm (Three Courses) at Montagna Restaurant
IWM Cellars (Reception), Montagna Restaurant Wine Room (Dinner)
Wines: Sassicaia (1988, 1999, 2006, 2007), Bodega Chacra (2007, 2009, 2010)

Lunch with the Winemaker: Super Tuscan Legend, Le Macchiole

Featuring Cinzia Merli and Paleo Rosso, Messorio, and more

When: Saturday, June 18th
Time: 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: IWM Cellars at The Little Nell
Special Guest(s): Cinzia Merli (Le Macchiole)
Wines: Le Macchiole Portfolio (Messorio, Scrio, Paleo Rosso, Paleo Bianco)



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