The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Tasting a Touch of the Wild with Three Wine Experts

Posted on | July 27, 2011 | Written by Janice Cable | No Comments

Island wines are hot. They’re terrific sellers at IWM, and people often request that we carry more of them. In fact, the wines of Sicilia were some of the biggest hits at VinItaly this past spring, and I tasted some crazy, delicious and crazy-delicious wines from the slopes of Etna, some of which will appear at a tasting this coming Saturday at our New York City location. Andrew, Michael and Evan are leading this  tasting called “Wild Island Wines: Sicilia, Sardegna and Corsica,” and I gave them a chance to talk about these wines in specific, wine tastings in general and what they might bring with them on a desert island.

What do you like best about the wines of Sicilia, Sardegna and/or Corsica? Are they really that wild?

Andrew: Value is one of the best things about island wines.  Also they are unique in character.  You really can’t compare them to wines from other regions because these islands have their own set of varietals and their own unique terroir.

Michael: These wines have character that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the world.  There’s an unfamiliar authenticity that rejuvenates the palate and opens the mind.

You’re serving meats and cheeses at the tasting, but what other foods do these wines pair with?

Evan: They are the perfect example of cultural and cuisine typicality in wine. If you are making seafood dishes of all kinds, a white or red from Sicilia, Sardegna, or Corsica are no-brainers.

Andrew: These are great barbecue wines.  Many of these wines have a nice smoky quality to them.

How do people prepare for a tasting? Is there anything they should or shouldn’t eat or drink before? Or any other tips?

Andrew: Definitely have a light breakfast.  Maybe some toast or a bagel.  You want to have something to soak up the wine going into your stomach.  It may be a tasting, but the wines sneak up on you real fast.  That being said, don’t eat too much as you will definitely want to sample the meats and cheeses.

Evan: No gum! No coffee one hour before hand. Water is good, but make sure to start with a sparkler to get the palate going.

Michael: What makes the experience valuable is when our guests have questions about the wines.  We love telling stories about producers and the rich history of an estate and how the wine came to be what it is.  It’s important to have a relationship or connection with a wine.  In other words, it’s a great feeling to know why you like or dislike a wine.

We’re talking island wines, so if you were stranded on a desert island, what two or three wines (any wines) would you take with you?

Evan: Rinaldi Barolo 1999. Soldera Brunello 1992, and Gravner Breg Anfora 2003.

Michael: Anything from COS, really.  Honestly, I feel really good every time I open a bottle.  My favorite is the Nero di Lupo made of 100% Nero d’Avola.  It’s unlike any Nero I’ve had.

Andrew: It’ll take me too long to decide. I’ll go with whisky.

Check out our weekly events page for ongoing tastings. We’d love to meet you.

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