The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: San Polo and Antinori

Two expert selections from Perry Porricelli

1972I like to update my clients when I have some wine at a dinner that I really enjoyed. This week, I entertained a few old friends who introduced me to a couple of potential new ones. Needless to say, the whole experience in IWM’s Vintage Tasting Room worked to a “T.” There is nothing like having an intimate meal in that room—it’s cloistered, quiet, and special. The wine, of course, really made the evening, and two in particular I wanted to share with you today.

Drinking now:
San Polo Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $55.00

After decanting for about an hour or so, this wine opened up with a medley of different flavors. Wild black cherries, and other dark fruits I couldn’t identify along with an earthy spiciness that added to the flavor profile—this wine had everything. This is a wine you can drink with just about any dish but it especially shines with the hearty winter dishes.

For the cellar:

Antinori Guado al Tasso Guado al Tasso 2009 $89.00

Next, we enjoyed one of Antinori’s wines from the family’s fabulous estate in Bolgheri—Ca’ Marcanda. This ’09 had powerful black fruit that covered the palate and amazed in its complexity. It showed very well, but the tannins that were still evident after two hours decanting, indicating that this Super Tuscan will be a wine for the long haul. A must-have for Antinori lovers and Super-Tuscan lovers, this wine is a steal at this price. It will age with many a top Tuscan wine.


Expert Picks: Agricola Punica and Paolo Bea

Two expert selections from Perry Porricelli

1972Some say the frost is on the pumpkin, but around IWM, it’s more like the truffle’s on the pasta. No matter how you understand it, fall is here, so I wanted to pick out a couple of wines with a lot of character and complexity to stand up to fall’s heavier, spicier, earthier and meatier foods. Here are two wines I enjoyed at my latest lunch with a couple of clients.

Drinking Right Now:

Agricola Punica Barrua 2009 $47.50

This Sardinian wine made with collaboration between Giacomo Tachis, Sassicaia’s Sebastiano Rosa and a collective of Sardinian winemakers has always been one of my favorites. The minerality from the rocky soil of this island really comes through. Mix that flintiness with this wine’s rich, spicy red Carignano fruits, and you have a wine that is acute with flavor. It’s a perfect autumn red.

For the Cellar:

Paulo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro 2006 $90.75

From the islands to Italy’s only landlocked province we go—it’s Umbrian Paulo Bea’s 2006 Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro. Talk about complexity! There are all kinds of bold, earthy, meaty nuances on this baby. Every sip shows something different. The more air-time we gave this wine, the more intensity of flavors it showed. This Sagrantino was beautiful after an hour or so in the glass, but imagine how this will be five, ten or twenty years down the line! Pick up some of this great Paolo Bea for your cellar and find out for yourselves in the coming years.

Expert Picks: I Fubbiano and Bartolo Mascarello

Two expert selections from Perry Porricelli

PerryIn his intro to Monday’s  e-Letter offer, Sergio mentions that it’s not only Columbus Day, but it’s also IWM’s anniversary. I was one of the people who opened the shop with him all those years ago, and I can’t believe so many years have flown (and so many bottles have been opened, poured, and enjoyed). As I was thinking about our 14th anniversary some of the very first wines we championed came to mind: Fubbiano I Pampini and Bartolo Mascarello. These may be names recognizable to our clients and the greater wine world, but it’s easy to forget that in 1999, Italian wines didn’t have the status they have today. One of the things I’m proudest of is how I’m part of the team that put obscure Italian wines on the map for people like you to love.

Drinking Right Now:

Fubbiano I Pampini 2009 $39.99

One of my all time drink me now favorites—and there were many—is Fubbiano’s I Pampini. This wine came from nowhere (actually, the estate sits in the hills around Lucca in Toscana), and it quickly became an IWM staple. I Pampini always has rich dark fruits that seem to give off different nuances every few minutes. You could always drink this upon release but you don’t have to be in a hurry. These wines will endure. I’m enjoying the beautiful 2009s now.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2008 $139.00

Another old favorite that IWM put on the serious collector map was Bartolo Mascarello, This Barolo will go 15 rounds with any wine in Italy—as well as with any fine wine in the world. No gimmicks here. It’s simply Nebbiolo at its traditional best, built to last. Nobody knew Bartolo back in ’99, but the collectors sure do now. Put this wine in a decanter for a few hours and you will be drinking liquid gold. Elegant, complex and pure.

Expert Picks: Montecarrubo and Valdicava

Two expert selections from Perry Porricelli

PerrySometimes I choose wines by the producer. Other times, I need to check out the latest vintage. Still others, I let the grape be my guide. But the best of times, I am struck with a mood, and I pick wines that match that mood. Recently, I had dinner with a good friend, and we both wanted to drink something that was a little on the dark side. We found two bold, beautiful, inky beauties that completely fit the bill. I wanted to share them with you—Peter Vinding-Diers’ Sicilian Montecarrubo and Vincenzo Abbruzzese’s Brunello di Montalcino.


Montecarrubo Rosso 2007 74.99

I met a client at his place the other night and we felt like something a little rustic, earthy and kind of wild. Well, that’s exactly what we got with Montecarrubo Rosso 2007. It’s a really dark wine with all the characteristics that we were looking for in a wine. This mono-varietal Sicilian Syrah is beautiful to drink with a nice steak and some southern style pasta.


Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2008 $109.99

We also needed to have something that could follow that big bold wine and keep it in the same vein—while adding its own voice to the conversation. Valdicava Brunello 2008 did the trick. This Brunello is little less dark in color but it’s the Montecarrubo’s equal in boldness and earthiness. It had a fine elegance that made it smooth drinking for a young Brunello, but give this wine another 5-10 years, and it will be a real beauty without its rough edges.

Expert Picks: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Il Poggione

Two expert selections from Perry Porricelli

1972You can’t beat September in the tri-state area. The skies are bright blue, the sun is warm, the nights are cool, and that slight tinge of fall gives everything you do, eat and drink a little edge. I had my bi-weekly dinner with a friend of mine down here on the Jersey Shore, and we almost always open up easy, accessible drinkers to start and finish up with a little more serious, longer-term wine. I wanted to share both wines with you today because not only are they delicious, they are also amazing deals.

Drink right now:

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 2011 Le Volte $29.99

This week I pulled out a bottle of Le Volte from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. This wine opened up with big bold fruit—almost like a Napa Cab/Merlot blend. The heavy dose of lush black cherries was backed with pretty nice structure for this entry-level wine. We could have actually decanted, this wine that show much action was going on! What a bargain at $30!


Il Poggione 2007 Brunello di Montalcino $49.50

We followed up the Le Volte with another bargain- Il Poggione 2007 Brunello normale. I mean for $54 this wine really delivered. With an hour’s worth of decanting, it drank beautifully. With this Brunello’s mix of red and wild black cherries with a spiciness and earthiness that added to the complexity, the flavors lingered on the palate for long after we swallowed. We knew that this wine would stick around for a good 5-10 more years, and at this price how can you beat that?

« go backkeep looking »