The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: François Gay and…François Gay!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15In honor of today’s offer of François Gay’s newly arrived 2014 Aloxe-Corton, I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on two more outstanding wines from this cult-inspiring estate. It’s not hyperbole to say that François Gay’s wines are among the most difficult to procure in all of Burgundy. The estate sells most of its wine directly to the greatest restaurants in France as well as a few friends, and he makes fewer than 3,500 cases in each vintage. Quick math will tell you that just 150-200 cases are left for the entire rest of the world; IWM has been lucky enough to forge a close relationship with the estate that allows us not only the country’s best pricing, but also first dibs on some of Gay’s most sought-after bottlings.

Gay’s wines are balanced and fresh, both approachable in the near term and capable of spending more than a decade in the cellar. François Gay’s philosophy is to let his terroir speak, and his wines are all about detail, complexity, and a luxurious, delicate mouth-feel. Every wine from François Gay is unbelievable: his Chorey has the complexity of a Chambolle; his Ladoix sings like a Gevrey; his Aloxe-Corton rivals the complexity of Vosne-Romanée; and his Corton-Renardes Vieilles Vignes will hold its own against the greatest grand cru Pinots on the market. Try these wines for yourself, and you’ll immediately understand how special they are.

François Gay 2014 Chorey-Les-Beaune $34.99

Bright, fresh, aromatic and pure, Gay’s ‘14 Chorey Les Beaune is a soft, pretty and elegant expression of this subzone of the Côte de Beaune. Bright red berries and cherries mingle with fresh-cut roses and violets, minerals, and a hint of spice in this sprightly, energetic Pinot. Delicious and food-friendly right upon release, it will continue to provide exquisite drinking pleasure over the next 6-8 years.

François Gay 2013 Corton-Renardes $104.99

If Gay’s village-level wines sing like an angelic choir, the estate’s old-vine Corton-Renardes Grand Cru roars like an operatic symphony. This is a big, powerful Pinot, and it’s not afraid to show you its flare. While muscular and somewhat tight upon release, it opens beautifully with some decanting to show layers of enchanting red and blue fruits, crushed flowers, a savory component reminiscent of cured olives, and a mineral core that holds it all together. Silky smooth tannins caress the palate as it builds to a long yet delicate and nuanced finish. Drink through 2030.

Expert Picks: William Fèvre and…William Fèvre!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014We are all very excited here to welcome the 2014 whites from William Fèvre! Tis the season to bring out the crisp whites and I have some great bottles here for any wine lover. This is serious Chablis with fine pedigree, William Fèvre is recognized as one of the best producers in all of Chablis, sitting in the same league as Raveneau and Dauvissat and offering a range of distinguished premier and grand cru bottlings. Fèvre works forty acres of grand cru vineyards and another thirty acres of premier cru, all of which deserve attention. All fruit is harvested by hand and great caution is taken to ensure that the wines are precise, textured and mineral-driven with great structure and racy acidity. Fèvre works every vintage to find just the right balance between richness and minerality, and as these 2014 wines illustrate, Fèvre hit the bulls-eye!

Fèvre crafts some of the most exciting whites we receive each year, and if you have been keeping up with our offers for Burgundy’s 2014 vintage, this vintage is beyond exciting. Here are a few premier cru offerings that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys great white wine. These satisfy serious thirst while going easy on the pocketbook.

William Fèvre 2014 Chablis 1er Cru Montmains $54.99

This vibrant white offers loads of citrus, green peach and minerals with hints of almond and chalk on the finish. Saline minerals and citrusy acidity make this ’14 Chablis ideal to pour as an aperitif or with fresh or grilled oysters. Deriving from William Fèvre’s 4.3 acre parcel of Montmains, which faces southeast and sports emblematic Chablis soils rich in minerals and fossils, this wine vinifies in a combination of stainless steel oak barrels (30-50% used); the wine also ages for 10-15 months in a combination of in French oak barrels and stainless steel before bottling. Supple, structured and vibrant, this Chablis is very food friendly and nicely age-worthy.

William Fèvre 2014 Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent $81.99

This premier cru is consistently one of my favorite as it adds lovely white floral notes on the notes and palate with added stone fruit character. Slightly more complex and concentrated than the Montmains this can stand up to a range of fresh and grilled seafood, poultry, goat cheese, prosciutto and other salted finger foods. Deriving from a fine eight-acre parcel of Fourchaume 1er Cru that directly abuts the grand cru Les Preuses, Vaulorent is considered the “baby grand cru” at Fèvre, and it consistently outperforms grand crus that cost many times as much.

Expert Picks: Roger Coulon and Roger Coulon

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Regardless of the season, day of the week, or time of day, sparkling wines are always appropriate, and when you pour Champagne, simple moments become a celebration! My fridge always has at least a few cold bottles on standby for those times. In my opinion, bubbles are the best way to awaken the palate, bringing a glassful of joy to whomever partakes.  Today I highlight one of my favorite producers, Rober Coulon, who creates stunning wines that offer the best quality-to-price ratio I have yet to come across.

Situated in the prestigious area of La Montagne de Reims in Champagne lies the Coulon estate where eighth-generation farmers and winemakers Eric and Isabelle Coulon passionately craft Champagne. The vines grown here are almost equal parts Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, most of which derive from premier cru vineyards. Averaging 38 years of age, vines like this are a rarity in Champagne where older vines and their limited production are often considered a curse rather than a blessing. Using only wild yeasts, Roger Coulon produces a miniscule amount of Champagne each year. These special bubbles are some of the greatest values to be found while bringing a luxurious (and delicious) element to any occasion. These wines are perfect for gifts or just those afternoons or evenings when Champagne is required.

Roger Coulon Brut Réserve de l’Hommée 1er Cru NV $52.99

Bright, mineral-laden bubbles attack the palate and explode into a full bodied, rich and creamy mousse. Because of the percentage of reserve wine that is added to this cuvee, there are notes of toasted nuts and brioche wrapped in a blanket of citrus, stone fruit and pear; this wine is a great match with just a wide variety of antipasti, fish, poultry and even veal.

Roger Coulon Brut Millesime Blanc de Noirs 2007 $67.99

Made entirely of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, this floral and enchanting bubbly deceives its fans into thinking it is younger than it is. Bright zesty stone fruit mingles with white and purple floral notes while surprising the palate with a rich and powerful backbone that carries the wine into what feels like a never-ending finish. This Blanc de Noirs is superb with seafood and salty foods.

Expert Picks: Pio Cesare and Bruno Giacosa

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15Today I’ve chosen two killer Barolos from the outstanding 2004 vintage that were crafted by two of the region’s most historic and influential producers, Bruno Giacosa and Pio Cesare. 2004 is a perfect vintage to drink over the next decade or longer, depending on your individual preferences when it comes to enjoying mature wines. While family-owned-and-operated Pio Cesare has been making wines in Barolo for more than 100 years, the estate continues to innovate, constantly striving to improve quality in both the vineyard and in the cellar. If you’ve been in the IWM client family for long, then you probably don’t need me to tell you how special Bruno Giacosa’s wines are. Located in the town of Neive in the heart of the Langhe region, Giacosa consistently crafts some of the very finest wines to come out of both Barolo and Barbaresco, and after a decade of aging in the bottle, this ’04  will knock your socks off.

Pio Cesare 2004 Barolo $79.99

Surprisingly youthful in the glass, this 2004 Barolo from the historic Pio Cesare estate will benefit from an hour or two of decanting. Black and red fruits lead the charge, supported by notes of black tea, tar, crushed flower petals and spicy oak. This wine can easily age another 10 years if you’re so inclined, and if you have the patience. Pair it with braised lamb, a hearty risotto or a rare rib-eye steak.

Bruno Giacosa 2004 Barolo Croera di La Morra $225.00

In a stellar vintage like 2004, Giacosa’s wine have the potential to age for many decades, and this ‘04 Barolo Croera di La Morra is shaping up to be a wine for the ages. Even after ten years in bottle, this Barolo is still somewhat tight and massive, with intense, muscular tannins that will benefit from a long decant prior to pouring the wine. Bright red cherries and berries are joined by notes of olive tapenade, dried roses, cigar tobacco and minerals, and the finish lingers for what seems an eternity. As it is still relatively early in its development, I’d suggest holding this one for another 5-8 years if you have the patience.

Expert Picks: De Conciliis and Renzo Seghesio

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiWe wine-lovers are always looking for value—those wines that give us the most bang for our bucks, or those superb bottles that should cost more than they do. I get asked about value a lot. Sometimes value is a wine that over-delivers on a relatively expensive price point, but other times it’s a wine doesn’t cost much yet still explodes on the palate.

Regardless of whether you’re a big-time collector or an enthusiastic novice, chances are you’ll sometimes want to drink a wine that’s easy and delicious. This kind of wine, the bottles that don’t require much thought often fit most neatly into the value category. Last week, I enjoyed two wines that fall into this easy-going value category: a Fiano from De Conciliis and a Nebbiolo from Renzo Seghesio. I expect these wines, favorites of IWM founder Sergio Esposito, will become your favorites too, once you give them a shot.

De Conciliis 2013 Donnaluna Fiano $24.99

De Conciliis has long been an IWM staple. This estate produces a superb lineup of wines that includes a sparkler, whites and reds from Campania in the South of Italy. This Fiano offering is a bright, golden and complex white from along the Campania coast. Fiano, an ancient grape that for many years teetered on extinction, has made a resurgence thanks to producers like De Conciliis; this complex ’13 Fiano feels ready to burst with citrus fruits, honey, minerals, nuts and fresh, palate-cleansing acidity. Drink to 2020.

Renzo Seghesio 2011 Ruri Langhe Nebbiolo $36.99

The Seghesio family has been producing wines in the Barolo region for more than a century—with a 100 years of experience I am not surprised that this estate has nailed down the intricacies of the Nebbiolo grape to produce some stellar wines. Seghesio’s Barolos are traditional, elegant and long lived, but they can be difficult to approach in their youth. That is why this Nebbiolo Langhe, sourced from the younger vines and refined in steel as opposed to oak, is such an important play. This Ruri Langhe Nebbiolo allows you a chance to appreciate the freshness and cherry fruit that Nebbiolo offers, but without the overwhelming tannins. It’s definitely a reward for those on a budget and for those without patience. Drink to 2022.

 

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