I always look forward to going home in New Jersey, especially on Sundays, our family day. On Sunday, my grandparents, uncle, cousins, sister, and even friends gather around the table to share stories, jokes and, of course, delicious home-cooked food and amazing wine.
This past Sunday my mother was hosting for my grandmother’s 83rd birthday. She asked for two things: my mother’s cooking and for all of us to play bingo. These were two easy things to offer her. My mother prepared a beautiful spread filled with cheeses, sautéed vegetables, spaghetti and meatballs. To accompany this meal I selected a Tuscan favorite here at Italian Wine Merchants, La Sala’s Chianti Classico, a mono-varietal Sangiovese and a piece of Tuscan history.
It was a big hit with my family. The wine’s nose is ripe with hints of berry and earth; while its mouth-feel is refreshing, juicy and smooth. This Chianti is a bit acidic, showing flavors of cherry, earthiness, and richness that blend nicely with its spiciness—a fairly typical flavor profile for Chianti or Sangiovese based wines. With its beautiful finish and is definitely a palate-pleasing wine, La Sala 2011 Chianti Classico is a great everyday drinking wine or great for opening for toasting a special occasion, and priced at $30 a bottle, this wine really over delivers.
Overall, the La Sala Chianti Classico was a great complement to our perfect autumn day to say the least. I hope you enjoy it with family, friends, great home cooking, and laughter.
Over the weekend, I popped open a nice bottle of California Chardonnay from the 2009 vintage that I had been holding onto for the last two years. Here at IWM we feature a phenomenal portfolio of both white & red Burgundy, which amongst wine enthusiasts, represents the greatest expression of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the world. First and foremost, I don’t hate on California wine; on the contrary, my “wine moment”—the wine that triggered my passion—was a California Pinot Noir. Therefore I was surprised to find that this bottle of Chardonnay, which I remember really enjoying, wasn’t to my tastes anymore. A year of experiencing the various white Burgundy appellations made the amount of toast, oak, and vanilla feel overwhelming to my palate. I’ll always be willing to enjoy a nice bottle of Cali Chardonnay, but I can safely say, I’ve been converted to white Burgundy for life.
My picks today are two wines from one of the truly outstanding domaines in Meursault, Domaine Latour-Giraud. An estate with holdings in all of the big three Meursault Premier Crus— Genevrières, Perrières, and Charmes—Latour-Giraud produces absolutely fabulous expressions of white Burgundy that really demonstrate a sense of place, reflecting the specific characteristics of their respective vineyards within Meursault. With the holidays coming up, white Burgundy is an ideal pairing for white meats and seafood, and it’s a great wine to have on hand. Meursault is known for producing round wines with fresh acidity and flavors of lemon, pear, and citrus fruits that finish off with a perceptible of nuttiness. If you enjoy Chardonnay, or superior white wine in general, I highly recommend the wines from this estate.
Balanced, elegant and aromatic, this Village level Meursault commemorates estate founders Charles Giraud and Maxime Latour. Grandson Jean-Pierre wanted to create a high quality white Burgundy, sourced from their prime vineyard holdings that could be enjoyed while their flagship premier crus age. The 2012 is a fantastic showing with all of the hallmarks of classically styled Meursault.
Genevrières, Perrières, and Charmes are where you want to be if you’re looking for the best, definitive, and most age-worthy examples of Meursault. This classic and nuanced 2012 Genevrières will develop beautifully and effortlessly over the next decade. There’s not much else to say except that this wine is incredible.
The name Pythagoras likely brings to mind geometry class. After all, this Greek mystic, philosopher and mathematician devised the theorem that holds his name, the Pythagorean theorem that states the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. But the teaching of Pythagoras the Samian, 570-494 BCE, wasn’t limited to just math.
He was also keen to teach people proper etiquette—wine etiquette, in fact. To this end, Pythagoras likely also invented a drinking vessel that bears his name, the Pythagorean cup. Shaped more or less like a bundt pan with a central spoke, the Pythagorean cup has an ingenious design that enforces wine politesse. If you’re greedy and pour too high, past the central spoke that leads from the foot of the cup to just below the cup’s rim, wine fills the two channels in the cup and spills onto the lap of the unsuspecting glutton. Click here to see the Pythagorean cup in action.
It might be simple physics—hydrostatic pressure creates a siphon that draws the wine continually out of the cup and out the hole in the foot of the glass—but it’s also ingenious. While there’s not a lot of historical writing that directly connects Pythagoras with the vessel, cups showing this ingenious design date back more than 2,500 years, and location suggests a strong correlation between Pythagoras and the cup that bears his name.
While enterprising souvenir sellers in Greece continue to replicate and sell the cup to tourists, you can actually fashion your own from a plastic wine glass, a straw, silicone glue, a plastic test tube and a box cutter. While IWM doesn’t condone the spillage of fine wine, we also believe in pouring wine to a polite level—and one that allows the wine to breathe. If, however, education through practical jokes is not your thing, you probably want to invest in some basic Brunello or Burgundy glasses for your wine consumption. You can always choose to educate through a superlative example.
Maison Louis Jadot is one of the most revered names in all of Burgundy. Yes, the estate makes many wines from many different parcels, but true Burgundy aficionados know how special Jadot’s wines are. Last week the IWM team was lucky enough to host the current winemaker Frederic Barnier, who took control after longtime (30 years) winemaker Jacques Lardiére stepped aside. The transition has been seamless, and Frederic has maintained this storied estate’s excellent levels of quality and character. While we were privy to the 2013s last week; here are two older vintage bottlings that we have in stock. These wines are sure to please the Pinot lovers out there.
When many Burgheads think of a Village level wine, they do not expect them to come from single vineyards. However, this is exactly the case in this Cote de Nuits Villages le Vaucrain, as all of the grapes derive from this eight-care parcel that the estate has owned and managed for almost 20 years. The wine is silky and rich with red berries that burst from the glass. Drink now and for 3-5 yrs.
Those in the know will recognize that the Clos Saint Jacques vineyard could arguably have been awarded Grand Cru status when the first official classification occurred. Today there are only five different owners of the vineyard which faces southeast for optimal sunlight throughout the day. This ’11 Chambertin is broad shouldered and powerful, evoking the animalistic characteristics that we so often associate with Gevrey. This ’11 is a champion that will go for a very, very long time. Drink 2016-2030.
Starting with Columbus Day, this week was compact, but you’d never know it from the content on Inside IWM! We began with a look at artisanal Montalcino producer Baricci and the estate’s velvety, rustic 2012 Rosso di Montalcino–David Gwo shared a bottle with friends and found it the perfect under $30 wine. On Wednesday, John Camacho Vidal risked everything by meeting one of his idols, but his visit to Paolo Bea in Umbria was everything he could hope for–and more! Don’t miss his travelogue. And we finished the week with a look at changing DOC rules in Chianti, another chapter in this region’s long, illustrious history.
Our experts were guided by their own whimsy and personal preferences in their picks this week. Crystal suggests that every day could be a celebration, and she picks a pair of bubbly wines for all occasions (one’s only $16!). Francesco opted for wines from two of Italy’s cult producers, Valentini and Miani, selecting two unusual yet absolutely extraordinary wines from these painstaking estates. And Robin Kelley O’Connor shined a light on Louis Jadot, choosing a pair of great bottlings from this august estate.
Join us for our Barolo and Barbaresco tasting on Saturday, October 18 in NYC–or one of our other amazing wine events!
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