The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: François Gay and…François Gay!

Posted on | May 3, 2016 | Written by Michael Adler | No Comments

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.

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IWM’s Secret Wine Cellar

Posted on | May 2, 2016 | Written by Janice Cable | No Comments

Most IWM clients have never visited our cellar. They just know that their wine magically arrives in the dumbwaiter, gets tenderly wrapped by a sales associate, placed into a happy maroon box, and that’s it. But below the wooden floor of the IWM showroom sits a magical wonderland of wine and cellarmen. This is their story.

This picture shows your hypothetical bottle of Barolo. You want to buy it because it does look lovely on the shelf and you know it’ll be tasty; however, you don’t get this actual bottle of Barolo. Yours comes from the cellar, and your IWM sales associate sends the order downstairs, where it is received by one of several workers.
The workers downstairs in the cellar work really hard.  They don’t just fetch your bottle of wine (and mine); they also catalog, unpack, pack up, organize and otherwise keep the warren of the cellar in manageable order. It’s tight and cold in the cellar.  Shelves are crammed with bottles, making the space seem smaller than it is. The fans are loud and there are many, many boxes.

The boxes are, frankly, drool inspiring. If you look at this picture of Gaja and Sassicaia crates and don’t feel lust in your heart, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

Likewise if this picture of shelves of Dal Forno don’t make you feel a bit like snatching and running..

The best part of the IWM cellar–other than the proximity of that much wine–is the link between the cellar and the store: the dumbwaiter. There’s a childlike wonder inherent to dumbwaiters, a kind of now-you-don’t-see it/now-you-do household prestidigitation. I also love that the IWM dumbwaiter is crafted from an Ornellaia box. It’s perfect that wine arrives in the casing of one of the most enchanting Super-Tuscan wines. Look down the shaft of the dumbwaiter and seeing the wine and the workers. It’s not quite seeing the White Rabbit or the Keebler elves, but it’s magical all the same.

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Expert Picks: William Fèvre and…William Fèvre!

Posted on | May 2, 2016 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

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.

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Go-To-Tuesday Wine: Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico

Posted on | April 28, 2016 | Written by Sean Collins | No Comments

WH1883-2TFinally, some consistent white wine weather (or just spring weather for the rest of us). As the mercury rises in New York, it means only one thing: it’s the perfect time for a lively, vivacious white. I decided to enjoy my weekend with Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico.

This wine was born in a region called Castelli di Jesi, arguably the best region for Italy’s Verdicchio grape. Situated around 1,000 feet above sea level where nothing blocks the cool sea breezes coming off the coast of Ancona,  Sartarelli’s vineyards impart the estate’s wines with a rich minerality. This mineral core balances out the wines’ fruitiness and adds substantive structure. Despite the seemingly ideal landscape for Verdicchio,  the talents of winemaker Alberto Mazzoni make Sartarelli wines something special. Dedicating Sartarelli entirely to Verdicchio, Mazzoni uses his experience with the ancient grape to create wines with a silky texture.

Like most of Sartarelli’s wines, this Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico is an easy starter wine and a real crowd-pleaser. And did I mention that this wine is under $18? Yes, this white is probably one of the best value wines we offer at IWM. I shared this with my friends and heard nothing but excellent reviews as we drank it with linguine and shellfish. Although it has powerful fruity aromatics, this Verdicchio is very well balanced and goes well with almost any food as its flavor will not overpower any dish. However, I will say we particularly enjoyed it with seafood. Its minerality and almost almondy finish just seemed to lend itself perfectly to mussels, clams, and linguine. I full-heartedly recommend keeping a few bottles (or cases) of this on-hand for the warm weather ahead.

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Expert Picks: Roger Coulon and Roger Coulon

Posted on | April 27, 2016 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

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.

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