The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside IWM, May 2 to May 5, 2016: Beautiful Wine Secrets

A look back at the week that was











photo-2-300x300This week, we took a peek under the hood of IWM and got a glimpse at the secret wine cellar where your IWM wines live, breathe, and age in temperature-controlled splendor. And Stephane Menard made a compelling case for enjoying the 2013 Le Volte, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia‘s “second” wine, early and often. This under-the-radar Super Tuscan is under $30 and completely delicious!

Garrett Kowalsky confessed that the first wine he fell in love with was a Bruno Giacosa Barolo, and he picked two wines to testify to the longevity of his passion. John Camacho Vidal explains the secrets of enjoying mature wines, selecting two beautifully aged Barolos for you to try. Michael Adler alerts you to a hard-to-find, little-known Burgundy producer, François Gay, by selecting a dynamic duo from this overlooked estate. And it’s no secret that Chablis is perfect for summer; Crystal Edgar picks a pair from William Fevre.

Cheers to your beautiful wine secrets–may you share them with the people you love!

Expert Picks: Damilano and Giuseppe Mascarello

Two expert selections from John Camacho Vidal











CamachoAs my palate evolves and my understanding of wine increases, I have grown to appreciate the secondary and third flavors that a bottle of mature wine can provide. I’m amazed that in some cases after 60 or 80 years in a bottle a wine can still smell and taste like the fruit that made it. It’s as if the wine is expressing itself at sublime levels. Whenever possible I try to include a wine with some age in our Saturday tasting series so that our clients are able to experience old vintages.

Nowhere in Italian winemaking is mature wine more important than in Barolo. Over the past three decades, a new wave of Barolo producers has worked to show different, non-traditional characteristics and to make more modern expressions of the Nebbiolo grape. Some of these winemakers have made Barolo more approachable through more modern vinification methods, but Barolo remains a wine of patience, and there is a division between modernist winemakers and those who protect the traditional way of making Barolo. I’ve chosen mature wines from two producers who make wines that are traditional, age-worthy, and great. Both of these mature bottles are unique expressions of a time that we’ll never see again.

Damilano 1978 Barolo $199.99

Making wine since 1890, the Damilano estate is one of the oldest wineries in Barolo; run by the fourth generation, Damilano continues to make excellent Barolos. This 1978 Barolo is a perfect example of perfectly mature Nebbiolo. The palate has just enough fruit that the wine is elegant, but the secondary and tertiary notes of orange peel, leather, earth, wet leaves slight tobacco and minerals make it very interesting. The palate is silky with some bitter notes that give way to sweet tannins and a nicely acidic finish that lingers with its secondary flavors. Drink now.

Giuseppe Mascarello 1968 Barolo $425.00

Giuseppe Mascarello was a vine-grower before he started the family estate in 1881 in the village of Monforte d’Alba. This 1968 Barolo is a traditionally made Barolo with grapes sourced from three vineyards, each one imprinting specific aromatics, structure and fruit. At this stage, this wine is ethereal showing a nose full of secondary aromas—loads of truffle mingled with remnants of dark red and black fruit flavors, some spice and wet leaves with notes of tobacco. The palate is very elegant with silky tannins that lead way to a soft mineral finish. Drink now.

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: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Aldo Conterno

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito











Francesco 2014Today, I wanted to pick two wines I’ve drunk recently that I know you will love. They are terrific, and if you love Italian wines, you won’t want to miss them.

I can easily say that every time I taste a Le Volte, I always say “Now, that’s a great wine for the dollar!” That said, the 2013 is the best vintage I have yet tasted from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s entry-level wine. There is just something about the 2013 Tuscan wines in general that makes them stand out from the other vintages, and this Le Volte is a Super Tuscan to know and love. Next up is Poderi Aldo Conterno, the estate that bears the name of “he king of Barolo.” While Aldo Conterno’s wines are very well known, I’ve found they’re really exciting me these days. The estate’s 2011s are to die for and the best part is that they are so approachable and very delicious right now, especially the Colonnello.

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 2013 Le Volte $29.99

Composed of 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, with all varieties vinified separately, this 2013 Le Volte bottling is the best I’ve had from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. Rich, aromatic, voluptuous and exquisitely finessed for a $30 bottle of wine, this Super Tuscan has got everything you want and need. With winemaker like Axel Heinz behind it, you know it’s going to be good.

Poderi Aldo Conterno 2011 Barolo Colonnello $149.99

I’ve never smelled aromatics in a recent vintage Barolo quite like those in this ’11 Barolo Colonello—they’re complex, enticing and extraordinary. The Colonnello vineyard is known for wines with lighter structure, bursting aromatics and approachable nature, and this Conterno is so beautiful that it’s hard to keep your hand off of it. I just drank one of these ’11 Barolo Colonnellos on Monday, so it’s still fresh in mind—all I want is to find another reason to drink one. The beguilingly rich aromatics alone are worth the entrance fee!

Inside IWM, April 4-7, 2016: Weird, Wild, Wonderful Wines

A look back at the week that was











Gravner's "orange" Ribolla Gialla

Gravner’s “orange” Ribolla Gialla

What do you expect from a week that kicked off with Franciacorta, Italy’s only méthode champenoise sparkling wine? It’s going to be a little weird–and a lot wonderful. Lombardia is often overlooked, but its small Franciacorta region gives you a very good reason to explore it. We take a look at the beauty of Italy’s “Champagne.” Our go-to Tuesday wine bridges the gap between red and white, and it’s flexible enough to drink anytime of year. Sean Collins describes this delicious under $23 Rotberger Rosato. And we finished the week with Crystal’s take on the amber wines of Josko Gravner. She says to drink them with meat. Intrigued? Get to know Gravner!

Like Crystal, Michael Adler loves Josko Gravner, and he puts a special bottle of Breg Anfora in the company of another great orange wine from Paolo Bea; skin-contact rules! John Camacho Vidal looked to Chardonnay–Italian Chardonnay from Angelo Gaja. You really can’t go wrong with wines from this Piemonte maverick. And Francesco Vigorito kept it classic with two warm vintage wines from a pair of traditional Barolo makers, Bruno Giacosa and Giuseppe Rinaldi.

Here’s to exploring the weird, the wild, the wonderful–and the tried, true and trusted–in your wine glass.

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