The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside IWM, January 25-28, 2016: Learning is FUNdamental

A look back at the week that was

A pretty illustration of Freisa

A pretty illustration of Freisa

We kicked off the week with a new post in our series on Italian red wine grapes, this one looking at grapes from Dolcetto (the “little sweet one”) to Grignolino (“many pips”). Learn more than you thought you would by checking in on this multi-post extravaganza. On Tuesday, Stephane Menard explained why every day is a good day for Prosecco, and he explores an authentic $22 bottle from Col Vetoraz to show why. And Francesco Vigorito talked tannins–what they are, how they work, and why wines with sturdy tannins are his favorites.

Crystal Edgar chose her expert selections of Alain Burguet Burgundies because Burgundy is like Manhattan–it’s all about location, location, location. John Camacho Vidal looked to southern Italy for his expert picks inspiration, and he selected two wines from Campania that are insanely good. Michael Adler looked even farther afield; journeying to Argentina’s Patagonia region, Michael picked out a pair of Bodega Chacra old-vine Pinot Noirs that proves Francesco right and poses a challenge to Crystal.

However you do it, learning is fundamental, and learning about wine is the most fun of all. Cheers to you and what’s in your glass this weekend!

Expert Picks: Bodega Chacra and…Bodega Chacra!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15Founded in 2004 and is devoted to crafting arguably the finest Pinot Noirs in the entire southern hemisphere, Bodega Chacra is a rare non-Italian, non-Burgundy producer that IWM has championed essentially since its inception. Part of what makes Bodega Chacra so special (and what ties it to the world of Italian wine) is its owner and winemaker, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, grandson of Mario Incisa, who created the legendary Sassicaia. Piero fell in love with the windswept landscape of Patagonia and set out to craft pure, Burgundian expressions of Pinot Noir in Argentina, just as his grandfather had done with Bordeaux varietals in Tuscany’s Bolgheri zone 50 years prior.

The second most important thing that makes Bodega Chacra special are the estate’s old-vine vineyards, planted in 1932 and 1955, which yield delightfully complex fruit that’s blessed with perfect acidity. Piero’s wines are sleek and nimble, with just the right amount of power and structure to hold everything together, and they’re thoroughly enjoyable both young and mature. New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov just wrote an article on Bodega Chacra, which is definitely worth checking out if you want to learn more about the estate.

Bodega Chacra 2014 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda $26.99

Barda, the Bodega Chacra’s entry-level Pinot Noir, was outstanding in 2014. A blend of old-vine fruit from the estates flagship vineyards planted in 1955 and 1932 along with additional fruit from younger vines, Barda is a killer value that offers great complexity and depth of flavor for its humble price. Light to medium-bodied on the palate and replete with soft tannins, it shows beautiful characteristics of ripe red fruit, minerals, and floral notes, ending with a bright, mouth-watering finish.

Bodega Chacra 2010 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Treinta y Dos $130.00

Sourced from vines planted in 1932 (hence its name), Chacra’s Treinta y Dos is the estate’s most important, long-aging wine. Often tightly wound in its youth, after a few years of aging in bottle, the “32” blossoms with a gorgeous, heady bouquet of red and blue berries, spice and earth, all held together by balanced, refined tannins. Relatively low in alcohol (just 12%), this wine will appeal to wine-lovers who enjoy classic red Burgundies as well as to aficionados of riper New World Pinot Noirs, and it is capable of fifteen or more years of maturity in your cellar.

Inside IWM, November 30 to December 3, 2015: Holidays Ahoy!

A look back at the week that was

patagonia llamasOur Cyber Monday event made this week short but sweet here on Inside IWM. Stephane Menard reflected on his recent trip to Patagonia as he enjoyed an insanely good bottle of Pinot Noir from Argentina. Made by Sassicaia scion Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, this Bodega Chacra Barda over-delivers on its $27 price tag. As the weather cools, we’re reaching for warming foods–and suspect you are too! Enjoy a recipe for Cavatelli Pasta alla Amatriciana from IWM’s own kitchens!

Our experts were unusually focused. Michael Adler wants you to fall in love with Chablis, and he picked a pair of extraordinary bottles to give you a push towards Chablis passion. John Camacho Vidal sees the winter holidays approaching fast, and he pulls two fine, affordable bottles from Veneto producer Nicolis out of his cellar. And Garrett Kowalsky shares his love of Domaine Gallois with two hand-picked bottles from this Burgundy great.

Cheers to you and yours as you head into the winter holidays–and don’t miss IWM’s 2015 Gift Guide!

Expert Picks: Bodega Chacra and Mountford

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Fall is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is most definitely my favorite holiday! As a huge foodie, I enjoy the plethora of ingredients, flavors, textures and aromas that make up the Thanksgiving table. I enjoy being creative in the kitchen, decorating the table, and, of course, choosing the wine.

Similar to choosing music playlists, Thanksgiving offers many options, and you pick your wines to set a mood. For those who feel extra ambitious and choose wines to accompany a motley crew of holiday dishes, I recommend keeping things simple and choosing one or two wines that go with all dishes. If this sounds like you, simply remember two words: Pinot Noir. Sure, you can pop some Lambrusco, Riesling or Zinfandel, but these can be tough for a large group; not only does Pinot Noir act as a chameleon when pairing with food, but it is also a crowd pleaser. Pinot Noir requires no proselytizing. Like a great hostess, Pinot Noir can be charismatic, diplomatic and, on occasion, profound!

Today I have chosen two unique Pinot Noir offerings from our cellar. Yes, we love Burgundy, but there are other regions that produce outstanding Pinot Noir; both Argentina and New Zealand are two that should receive more attention.

Bodega Chacra 2014 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda $26.99

Brought to us by the same family who is responsible for Sassicaia in Tuscany, Bodega Chacra is a love of labor in the Rio Negro region of Argentina’s arid Patagonia. Here the vines are grown on their own rootstock and produce Pinot Noir with remarkable poise, elegance and perfume. Placed in a range between California and Burgundy, this Barda bottling would fall somewhere in the middle, celebrating the lively fruit known in New World wines, while possessing that earthy terroir and “soul” of the grape that we love in Burgundy.

Mountford 2009 The Gradient Pinot Noir $199

For this selection I decided to hunt for something very unique and difficult to find. Mountford Estate, is located in the Waipara region of New Zealand’s South Island. This cult estate only make a tiny amount of wine for the world, say, 70 cases total of this bottling. One very interesting fact about this producer is that their winemaker is Taiwan-born C.P Lin, who is blind. At the age of three, Lin was blinded by retinoblastoma but he has a remarkable talent for identifying aromas, flavors, textures—and he has a strong passion for wine. At Mountford, he keeps yields to a minimum; they’re shockingly, low in fact. This Gradient bottling from 2009 offers loads of rich and decadent red fruits with traces of tea and underbrush. The wines sweep your palate velvety tannins and finish softly while leaving a trail of flavor for minutes on the palate.

Inside IWM, September 21-24, 2015: The Romance of Wine

A look back at the week that was

640px-Romeo_and_juliet_brownWe began the week with a reflection on encountering the wines of Josko Gravner in Verona, one of the most romantic cities on earth. On Tuesday, we enjoyed Michael Adler’s enjoyment of a $17 Barbera that he shared with his amor. On Wednesday, we salivated over Stephane Menard’s delicious recipe for papardelle ai funghi porcini (for two). And we closed out the week with a brief, helpful guide on making the most of your wine tasting–we love a good tasting.

Our experts brought you wines in pairs, each duo selected with your enjoyment in mind. John Camacho Vidal opted for a pair of Bruno Giacosa beauties. Likewise, Crystal selected two wines from the same producer, but hers was Vosne-Romanée’s Domaine Lamarche. Garrett suggested you welcome fall with open arms with a pair of gorgeous sparkling wines. And Will Di Nunzio closed out the week with a history lesson in the Incisa della Rocchetta family, choosing wines from Bodega Chacra and Tenuta San Guido.

Cheers to you and your ongoing romance with wine, and thanks for letting IWM be a part of your love!

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