The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Inside IWM, September 14-17, 2015: Write What You Love

A look back at the week that was

imageWe kicked off the week with a look at the historic, humble, umano Baricci estate and their rustic, beautiful Montalcino wines; we closed it with a salute to the Hanky Panky, a classic nineteenth-century cocktail created by Ada Coleman, a legendary mixologists and the first women to hold the position of “head barman” at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. Julia Punj from IWM Aspen is a connoisseur of cocktail culture, and her posts are always a pleasure. In between, Emery Long, also at IWM Aspen, offered tips on winterizing your wine–because no one wants to find a giant Brunello slushie in their car trunk. And Matt Di Nunzio enjoyed a lovely, fruity, spicy Primitivo from Mille Una that was less than $22!

Crystal Edgar kicked off the experts selections this week with her picks from Morey-St-Denis, a Burgundy region that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves; her two Domaine Ponsot wines might change that. Continuing this theme of shedding light on the overlooked, Garrett Kowalsky spotlighted Simon Bize’s wines with two memorable bottles. John Camacho Vidal loves to teach people about wine, and he offered two selections from his recent lesson on Super Tuscans. And Francesco Vigorito calls the wines of Poggio di Sotto “genius,” so he chose two to illustrate his point.

We write what we love, and we drink what we love, and we hope you do too! Cheers for this weekend and the upcoming week.

Inside IWM September 8-10, 2015: People Make a Difference

A look back at the week that was

Lionel Cousin of Cupano

Lionello Cousin of Cupano

We finished the week with an origin story. Every great wine palate has a beginning, and Stephane Menard tells his. It begins with a bottle of birth-year Bordeaux and moves from there. Another IWM writer reflected on drinking Cupano’s Super-Tuscan wine, Sant’Antimo Ombrone, with the people who made it, and how that wine will always taste like friendship.

Our experts are focused this short week on bringing people and wines together. Michael Adler picks a pair of cru Barolo for your fall and winter wine enjoyment. Will Di Nunzio reflects on a recent dinner to select two knockout wines that were totally unexpected pleasures. And David Gwo set his sights on Cupano’s 2008 vintage for a pair of beautiful wines to enjoy now–or years from now.

Cheers to you and the people in your life. They make life beautiful.


Expert Picks: Cupano and Tenuta San Guido

Two expert selections from Will Di Nunzio

will expertRevisiting wines is one of the many treats of collecting and buying a case or half case, and this revisiting is one of the most fun aspects of wine. When I look at bottles in my cellar, I find myself asking, “Where is it now? How is it showing?” Last week I had lunch with a very good friend who introduced me to a few new wine enthusiasts, and we enjoyed an incredible spread made by IWM Chef Mike Marcelli that included a very large selection of antipasti, squid ink spaghetti, strengozze (flat hand cut pasta) with veal Ragu, lombata di vitello (veal chops) and Waygu sirloin. Needless to say, we had a great meal. The wines? Well, two that stood out were the Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2003 and the Sassicaia 2005. Both of these wines were incredible and made the lunch even more special.

Cupano 2003 Brunello di Montalcino $139

Toscana – Sangiovese Grosso

This Brunello is easily one of the fastest selling wines at IWM in the past year and amazing value. Anyone who has enjoyed Cupano has agreed that this is a rockin’ Brunello and won’t hesitate to grab a case of it. You might be saying to yourself, “But this is an ’03—wasn’t it really hot in ’03?” Yes, it was, but you’d be surprised at the structure and fruit forwardness of this bottle. We poured this with nine other wines at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and it was the one we finished first. This wine is drinking amazingly right now, and I highly recommend grabbing some bottles while we have a little left.

Tenuta San Guido 2005 Sassicaia $269

Toscana – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc

This wine needs little introduction because we all know Sassicaia. What you may not know is that almost every bottle of ‘05 in Italy is an amazing surprise. In between two great vintages 2004 and 2006, the 2005 vintage went unappreciated and unnoticed upon release. It’s a good thing because these ’05 babies are phenomenal and always an incredible value. The 2005 Sassicaia was perfect—balanced, smooth, structured and perfectly filled with fruit—it was an ideal pairing with the veal ragu, wow! There was enough acidity that it can go for another 5-10 years easily, but it’s so good now. If you have some you should drink it, if you don’t then you should get some. This ’05 Sassicaia is one of my favorites so far this year.

Expert Picks: Lisini and Altesino

Two expert selections from John Camacho Vidal

CamachoIt’s the first week of summer and that means it’s time for big weekend diners that feature grilled meat. I love Brunello for big meals, and it’s always good to have a couple of Brunello with some age that are drinking well on hand. Today I focus on two stellar producers, Lisini and Altesino, whose wines would be welcome at any table.

Lisini is located in the southern part of Montalcino near the town of Sant’Angelo in Colle. The vineyards sit approximately 350 meters above sea level, a location that allows for a particular microclimate that is very different from other parts of Montalcino. In this southern area there is less rainfall and fog than in the other parts of Montalcino, and the soil is rich in clay and iron, traits that are expressed in the wine. Founded in the mid-sixteenth century, the Lisini estate takes meticulous care with its vines, doing all work by hand and without chemical intervention. Altesino lies not far from Siena and it makes some of Montalcino’s most sought-after wines. Founded in 1972 by Giulio Consonno, the winery was the first in the region to introduce the concept of single-vineyard crus in 1975, and it was also the first Brunello winery to experiment with French barrique.

Lisini 1997 Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia $169.00

This 1997 Brunello is deep, dark and concentrated—and it lacked the brick rim that I was expecting. The nose is full of dark fruit, plum, spice, earth and mushroom, along with some black licorice and hints of orange peel. In the back end hide notes of sweet cherry. On the palate, the tannins integrate beautifully with the fruit, leading to a silky, lingering finish. This Brunello Ugolia derives from fruit obtained from a 7.3-acre vineyard planted in 1978. This is a wine that will continue to open and give you different layers as you sip. Drink now.

Altesino 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva $119.99

This wine is all about elegance. Unlike the Lisini, this ’01 was touched with a bit more brick than I expected it to. On the nose there are some cedar notes that mingle nicely with bright berries, a touch of earth, mushroom and tobacco. The wine’s smooth tannins have integrated perfectly with the fruit and acidity, and this ’01 Brunello Riserva offers a nice mouth-coating finish. The Altesino Riserva macerates for 15 days and is aged in Slavonian oak barrels (ranging from 10 to 20 years of age) for four-and-a-half years, followed by an additional six months in bottle prior to release. Drink now and for the next five years.

Expert Picks: Giacosa and Biondi-Santi

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco 2014Does Italian wine get any better than my two selections for today, Barbaresco from Bruno Giacosa and Brunello from Biondi-Santi? It might depend on whom you ask, but both Giacosa and Biondi are at the top of their games in 1998 and 1995 respectively. Not only were these great vintages from these legendary winemakers, but these bottles are about as classic as Italian wines can get, and now that these bottles have the necessary maturity, you will get to experience these wines in all their glory—while they last!

Bruno Giacosa 1998 Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva $349.00
Giacosa only puts out his Red Label bottlings in the best of vintages, and this is one winemaker who prefers warmer vintages like 1998. This is benchmark Barbaresco at its finest. Loaded with sweet cherries, licorice, flowers, and tobacco, this wine shows complexities for days. It’s a wine that you don’t even have to drink to enjoy; simply looking at its light ruby color and giving the occasional swirl to coax out the aromas is enough, seriously. Of course, you’re going to want to drink it, and you’ll be amazed when you do.

Biondi-Santi Il Greppo 1995 Brunello di Montalcino $225.00

This ‘95 is finally ready to drink after twenty years! If you have 1995 Riservas, still hold onto those and drink these ‘95 Biondi-Santi normale bottlingss because they are right on point. People generally have bad experiences with Biondi-Santi Brunello because they drank the wine too early when they are too austere. If you are one of those people, here is your chance to have a Biondi-Santi Brunello from a great vintage that is drinking in its prime right now. Our allocations are very limited, so get them while you can.

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