The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

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.

Expert Picks: Bruno Giacosa and Giuseppe Rinaldi

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco 2014Bruno Giacosa and Giuseppe Rinaldi are two of the best Barolo producers known, and if there were a Mt. Rushmore of Barolisti, these guys’ heads would absolutely be on it! Both winemakers craft a very classic style of Barolo that embody the traditions and meanings of “Barolo” and “Nebbiolo.” I’ve chosen a pair of Barolos that share the commonality of being from riper years, making them approachable and medium-term wines, which is nice given the string of intensely structured vintages like 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 that make you wait to enjoy them.

Bruno Giacosa 2003 Barolo Le Rocche Falletto 159.99

Currently drinking in all of its glory, the 2003 Le Rocche shouldn’t be missed if you need a beautifully drinking Barolo at a killer price. Everything is right where it needs to be in this wine: the aromatics leap from the glass and the structure has integrated, leaving firm yet ripe tannins on a lasting finish that lets you know you are drinking classic Barolo from one of the Piedmont greats!

Giuseppe Rinaldi 2007 Barolo Brunate Le Coste 159.99

After having enjoyed the 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004 bottlings of this wine, Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste has easily become one of my favorites. Rinaldi’s wines have gathered a cult-like following, and these Barolos have proven to be very hard to get, especially back vintages—Rinaldi simply doesn’t make enough wine. 2007 was an anomaly in Barolo; the combination of ripe fruit, aromatics and fresh structure are rarely in this kind of equilibrium. 2007 one of my favorite vintages in Barolo, and it just doesn’t get any better than Giuseppe Rinaldi!

Inside IWM February 8-11, 2016: All the 💞 Edition

A look back at the week that was

proxyLove is in the air, and IWM can’t help sharing it. Stephane Menard loved an under $30 white from Bruno Giacosa, and this Roero Arneis from the Piemonte master winemaker deserves all the adoration in the wine world. We published the fifth post in our series of Italian red wine grapes, and this one, focusing on Nebbiolo to Primitivo, was all about grapes that make the wines we love. And Janice Cable loves history–even the weird, questionable history of Valentine’s Day, which she looked at this week, for obvious reasons.

Love always guides IWM’s Experts. Garrett Kowalsky loves Burgundy legends Domaine Lamarche. Michael Adler loves cult vigneron François Gay. And Crystal Edgar loves Brunello she can drink right now, without waiting.

Cheers to you and the people you love, the wine you love, and sharing one love with the other.

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Bruno Giacosa 2014 Roero Arneis

An under $30 aromatic, dry, crisp white from a Piemonte master

WH2012-2Bruno Giacosa is a magician. A man who is not an oenologist (which surprises most people), Giacosa became one of Piedmont’s most renowned and respected winemakers, and he learned by working with his father and grandfather. Early on, Giacosa became fascinated by what could be created from grapes, and taught by his forebears, he thinks thinks that wines were better in the past (and so does my grandfather), when there was less sophistication both vineyard treatment and wine production, and when people did things with more care in the past and less handling. I admire Giacosa’s philosophy and I love all his wines, starting by the exceptional and world famous Baroli he crafts. However, the wine I want to talk about is his fantastic Bruno Giacosa 2014 Roero Arneis.

Arneis is indigenous to Piemonte, and while this white grape long played a part in the region’s wine culture, it had slowly dwindled to the brink extinction by the 1960s. Wine made from Arneis, also called Nebbiolo Bianco, makes a delicious, complex Piemontese white wine and it offers a great alternative to Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The best region for Arneis is Roero, a sandy-soiled area in the Langhe hills. Roero Arneis got its DOC status in 1989 (little known fact: there’s also a red Roero Arneis, but you hardly ever see it).

Bruno Giacosa 2014 Roero Arneis is quite aromatic: white peaches, stone fruit, and citrus all appear on the nose. On the palate, an unexpected and quite distinct note of saffron comes out, and precise, well-balanced acidity that’s tempered with a creamy mouth-feel and piquant minerality complete the experience. Deriving from vineyards in Vezza d’Alba, Monteu Roero, Santo Stefano Roero, Canale, and Montà d’Alba, this Roero is crafted entirely in stainless steel, which is why it’s so fresh. Dry and crisp, this Giacosa Arneis can accompany a wide range of foods, from vitello to cheese, calamari or shellfish, salads to roast chicken. This great white moves elegantly from “aperitivi” to entrees, and priced at less than $30, this serious value white definitely deserves a place on your table!

Inside IWM, January 19-21, 2015: Brief, Intense and Delicious

A look back at the week that was

A lovely illustration of Canaiola

A lovely illustration of Canaiola

It was a quick week, but we packed a lot into it. Sean Collins, in his first post for Inside IWM, wrote about a delicious under $25 Northern Italian red that oscillates between sweet fruit and savory minerals, and he made Donnas 2011 Valle d’Aosta Rosso sound like real ride. And we continued our series on Italian red grape varietals with all the “C” grapes worth knowing. Read Cabernet Franc to Croatina, and ask how many of these grapes you know and love?

Garrett Kowalsky went back to basics with his first Italian wine love–Bruno Giacosa. Garrett’s two selections of Giacosa Roero Arneis and Barbaresco might’ve escaped your notice before, so enjoy them now! Crystal shared her secret to good entertaining: having a good white wine for her guests to drink while she’s cooking. Her picks from Chateau de la Maltroye fit that criterion perfectly. And Michael Adler loves family-owned-and-operated vineyards. Don’t miss his two under-the-radar Burgundy selections.

Cheers to short weeks and relaxing weekends!

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