The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Per Linda and Canalicchio di Sopra

Two expert selections from Will Di Nunzio

will expertI admit that I take full advantage of working in the wine industry and don’t hesitate to taste the greatest wines—from Barolo to Brunello, from Amarone to grand cru Burgundy, all are incredible, and I feel very fortunate to have had these experiences I’ve had. I love all these legendary wines for different reasons.

But then I think about the rest of the wines, those from the “little guys,” the “I’ve never heard of it” wines. Perhaps these bottles are not as well rated, but they are also enjoyable in their own right. These are the wines that have given many of us in the industry a beacon to follow. They’re the ones that make us ask the big questions: What is the next best thing I can get my hands on? What else is out there that is waiting for me to try? How can people not know this? It’s amazing!

Today, I’ve chosen two wines that are simple, delicious and straightforward. These two wines that are a surprise and an unexpected joy, and so much fun: Per Linda’s 2014 Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo and Canalicchio’s 2014 Rosso di Montalcino. They exude the easy life of Italy with no pretension—just simple living and a reminder to take life one day and one wine at a time.

Per Linda 2014 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo $12.99

Is it true that you have to spend a lot of money to get good wine? This common question has two answers; it’s both yes and no because it depends completely on what you’re doing and at where your palate experience lays. I believe that the true wine connoisseur appreciates all levels of wines, including entry-level wines like this phenomenal Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo from Per Linda. If you have heard of Per Linda, you know that this estate makes very affordable and delicious wines. You also know that they are simple, easy and perfect for anything. With a full body and great structure, this Trebbiano offers some beautiful citrusy notes and a clean finish; it’s perfect for the summer months ahead and certainly a “non-bank-breaking” bottle to open whenever you feel like a good glass of white.

Canalicchio di Sopra 2014 Rosso di Montalcino $34.99

Ah, Rosso di Montalcino, one of my absolute favorites and this one comes from our friend Francesco Ripaccioli of Canalicchio di Sopra. We had the great pleasure of tasting this wine recently with Francesco, and, as usual, it is a sublime bottle of wine. Rossos are meant to be enjoyed young; they have playful fruit, but they also have tannins that are grippy enough for some great dishes like pork or turkey. Moreover, they are every bit a great Italian red as their older brother Brunello. The nice thing here is that a Rosso di Montalcino tends to be half the price and go down a lot faster. This is another wine I have at the ready in my home cellar for last minute guests. This Canalicchio bottle is quintessentially Italian.

Expert Picks: Antinori and Latour-Giraud

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15One of the coolest things about Chardonnay is that it can take on myriad shapes and forms depending on where it grows and how it’s made. The first wine I’m writing about today, the 2013 Cervaro della Sala from Castello della Sala, the Antinori family’s estate in Umbria, comes from the heart of Italy. Produced by the country’s pre-eminent winemaking family, it’s made in the style of the beloved Burgundy subzone of Meursault, which happens to be the home of our second wine today, Domaine Latour-Giraud’s 2013 Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières. These two wines come from strikingly different backgrounds—Antinori is a massive, dynastic group of wineries while Latour-Giraud is a very young estate that farms less than one percent of Antinori’s total acreage. However, these two wines have much in common stylistically—and it’s not just being insanely delicious!

Antinori 2013 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay $54.99

Last week we received our allocation of Antinori’s 2013 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay, an IWM client favorite. Every vintage of Cervaro impresses us for its balance, structure and stunning evocation of Umbrian terroir. Made in a Burgundian style that is reminiscent of a traditional Meursault, the ‘13 Cervaro is texturally stunning; it’s crisp and clean while at the same time round, lush and luxurious. 2013 was a relatively cool growing season, ideal for Chardonnay grapes, and this beautiful wine coats the palate in waves of citrus, orchard fruits, herbs and stony minerals. While this Cervaro is immensely enjoyable in its youth, the 2013 will also benefit from some additional time in bottle and continue to evolve over the next decade.

Domaine Latour-Giraud 2011 Meursault-Genevrières 1er Cru $119.99

For years the IWM team has been blown away by the depth, complexity and outright power of Latour-Giraud’s wines. These satisfying Meursaults benefit from a telltale chiseled acidity that makes them precise and terroir-driven yet also texturally satisfying. Latour-Giraud produces some of the most extraordinary whites on the market, but these wines are made in very small quantities. We’ve seen reductions in crop size in every vintage since 2010, so while there isn’t much wine to go around, the wines have excellent concentration and depth of flavor. After three or four years in bottle, the estate’s 2011 Meursault Genevrières is profoundly delicious; apple and citrus fruits meld with secondary aromas of minerals, wet stone, white pepper and baking spices, all tied together by a round, gripping structure and lingering, mouth-watering acidity. Though it is in the midst of a beautiful drinking window right now, it will continue to evolve in the bottle for another five or seven years. Don’t miss out!

Expert Picks: Sartarelli and…Sartarelli!

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Italian whites must fight for a share of the spotlight—not because they are undeserving but because they have an undeservedly bad rap. Sure, there are some highly commercial wines that have somewhat tarnished the category as a whole, but if you know where to look, Italy offers some of the most refreshing, compelling, unique and beguiling whites in the world! As with wines from any country or region, you should pay attention to the producer name along with the style of the region when making your purchasing or ordering decisions.

Today I want to highlight Sartarelli’s delightful expressions of the Verdicchio grape from the Le Marche region of Italy. One of the premier producers of fine Verdicchio, Sartarelli makes meticulous and wonderfully terroir-driven wines with impressive finesse and complexity. Gifted with a unique terroir and located in the heart of the Marche, Sartarelli vines are perched on slopes 1000 feet above sea level and range from 20-33 years in age. No oak is used for any of the wines, allowing for the purity of the fruit to come through, and the estate’s wines are clean, soft and layered with complex minerality and notes of honey, peach and white flowers.

Below are two offerings that offer exceptional value and drinking pleasure. The refreshing Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico is released right out of the gate, while the Travilio trails one year after the harvest. Always impressive, these wines offer unbeatable value and are wonderful to drink with a variety of foods, flavors and friends.

Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico $17.99

This lovely Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico delivers a clean, crisp and elegant expression of Verdicchio; it’s perfect for those “anytime” moments. The fruit and green grass on the nose marries perfectly with the fresh minerality and bright acidity on the palate, making it ideal for a simple lunch of pasta primavera or classic raw bar favorites. Easily among the best value whites here at IWM.

Sartarelli 2013 Verdicchio Tralivio $21.99

Sartarelli sources its Tralivio from specially selected grapes from the winemaker’s oldest vineyards. Yields for the Tralivio are limited, translating into a wine with softness and finesse. This crisp yet full-bodied white offers floral tones on the nose followed by Verdicchio’s unmistakable raw almond and white peach. If you are looking for a lovely, unoaked white that gives an abundance of flavor and aroma, you can’t go wrong with this special Verdicchio. Another exceptional value under $25!

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!

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