The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Go-To-Tuesday Wine: Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico

A lively, vivacious under $18 Italian white!

WH1883-2TFinally, some consistent white wine weather (or just spring weather for the rest of us). As the mercury rises in New York, it means only one thing: it’s the perfect time for a lively, vivacious white. I decided to enjoy my weekend with Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico.

This wine was born in a region called Castelli di Jesi, arguably the best region for Italy’s Verdicchio grape. Situated around 1,000 feet above sea level where nothing blocks the cool sea breezes coming off the coast of Ancona,  Sartarelli’s vineyards impart the estate’s wines with a rich minerality. This mineral core balances out the wines’ fruitiness and adds substantive structure. Despite the seemingly ideal landscape for Verdicchio,  the talents of winemaker Alberto Mazzoni make Sartarelli wines something special. Dedicating Sartarelli entirely to Verdicchio, Mazzoni uses his experience with the ancient grape to create wines with a silky texture.

Like most of Sartarelli’s wines, this Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico is an easy starter wine and a real crowd-pleaser. And did I mention that this wine is under $18? Yes, this white is probably one of the best value wines we offer at IWM. I shared this with my friends and heard nothing but excellent reviews as we drank it with linguine and shellfish. Although it has powerful fruity aromatics, this Verdicchio is very well balanced and goes well with almost any food as its flavor will not overpower any dish. However, I will say we particularly enjoyed it with seafood. Its minerality and almost almondy finish just seemed to lend itself perfectly to mussels, clams, and linguine. I full-heartedly recommend keeping a few bottles (or cases) of this on-hand for the warm weather ahead.

Inside IWM, March 21-24, 2016: It’s Spring (and Easter)!

A look back at the week that was

IMG_2225This weekend is Easter Sunday, which is preoccupying much, although not all, of IWM’s staff. We finished the week with Garrett Kowalsky’s ode to pork and his picks for pairing with ham (there’s even a poem from a lauded poet). Our go-to wine, coincidentally, would be a find suggestion for this Sunday’s feast; Sean Collins wrote about a$22 Sartarelli Verdicchio so good it makes converts out of red wine lovers.

John Camacho Vidal offered a brief history lesson before picking two Italian Cabernet Franc wines, both from Antinori. Michael Adler looks forward to 2014 Burgundies by selecting a pair of beloved 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet bottles. When it comes to pairing with spring’s tender bounty, Crystal Edgar turns to Umbria’s Castello della Sala, another Antinori holding, for her selections. And Francesco Vigorito has your value Burgundy needs covered with two lovely Pinot Noir bottles, both under $40.

Cheers to you, your family and to spring, however you’re celebrating it!

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Sartarelli 2013 Verdicchio Tralivio

A $22 white that makes converts out of red wine lovers

WH1822-2When the sun is out and the sky is blue, there’s nothing like a good white wine. You hear a lot of wine drinkers say, “I’m just more of a red person. With all deference to these people, I think they haven’t been properly introduced to a great white wine. I decided to put this theory to the test this past weekend, using my roommates, avowed red wine lovers, as the test subjects. I went with the Sartarelli 2013 Verdicchio Tralivio, an excellent starter wine, and the result was just what I was looking for.

Sartarelli began its career selling its grape production every year; however, in 1972 the property starting making its own wine. Picking fruit only from the oldest vines and selecting the finest grapes in its vineyards, Sartarelli produces a unique, rustic, and full-bodied wine. Verdicchio holds a reputation as being one of Italy’s finest white grapes, lending its floral and fruity character to many beloved Italian white wines. However well known, Verdicchio reaches great heights with the talents of Sartarelli’s winemaker Alberto Mazzoni. Sartarelli grows only Verdicchio, and the estate consistently crafts excellent quality wines. By sticking to traditional cultivation methods, meticulously searching for the best low-yield grapes, and perfecting its aging protocol, Sartarelli creates an intense and complex Verdicchio that most producers can only dream about.

This Verdicchio Tralivio was a terrific starter wine, especially given the $22 price tag. As I had anticipated, the expressions on my red-wine-loving roommates’ faces changed as they were hit with notes of lemon and pineapple followed by a wave of flowers, all followed by a surprising late hint of smokiness. As it crossed the palate, this wine revealed an excellent feel and consistency, likely due to the meticulous aging process put forth by these masters of Verdicchio.  This Sartarelli Verdicchio is very food-friendly, particularly with white meat and greens, and, more importantly, its easy drinkability made white wine fans out of my red-wine friends.

Inside IWM, February 16-18, 2016: Short but Intense Edition

A look back at the week that was

Growing Sangiovese Grosso vines

Growing Sangiovese Grosso vines

For Monday being a holiday, Inside IWM packed a lot into this week. Sean Collins told us how he wowed his friends with an unexpectedly delicious $19 bottle of Chianti Classico from La Maialina. We got an inside view of the IWM NYC showroom from John Camacho Vidal, who explained how what we do is different from every other wine shop. And we completed our series on Italian red wine grapes with a rousing post that details some of our favorites; from Refosco to Uva Rara, this exploration of red grapes expands your wine knowledge.

Our Experts were similarly intense. Crystal Edgar looks forward to summer with two fine Verdicchio wines from Sartarelli, one of our favorite Le Marche producers. Michael Adler looks at Meursault and “Meursault,” offering a pair of wines that will reward lovers of fine Chardonnay. And Will Di Nunzio picks a pair of under $35 quintessentially Italian wines, making sure that you can drink great wine any night of the week.

Here’s to making the most of your time–and enjoying it with terrific wine and even better people.

Go-to-Wine Tuesday: Sartarelli 2013 Verdicchio Tralivio

A delicious, fresh under $22 Verdicchio and a recipe for instant summer!

WH1822-2Summer is over, but we have had such beautiful sunny days in New York City that I wanted to open a nice bottle of white wine and cook a dish that reminds me of great summer dinners. One of my favorite dishes is the pasta all’astice (lobster pasta). This simple dish with few ingredients is the natural expression of the great product that nature has to offer.

Verdicchio is probably one of the best pairings for shellfish dishes because it is fresh, crisp and has a nice sharp acidity. The aromas of citrus perfectly complement clams, crabs, and lobsters! The Verdicchio grape has been cultivated in the Marche region since the fourteenth century. One of IWM’s best-loved Verdicchio producers is Sartatelli. Founded in 1972, this beautiful estate is situated 1000 feet above the level of the sea in the middle of Castelli di Jesi, the finest region for growing Verdicchio.

IMG_2405 The bottle I picked for my summer feast was Sartarelli 2013 Verdicchio Tralivio, and it was everything I could hope for: concentrated yet vibrant, floral and citrusy, and finishing with that telltale bitter almond that makes Verdicchio so perfect with shellfish. The result of meticulous grape selection and traditional vinification techniques, this wine is a textbook expression of Verdicchio, and at just over $20 a bottle, it’s easy and affordable to enjoy!

Spaghetti all’astice

Ingredients for two people:

1 live lobster (2 ½ lbs is a good size)

2 split garlic cloves

8 small cherry tomatoes

Extra virgin olive oil

One glass of Sartarelli Verdicchio Tralivio

Past : spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or vermicelli

IMG_2399First of all, you can ask to get a live lobster split for you at the fish market; otherwise, I highly recommend you to put your live lobster in a cold fridge with a humid towel on the top for a couple hours. The cold temperature puts the lobster to sleep and will not feel anything when you cut him alive (I promise).

Crack the live lobster into two pieces, starting with the head down to the tail. After putting aside the lobster body and its jus, you can rinse out the grey/beige part from the head. You should also crack the two claws to help them cook easier.

Do not be scared if the lobster still moves even after being split into two pieces; just as happens in frogs, the nerves are active, but the crustacean is dead.

Take a very large skillet with a lid, and start making a soffritto, braised garlic and olive oil, at medium heat with extra virgin olive oil and the split garlic cloves.

IMG_2401Then add the two parts of the lobster shell in the skillet; pour a glass of white wine, the lobster jus and your small cherry tomatoes. Increase the heat to evaporate the alcohol for a couple minutes, then reduce the heat, cover with the lid and let cook for 18-20 minutes.

IMG_2403IMG_2402As the lobster is cooked, take the two pieces and of lobster and the claws out of the skiller. Remove the inner meat part out of all the shells, cut in small pieces and put back in the skillet to mix with the juice. Keep warm and cover.

Once the lobster is almost done and changed to a bright red/orange, toss the pasta in the five quarts of salted boiling water.

Cook pasta to taste, strain the pasta, put it in the skillet and mix with the lobster pieces. Serve on warm plates and add some fresh-cut Italian parsley at the end.

IMG_2405This meal, paired with Sartarelli Verdicchio, will fool you into thinking it’s summer, even in the middle of January. It’s a pretty easy trip to August, whenever you might need it.

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