The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Hughes et Goisot and Chateau de la Maltroye

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco 2014Sometimes you just want to open a bottle, and enjoy it. You don’t want to meditate on what you are drinking, ​and you don’t want to feel guilty for opening up something premature or too expensive. I chose two wines that fill this niche perfectly. Both from Burgundy and both will amaze for how inexpensive, characterful and delicious they are.

Hughes et Goisot 2012 Exogyra Virgula Sauvignon Saint Bris $22.50

Believe it or not, you can grow Sauvignon Blanc in Burgundy and, trust me, it’s stellar. With a fresh, crisp attitude and floral and citrus aromatics, this is the perfect white wine quaffer for hot days and light foods. This is the type of wine you can just stick a straw into—it’s that delicious and that easy-going.

Chateau de la Maltroye 2012 Bourgogne Rouge $22.49

Made from virtually all 1er Cru fruit, this is like no other Rouge out there. This Maltroye makes the silkiest and most polished Bourgogne that I have come across, and it’s just a dream to drink. The tannins are soft; the fruit is sweet; and the aromatics pop out of the glass. I tasted this wine two days after I’d opened it and stuck it in the fridge with the cork; I couldn’t believe how well it showed. It’s hard to believe this beauty is under $23!

Expert Picks: Jean-Paul Droin and Peter Dipoli

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco_1With warm weather quickly upon us, now is the time to drink some beautifully refreshing White wine. Some of my favorite wines are indeed White in stature, and here are two of my favorite Whites, along with the food I like to enjoy when I’m drinking them.

Jean-Paul Droin Chablis 2011 $22.99

Chablis, oysters, clams on half shell, shrimp cocktail and some Chevre cheese–sounds like spring to me! The intense mineral quality of Chablis provides a beautiful backdrop for simply prepared seafood, and it’s the perfect way to start up a dinner with some friends and family.

Peter Dipoli Sauvignon Voglar 2007 $31.99

Here is one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs to come from Italy. Golden and rich in color, this White is very aromatic in the grapefruit and citrus department with a fuller body than most Sauvignon Blancs you may find. I would pair this with sweet, grilled scallops, a touch of avocado and a light vinaigrette.

Go-To-Wine Tuesday

Ronco del Gnemiz Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This week’s wine took me back to the place where I started my Italian tour of wine, Friuli.  My wife and I are avid seafood fans, and in the past whites were always our choice because they pair so well with seafood.  When I saw the Ronco del Gnemiz Sauvignon Blanc 2009 priced just under $30, I remembered back to older vintages of this wine that I tasted.  It’s a lovely Sauvignon Blanc that is refreshing, lively and laden with strong mineral qualities.  There is an added bright acidity that tingles the tongue with notes of wild herbs and vegetation.  The color is a shining gold and I can only imagine this coming from sun-drenched fields of Northern Italy with its aged and rich soils and hilly terrain.

This is a perfect drink while basking in the late summer evenings and watching the sun set over the Manhattan skyline (a frequent evening pastime of mine).  Try pairing this with some seasonal fruits or light antipasti with scallops, clams and calamari.  You can also try a soft cheese like Coupole, a fresh, young goat’s milk cheese that’s shaped like a small dome and lightly dusted with vegetable ash.  However you pair it, either with food or just a moment in time, take the time to connect with the aromatic bouquet of freshness and find solace in the glass.

The Wonderful White Wines of Didier Dagueneau

An iconoclast’s vision in a bottle

In the Loire Valley there are few producers who blend a spirit of experimentation and perfection quite like the late Didier Dagueneau. A man who looked more like the typical Cro-Magnons of Ancient Gaul than a connoisseur, Didier was a winemaker who both had a great respect for the health of his vineyards, but also had a mad scientist’s enthusiasm in the cellar. In the world of winemaking, Didier is a part of a small class of winemakers whose wines captivate the imagination of their audience, unleashing a tour de force of wine vision. In some ways, his wines are an expression of Didier’s own personal eccentricities; in others, they’re the product of his restless experimentation with wine. Never receiving formalized wine training, Didier was a driven perfectionist who took risks throughout his life, including the one that led to his death in 2008 in a tragic ultra-light plane accident.

At IWM we continue to honor this iconoclastic producer’s life’s work. The first time I tasted a Didier Bussion Renard was like the first time I tasted a Gravner Breg Anfora or a Soldera Brunello. The moment seared so completely in my mind that it became the standard to measure the taste of greatness in a wine. My sentiment expands with the pride we have here in representing the rare Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume Buisson Renard in both the 2002 and 2006 vintages. This Sauvignon Blanc derives from the Didier’s vineyard in the Loire Valley, now overseen by his children who carry on his Domaine, where a concentrated expression of terroir is distilled in grapes of extremely low yield per vine. Each bottle of his Busson Renard has a tactile mouth feel that is carried by a larger-then-life body for a white wine. However, there is balance and an unexpected purity as well that contrasts with a golden color in the glass. We’re honored to be one of a few merchants in the entire country to have access to the wines of this master.

For more information on these wines, please call our Portfolio Managers at (212) 473-2323 or email us at

Photo comes courtesy of the Tribute to Didier Dagueneau.

Go-To-Wine Tuesday

2008 Girlan Sauvignon

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: 2008 Girlan Sauvignon

One day late, another installment of our value wine series, “Go-To-Wine Tuesday.” Today’s selection is a  Sauvignon Blanc by Girlan.

If I were to describe myself in one word, I would say that I am an “organoleptophile.” I am absolutely fascinated by aromas, flavors, textures, sights and sounds; this is probably the reason why I got involved in wine.  Long before I discovered my passion for wine, I was deeply passionate about food, and still to this day I look for excuses to pair the two together because of the sensory adventure behind every sip and bite.

The wine featured today is the 2008 Girlan Sauvignon  “Indra” from Trentino Alto-Adige.   Believe it or not Sauvignon Blanc is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, the other parent being Cabernet Franc.    If you taste wines made from these varieties, you will notice some revealing characteristics; they all tend to throw greenish, bell-peppery, and herbal aromas that come from a chemical class called methoxy pyrazines.  These aromas were definitely apparent in the Girlan Sauvignon.  Superbly aromatic displaying aromas and flavors of elderflower and ripe grapefruit, this Sauvignon is ripe on the palate, full and very fresh; it’s a beautiful example of Italian Sauvignon. And at under $18, it’s an undisputable value.

Now for the fun part.  Tangy, creamy goat cheese is a perfect match for a zippy Sauvignon.  The fresh acidity in the Sauvignon complements the tangy goat cheese and does a nice job of cleansing the palate.  I picked up a couple of logs of goat cheese at the Union Square Green Market from a cheese place called Lynnhaven Goat Milk Cheese.   They have a wonderful assortment of cheese, yogurt and a true passion for what they do.

When I got home, I made a simple preparation.  I took some endive leaves, spread the herbed goat cheese, and topped it up with some minced pieces of fried pancetta to create a beautiful little canapé that would meld seamlessly with this Sauvignon.  The endive added a little crunch and pleasant bitterness to the goat cheese, and the pancetta contributed some salty, meaty and fatty flavors.  The aromatics of the herbed cheese were perfectly in balance with the aromatic Sauvignon. The wine had enough body to stand up to the pancetta, while the acid contrasted the creaminess and cleaned the palate in preparation for the next bite.  Pair with friends and family and you’ve got yourself an organoleptic experience that is inexpensive, delicious and well remembered.

Previous Go-to-WinesCastello Fageto’s 2008 Rosso Piceno

photo credits: photo 1, photo 2,

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