The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Le Macchiole and Raffaele Palma

Two expert selections from Will di Nunzio

Will_B_8.6.14_72dpiHaving great wine in the house has grown as important to us as it is to have food in the fridge. Sure, we can do without a good bottle, but our day feels a little incomplete without it. To ensure you have great wine daily, I want to suggest two unique wines that really struck me. The Bolgheri Rosso from Le Macchiole—I could not even believe how good it was—and the Raffaele Palma Montecorvo, which I have been telling everyone about. These are two absolutely stunning bottles from Toscana and Campania that you should not hesitate to pick up at your earliest convenience.

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2011 $35.99

Toscana — Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, Syrah

Cinzia Merlo took over the estate in 2005 and the Bolgheri Rosso is her business card, a bottle that she opens to give someone an idea of what Le Macchiole is all about. Focusing on international varietals, the estate has mastered the art of making incredible Super Tuscans on an everyday and on a collectible level. The Bolgheri Rosso 2011 is rich, full, and powerful yet silky. This wine goes right down, and before you know it, you’ve finished the bottle. One of these best I’ve had recently.

Raffaele Palma Montecorvo 2011 $74.99

Campania — Aglianico, Piedirosso, Tintore

Just the other day I opened this wine because I wanted to revisit it from the last time I had it at the beginning of August. It keeps getting better and better. As you may know, Raffaele Palma is a recent addition to our portfolio and a wine that Sergio secured for us. All vineyards are organically grown on steep slopes facing the ocean, right on the Amalfi Coast. It doesn’t get better than that! If you’re a fan of wines from Campania, then this is a must-have bottle! Volcanic minerality, leather, a touch of chocolate and mint—what a wine! Have this with some Pappardelle al Ragu di Cinghiale and you’re in heaven.

Expert Picks: Talenti and Ca’ Marcanda!

Two expert selections from Robin Kelley O’Connor

Robin_B_8.6.14_72dpiOctober comes to a close with Halloween as the month’s last great bash. November debuts with the New York Marathon and ends with Thanksgiving. We are entering red wine season and today I have two exciting IWM Picks. Tuscany gets the call with Talenti Brunello di Montalcino 2008 and the newly released Ca’ Marcanda Magari 2012.

The very talented Riccardo Talenti crafted this delicious Brunello di Montalcino that’s not only one of our favorite Sangiovese Grosso, but it’s also one of IWM’s fastest selling wines. Angelo Gaja is a force of nature. When I first met Angelo at a Wine Spectator event many years ago, he didn’t speak a word of English. The determined Angelo tackled the English language, and now he speaks beautifully. With this same straight-line thrust he moved into Tuscany in 1994 acquiring vineyards and vineyard land. Starting with just a vision, twenty years later he is making some of Toscana’s most exciting wines.

Talenti Brunello di Montalcino 2008 $54.99

The beautiful, ruby red ’08 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino spent twelve months in Slovonian oak. The concentrated and complex nose emanates spice, leather, cherries, fruit preserves, tobacco, dark chocolate and hints of violets. The wine enters the palate with a wide-open throttle with flavors of cherries, wild berries, cassis and red licorice. Smooth and harmonious, this Brunello offers smooth velvety tannins and a long balanced finish with years of life ahead.

Ca’ Marcanda (Gaja) Magari 2012 $69.99

The Ca’ Marcanda Magari 2012 is a great example of the capable hands of Angelo Gaja, and it’s a wine that lets you enjoy this maestro at less than $70! “Magari” means “if only it were true,” and Gaja explains that Italians use this expression to express desire, hope, and a vision of a bright future. This inky, dark blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc spent eighteen months in barriques and an additional six months in bottle. On the nose, its perfect blend of aromas highlight the plum and spice of the Merlot balanced by the classic cassis and black currant scents of the Cabernets. Offering a rich, silky and bold palate, this wine’s finish is long and fulfilling. It’s simply a delicious wine at an amazing price point.

Expert Picks: Aldo Conterno and Castello dei Rampolla

Two expert selections from Will Di Nunzio

Will_newWhen choosing wines, I am most often influenced by food, as many of us are. I think about the meals I will have and like to pair up wine that’ll work with the dishes, thinking from both a pairing standpoint and from my personal palate preferences too. I’ve recently had both of these wines and loved them; they really showed beautifully, and I felt instantly transported to the vineyards. I hope you do too.

Poderi Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d’Alba 2010 $36.99

Piemonte – Barbera d’Alba

I like to think of Barbera as the Sangiovese of the north, not because they drink similarly, but because it is so widely enjoyed and produced on a similar level. Like Sangiovese, Barbera is a glorious wine to enjoy with food, but unlike Sangiovese you can drink Barbera on its own without any problem. Is Barbera better? That’s up to you, but whether or not it supplants Sangiovese, I am sure you’ll love it as I do. Aldo’s rendition is on its own, much like the great Barolo winemakers tend to be—this wine is affordable, smooth and utterly delicious. It’s certainly a wine you can open any day of the week.

Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo 2006 $175

Toscana – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot

Do you like big wines? If yes is your answer, then the Vigna d’Alceo is where you need to be. This is no California wine, though, so please make no mistake. While the Alceo is a massive bottle of wine, there is that incredible Italian flair that offers the kind of balance you might be seeking if you’re a big-and-bold wine buyer. From the heart of Chianti, in Pazano (home to Fontodi’s Flaccianello), we get a wine that is supple, rich, balanced, and now eight years old, a true delight to begin enjoying. Throw a steak on the grill this summer and open this bad boy; you’ll love it.

Expert Picks: Fontodi and…Fontodi!

Two expert selections from David Gwo

DAvid gwo blog bio photoThe Fontodi estate is without a doubt one of the standard bearers in Chianti Classico. Many IWM clients have visited this epic estate and they always say two things: how beautiful the property is and how gracious the Manettis are to their guests. Oh, and of course, how incredible the wines are!

Giovanni Manetti produces a whole line-up of wines out of his famous winery that includes his entry-level Chianti Classico, his cru Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Riserva, and the cult Flaccianello. Giovanni is obsessed with quality, a hallmark of the world’s best producers, and utilizes organic viticulture in his vineyards. The 2010 vintage was a strong one, reflected through all of the wines released. The Fontodi Chianti Classico is always a reliable go-to for entertaining friends and family or as a casual weekend drinker, while Flaccianello deserves a spot in any wine enthusiasts’ collection, gaining maturity in anticipation for that moment to express itself in all its glory.

Drink today:

Fontodi 2010 Chianti Classico $19.99

This wine could be held over the course of the next few years and it will soften and become more integrated and expressive, but why wait? This 100% Sangiovese is drinking deliciously right now with dark cherries, earth, and tobacco on the nose and tart black cherries and earth carrying through on the palate in a medium-full-bodied frame. Chianti Classico is one of the most improved regions in Italy over the last couple of decades and it’s great to see producers like Fontodi crafting quality wines for the masses.


 Fontodi 2010 Flaccianello $119.00

Flaccianello is Fontodi’s flagship wine and what a wine it is. This is also 100% Sangiovese, but from the best grapes of each harvest. Prior to 2001 Flaccianello was a single-vineyard bottling coming from the Flaccianello della Pieve vineyard. In 2001, Manetti decided to use the best grapes from the entire estate vs. the single vineyard, and the results have been staggering. Every year since then Flaccianello consistently receives top marks from critics and consumers alike. This 2010 is big and structured, as is the case with all young Flaccianellos, but you can immediately tell that with time this is going to be one of the best Tuscan wines of the vintage.

Expert Picks: Graci and Tenuta San Guido

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco_1Spring is always a fun time of year at IWM because we get so many shipments of so many types of fun vino! From Rosé, to vintage ready reds, to crisp and cool whites, or everyday drinkers, our inventory is off the charts right now. Here are two bottles that are exciting me today.

Graci 2012 Etna Rosso $24.99Perhaps my favorite spring red is this beauty from Graci in Sicilia. Soft and generous with a gorgeous vein of freshness, this Nerello Mascalese is low in tannin and high in flavor.  Sweet red cherries and pretty floral notes all ride on frame of light, supple tannins.  This is a red that will lift you up this time of year.

Tenuta San Guido 1999 Sassicaia $309.00

1999 was a little overlooked, but you can bet that this will be stunner. It’s not the most opulent vintage from San Guido, but the 1999 impresses for its classic stature and understated profile. Grilled herbs, dark fruit, leather and tobacco will excite both the palate and nose. Drink now or save for the next 5-7 years, but don’t miss the opportunity to get it at 15% off!

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