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.

Expert Picks: De Conciliis and Renzo Seghesio

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiWe wine-lovers are always looking for value—those wines that give us the most bang for our bucks, or those superb bottles that should cost more than they do. I get asked about value a lot. Sometimes value is a wine that over-delivers on a relatively expensive price point, but other times it’s a wine doesn’t cost much yet still explodes on the palate.

Regardless of whether you’re a big-time collector or an enthusiastic novice, chances are you’ll sometimes want to drink a wine that’s easy and delicious. This kind of wine, the bottles that don’t require much thought often fit most neatly into the value category. Last week, I enjoyed two wines that fall into this easy-going value category: a Fiano from De Conciliis and a Nebbiolo from Renzo Seghesio. I expect these wines, favorites of IWM founder Sergio Esposito, will become your favorites too, once you give them a shot.

De Conciliis 2013 Donnaluna Fiano $24.99

De Conciliis has long been an IWM staple. This estate produces a superb lineup of wines that includes a sparkler, whites and reds from Campania in the South of Italy. This Fiano offering is a bright, golden and complex white from along the Campania coast. Fiano, an ancient grape that for many years teetered on extinction, has made a resurgence thanks to producers like De Conciliis; this complex ’13 Fiano feels ready to burst with citrus fruits, honey, minerals, nuts and fresh, palate-cleansing acidity. Drink to 2020.

Renzo Seghesio 2011 Ruri Langhe Nebbiolo $36.99

The Seghesio family has been producing wines in the Barolo region for more than a century—with a 100 years of experience I am not surprised that this estate has nailed down the intricacies of the Nebbiolo grape to produce some stellar wines. Seghesio’s Barolos are traditional, elegant and long lived, but they can be difficult to approach in their youth. That is why this Nebbiolo Langhe, sourced from the younger vines and refined in steel as opposed to oak, is such an important play. This Ruri Langhe Nebbiolo allows you a chance to appreciate the freshness and cherry fruit that Nebbiolo offers, but without the overwhelming tannins. It’s definitely a reward for those on a budget and for those without patience. Drink to 2022.


Inside IWM, March 7-10, 2016: Look Beyond the Ordinary

A look back at the week that was

800px-UmbriaPanoramaWe began in ancient Greece and we ended in Umbria, and in between, this week was a whirlwind of delicious wine. A man who figured out all the angles, Pythagoras knew a thing or two about politeness too; we look at the Greek philosopher’s wineglass that schools greedy guests. Stephane Menard doesn’t want to relinquish winter too soon, so he’s holding onto the last of it with this delicious $25 Valpolicella Ripasso from Venturini Massimino. And Umbria is more than Toscana’s neighbor; it’s a vital winemaking region in its own right. We look beyond Orvieto in this tour of Umbria.

Garrett Kowalsky looks past the myth of Charlemagne’s beard in his expert picks, selecting a pair of Corton-Charlemagne bottles from Louis Jadot and Henri Boillot. Michael Adler pretends it’s still winter and cuddles up with a pair of Aldo Conterno Barolos that just don’t quit. And John Camacho Vidal just cant quit Amarone; he looks at the region’s wines and picks two outstanding bottles from Nicoli and Romano Dal Forno.

Here’s to celebrating a life less ordinary with wine and people you love!



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!

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Valle dell’Acate 2014 Frappato Vittoria

Juicy, zippy, delicious under $22 Frappato!

RD8758-2It was great to enjoy beautiful weather last weekend after being caged indoors from the blizzard the week before. The unseasonable warmth put me in a mood for something inexpensive, fruity, and good with a light meal. After doing a little research, I found this terrific catch, the Valle dell’Acate 2014 Frappato Vittoria. For a $22 bottle, this wine features noticeable depth and layers. Once I got past the smoothness, I was hit by a wave of red fruit and herbs, followed by a rush of juicy cherries.

Valle dell’Acate can trace its roots back to the nineteenth century; however that does not mean they’re afraid to embrace technology. Using a combination of classical winemaking and modern systems, this estate stresses eco-friendly sustainability, while also striving to use whatever means available to better its product. Rather than catering to market demands, the estate sticks to tradition and almost exclusively grows grapes native to Sicily. This vineyard uses Sicily’s indigenous Frappato grapes to create a velvety, yet distinctly fruity wine that is spectacular for its price range, and the result is an aromatic and velvety wine perfect for warm and light jacket weather.

My roommates and I were inspired me to forget last week’s blizzard and go exploring in the city for some of New York’s own indigenous plant life, so we visited Inwood Hill Park for its indigenous vegetation and spectacularly preserved Native American caves. Seeing New York’s natural side really helped further my appreciation of Valle dell’Acate’s commitment to sustainability and the pride this estate has in its heritage. After a long afternoon of exploring northern Manhattan, we returned home and enjoy some Sicilian history in a bottle. Just as we had hoped, a healthy meal of grilled chicken and green vegetables went perfectly with Valle dell’Acate’s Frappato Vittoria. This is an easy go-to wine choice for anyone looking for a touch of adventure, or just a day outside with friends.

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