The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

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Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa 2014 Dolcetto d’Alba

A delicious, fresh everyday Giacosa bottle!











31TqXXO1wyLThis past weekend was Mothers Day,and we all honored our mothers for raising us, loving us, and supporting us. Honestly, is there a better way to show your appreciation than with a bottle of wine? You really can’t go wrong when the name Bruno Giacosa is on the bottle, so I chose the delicious, yet affordable Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa 2014 Dolcetto d’Alba.

Bruno Giacosa is one of the finest producers of Barolo and Barbaresco. His highly sought-after wines are often intense in character and rich in flavor. This Dolcetto, however, represents the more approachable side of Giacosa; it’s a balanced everyday wine that’s under $30 a bottle. Giacosa’s estates have been crafting high quality wine for decades, so it may surprise you that Giacosa once purchased all of his grapes from outside suppliers. This explains why the name Casa Vinicola appears before his name on this wine. The Giacosa estate does not own the vineyards in its Casa Vinicola bottlings; rather, it hand-selects the finest and most desirable grapes from farmers whom the Giacosa team trusts.

Dolcetto roughly translates to “little sweet one,” but this translation does not do the wine justice. This Dolcetto bursts with fruit, but it’s balanced by a bright acidity. The result is an easy, approachable wine that goes well with pretty much anything. I had mine with grilled chicken and vegetables, but, due to its versatility, it can just as easily be enjoyed with pasta or even pizza. This wine is an instant crowd-pleaser and an ideal wine to have on hand for any occasion.

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 2013 Le Volte

Intense, structured, vibrant and delicious under $30 wine from Ornellaia!











RD8563-2I was very excited and curious to try the new 2013 vintage of Le Volte, the “second wine” from the iconic Tuscan producer Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. After drinking it this past weekend, I’m delighted to tell you that this 2013 Le Volte drinks like a beauty and priced just under $30 it offers a great price-to-quality ratio for a top quality Super-Tuscan.

With neighboring producers like Tenuta San Guido, Antinori’s Guado al Tasso, Grattamacco, and Le Macchiole,Tuscany’s tiny coastal town of Bolgheri is at the pinnacle of winemaking in Tuscany.  Tenuta dell’Ornellaia was one of the region’s first estates, and 1985 was the estate’s first vintage. The estate’s 63 acres are planted predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small plantings of Cabernet Franc, all sitting on elevated parcels composed of clay, gravel, and loam soils. Although it is considered the “second wine” of the estate, Le Volte combines the Tuscan expression of opulence and generosity with structure and complexity. The approachable style of Le Volte , a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (sourced from trusted neighboring estates), reflects the philosophy and outstanding savoir-faire of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia.

One of the secrets of this gorgeous wine is that the grapes from each vineyard ferment separately in individual tanks. This makes a lot of work for winemaker Axel Heinz’s team, but it means that each individual base wine (of which there are more than 60!) contributes its own character to creation of the final blend according to the specific conditions of the vineyard area.  Only after a period of 12 months of aging in French oak barrels does the Ornellaia team select and blend the base wines to create an elegant expression of the vintage’s unique character.

Intense red and dark fruits aromas burst from the glass and the pure fruit notes are beautifully delineated. The 2013 Le Volte reflects its cool growing year and late harvest in its concentration, structure, energy and purity. It’s a perfect wine to enjoy now with a bit of decanting and it’ll pair perfectly well with a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes, grilled or braised meats, but it will drink beautifully for another 7-10 years if you have the patience to age it in your cellar. I highly recommend it and hope you will enjoy it too!

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.

 

Expert Picks: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Aldo Conterno

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito











Francesco 2014Today, I wanted to pick two wines I’ve drunk recently that I know you will love. They are terrific, and if you love Italian wines, you won’t want to miss them.

I can easily say that every time I taste a Le Volte, I always say “Now, that’s a great wine for the dollar!” That said, the 2013 is the best vintage I have yet tasted from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s entry-level wine. There is just something about the 2013 Tuscan wines in general that makes them stand out from the other vintages, and this Le Volte is a Super Tuscan to know and love. Next up is Poderi Aldo Conterno, the estate that bears the name of “he king of Barolo.” While Aldo Conterno’s wines are very well known, I’ve found they’re really exciting me these days. The estate’s 2011s are to die for and the best part is that they are so approachable and very delicious right now, especially the Colonnello.

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 2013 Le Volte $29.99

Composed of 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, with all varieties vinified separately, this 2013 Le Volte bottling is the best I’ve had from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. Rich, aromatic, voluptuous and exquisitely finessed for a $30 bottle of wine, this Super Tuscan has got everything you want and need. With winemaker like Axel Heinz behind it, you know it’s going to be good.

Poderi Aldo Conterno 2011 Barolo Colonnello $149.99

I’ve never smelled aromatics in a recent vintage Barolo quite like those in this ’11 Barolo Colonello—they’re complex, enticing and extraordinary. The Colonnello vineyard is known for wines with lighter structure, bursting aromatics and approachable nature, and this Conterno is so beautiful that it’s hard to keep your hand off of it. I just drank one of these ’11 Barolo Colonnellos on Monday, so it’s still fresh in mind—all I want is to find another reason to drink one. The beguilingly rich aromatics alone are worth the entrance fee!

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Pojer & Sandri 2013 Vin dei Molino Rosato

This beautiful $23 rosato bridges the worlds of red and white wines











WH1606-2Spring has come, but last weekend’s weather didn’t seem to get the memo.  I couldn’t decide if the weather called for a red or a white, so I went with something with the qualities of both. With the dark berry color of a red and the easy drinkability of a white, Pojer & Sandri 2013 Vin dei Molino Rosato seemed like my best bet. Being from the multicultural region Trentino Alto-Adige, this rosato derives from the admittedly not very Italian-sounding Rotberger grape. However, once you see Trentino Alto-Adige on a map, the name begins to make sense. This Italian region is a unique cultural nexus that borrows language, style and traditions from its Swiss and Austrian neighbors. Not surprisingly, this Alto-Adige rosé is influenced by its interesting background, which gives it characteristics unlike just about any wine I’ve ever tasted. It’s certainly something worth trying, especially given the $23 price tag.

Since 1975, longtime friends Mario Pojer and Fiorentino Sandri have been cultivating excellent grapes from the mountainous Trentino Alto-Adige. Back when they started, the friendly duo, armed only with youthful optimism and winemaking know-how, set out to show that their hometown of Faedo could produce high quality wine. Aided by an Italian wine craze in the 1970s, their vineyard proved successful, and its wines became known for their uniqueness and aromatics. Fast-forward to 2013 and Pojer & Sandri’s Rosato is no exception; it combines the refreshing qualities of a white with the dryness and satisfaction of a red. Though certainly more red-like, this wine has mass appeal for both white and red lovers, making it an ideal any-time wine for entertaining guests or just relaxing at home.

The light and approachable Vin dei Molino Rosato would go great with any light meal, but I enjoyed it with bread and assorted cheeses. This rosé has a red wine’s elegance and acidity, but it finishes with a fun, lively fruity tang that’s reminiscent of a white. The ’13 Vin Dei Molino Rosato appears darker than most rosé wines, though it’s still smooth and easy on the palate. The nose is filled with rich berries and flowers, and the finish leaves you with black currants, almond, and a hint of spice. Best of all, its flexibility is perfect for dealing with the ups and downs of this month’s weather until spring really arrives.

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