The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

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!

Expert Picks: Château de la Maltroye and Bachey-Legros

Two expert selections from Francesco Vigorito

Francesco 2014It’s quite difficult to find exceptional values in Burgundy, so whenever I come across some spectacular Burgundy bottles in the under $40 range, I get pretty excited. Château de la Maltroye and Bachey-Legros both make phenomenal Burgundies, and they somehow manage to keep the price down, while keeping the quality very high. Maltroye’s Bourgogne Rouge has always been one of my very favorites and you simply can’t beat a $35 Chassagne-Montrachet from Bachey-Legros. Don’t hesitate to snag these value Burgundy bottles!

Château de la Maltroye 2013 Bourgogne Rouge $29.99

This wine is pretty, delicate, floral, and elegant. Château de la Maltroye makes Pinot Noir the way it’s supposed to be, and to get this Bourgogne Rouge for less than $30 is a steal. It drinks way above its price point; pound for pound, it’s one of the best pours out there!

Bachey-Legros 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet Plantes Momiéres $34.99

Exclusive to IWM, Bachey-Legros has taken us by storm. It’s simply unheard of to get a high quality Chassagne-Montrachet with character for less than $35. This one derives from a single plot of land, Plantes Momiéres, adding even more distinction and character to this wine from a rarely heard of producer. This ’13 Chassagne-Montrachet is a definite bargain that’s easy on the wallet and delicious on the palate!

Expert Picks: Domaine Lamarche and…Domaine Lamarche!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiA couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little about Italian wine royalty and the house of Antinori. Today I wanted to take a peek at one of the revered estates of Burgundy and a family that traces its roots in the region back to the 1760’s. More than five generations later, the estate was purchased by François Lamarche, and since 1986 we have seen vintage after vintage of remarkable wines. François passed in 2013, and the property is now in the talented hands of his daughter Nicole and niece Nathalie. Located in the village of Vosne-Romanée, Lamarche maintains a handsome holding of 22 acres of vineyards. This is a remarkable amount of land when you consider the how properties and plots have been divided over the years, especially in vineyards as acclaimed as those in Vosne. Below are two ways to introduce yourself to both the simplicity and the majesty of Domaine Lamarche.

Domaine Lamarche 2011 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits $37.99

When many people think of the first wine or introductory wine of a property, they usually do not expect something this good. To start, the average age of the vine is 30 years old. Most properties I know around the world would be using vines aged 5-10 years in their first wines, not ones of this maturity. Cool and expressive fruit splashes across the palate and the mid-weight structure is both attractive and welcoming. This is the perfect wine to take out with friends while indulging in some meats and cheeses. Drink now until 2020.

Domaine Lamarche 2012 La Grande Rue Grand Cru $109.99

La Grande Rue is a 4-acre monopole owned by the Lamarche family—it’s an almost unheard of amount of property, especially when you consider that it abuts the legendary Romanée-Conti vineyard. This wine is among the elite Pinot Noirs in the world, and it manages to display opulence and elegance, structure and seduction. To drink it now would only offer you the tiniest glimpse into the magic, but wait at least five years and you’ll have a memory making wine on your hands. Drink 2017 to 2030.

Expert Picks: Livio Sassetti and Michele et Patrice Rion

Two expert selections from Justin Kowalsky

Justin_8.6.14_72dpiPeople often think that Bourgogne or Rosso are simply “little brothers” to their bigger and more expensive “siblings,” Cru Burgundy and Brunello. Although this may have been true at one point it certainly couldn’t be any further from the truth today. Wines like Bourgogne and Rosso have taken on a life of their own as they serve as an introduction to the estate’s style. Instead of trying to replicate the more expensive wines, these wines have become distinct entities on their own terms.

Most domaines now put some of their finest fruit into their Bourgogne, and many choose to craft theirs from their own 40-60 year old vineyards that lie just outside the village of the proprietor’s domaine. They can be superb, delicious wines that can even rival Village Bourgogne, but these wines can be enjoyed earlier, their tannins are more supple, their fruit is more forward, and they give immediate or near-term pleasure. One thing is for certain, the finest domaines make them with the same care as they do their Cru wines.

Like Bourgogne, Rosso di Montalcino is meant for early drinking; that is why it often contains super-ripe, lush fruit, sees little time in oak or bottle, and it released years before Brunello. The profile is of a juicy, fruit-driven wine that shows off wonderful aspects of the vintage, but in general is made to enjoy over the first 5-6 years of its life—Brunello isn’t even released for five years after the vintage!

Today, I’ve chosen a Rosso di Montalcino from Livio Sassetti and a Bourgogne from Michelle et Patrice Rion to help concretize my points about these wines. Both this Bourgogne and this Rosso are wonderful examples of what an estate can produce, and both show how the overall quality of these “little brothers” has soared over the past twenty years. Best of all, both of these high quality and affordable wines are enjoyable right now.

Livio Sassetti 2013 Pertimali Rosso di Montalcino $27.99
Made from Sangiovese Grosso grown in the Montosoli area, this beauty is loaded with rich, sweet red cherry fruit laced with hints of anise and spice. The tannins are pure and ripe, while the fruit coats the palate with vibrant red cherries and berries. Livio Sassetti truly makes one of the finest Rossos year in and out, and this ’13 can be enjoyed now and for another 6-8 years.

Michele et Patrice Rion 2012 Bourgogne Rouge $29.00

Produced from fruit in the village of Flagley-Echezeaux, this beauty simply sings as it emanates its lovely red and blue fruits that hit with delight. The delicious red-fruited palate is ultra-refined for Bourgogne—not unusual given its source in Flagley—and this wine shows a mélange of spices and hints of pekoe tea that make it wonderfully fragrant and complex. This is serious Bourgogne and can be enjoyed over now and over the next 5-7 years

Expert Picks: Domaine Barat and Domaine Henri Boillot

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiIt’s warm! It’s warm! I cannot believe it! The last weekend in March I had to escape the cold and rainy northeast, if just for a few days, so I bolted to visit friends near San Francisco. I relished in being able to drink my coffee outside on the porch in shorts and a t-shirt. I feared coming back east, but as it turns out, those fears were unfounded. We hit the 50’s last week, and this coming week temperatures will hit the 60’s. “Elated” would be an understatement. The excitement surrounding the weather has got me giddy for white Burgundy, so I thought I would show off two that I enjoyed while I was in Cali.

Domaine Barat Chablis 2011 $22.50

Since 2008, our Burgundy buyer has been bringing in the value-centric wines of Domaine Barat. Each year these wines seem to get better and better, and the 2011 Chablis is no different. It offers up pure refreshment; it’s bright, vibrant and shows plenty of zip as it crosses the palate. We only have a couple of cases left; each and every bottle is a great way to start a spring or summer evening. Drink now to 2017.

Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres 2012 $129.99

Henri Boillot is like royalty in Burgundy. Every opportunity you have to drink one of his wines is an opportunity that you should take advantage of. The 2012 vintage provided rich and complex wines in both red and white. His 1er Cru Perrieres is elegant and layered, and the precision of the vineyard remains intact despite the vintage. Altogether lovely and a highlight to my trip! Drink now to 2024.

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