The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Antinori and Latour-Giraud

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15One of the coolest things about Chardonnay is that it can take on myriad shapes and forms depending on where it grows and how it’s made. The first wine I’m writing about today, the 2013 Cervaro della Sala from Castello della Sala, the Antinori family’s estate in Umbria, comes from the heart of Italy. Produced by the country’s pre-eminent winemaking family, it’s made in the style of the beloved Burgundy subzone of Meursault, which happens to be the home of our second wine today, Domaine Latour-Giraud’s 2013 Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières. These two wines come from strikingly different backgrounds—Antinori is a massive, dynastic group of wineries while Latour-Giraud is a very young estate that farms less than one percent of Antinori’s total acreage. However, these two wines have much in common stylistically—and it’s not just being insanely delicious!

Antinori 2013 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay $54.99

Last week we received our allocation of Antinori’s 2013 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay, an IWM client favorite. Every vintage of Cervaro impresses us for its balance, structure and stunning evocation of Umbrian terroir. Made in a Burgundian style that is reminiscent of a traditional Meursault, the ‘13 Cervaro is texturally stunning; it’s crisp and clean while at the same time round, lush and luxurious. 2013 was a relatively cool growing season, ideal for Chardonnay grapes, and this beautiful wine coats the palate in waves of citrus, orchard fruits, herbs and stony minerals. While this Cervaro is immensely enjoyable in its youth, the 2013 will also benefit from some additional time in bottle and continue to evolve over the next decade.

Domaine Latour-Giraud 2011 Meursault-Genevrières 1er Cru $119.99

For years the IWM team has been blown away by the depth, complexity and outright power of Latour-Giraud’s wines. These satisfying Meursaults benefit from a telltale chiseled acidity that makes them precise and terroir-driven yet also texturally satisfying. Latour-Giraud produces some of the most extraordinary whites on the market, but these wines are made in very small quantities. We’ve seen reductions in crop size in every vintage since 2010, so while there isn’t much wine to go around, the wines have excellent concentration and depth of flavor. After three or four years in bottle, the estate’s 2011 Meursault Genevrières is profoundly delicious; apple and citrus fruits meld with secondary aromas of minerals, wet stone, white pepper and baking spices, all tied together by a round, gripping structure and lingering, mouth-watering acidity. Though it is in the midst of a beautiful drinking window right now, it will continue to evolve in the bottle for another five or seven years. Don’t miss out!

Expert Picks: Domaine Barat and Christian Moreau

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15Chablis is one of my favorite appellations for white Burgundy because of its zippy crispness, ultra-refreshing acidity, and beguiling complexity. In addition to being food-friendly, it’s also often an incredible value, in part because of the way Chablis was marketed in the States for so many years. Those of you who enjoy a cleaner style of Chardonnay that’s less influenced by oak and more focused on minerality and bright citrus notes need to revisit Chablis. You’ll likely fall in love, as I have.

The two Chablis wines I’ve chosen differ greatly in many ways, yet while these two producers have very different artistic intentions, they both do a fantastic job. Along with a small selection of premier cru bottlings, Domaine Barat makes an exceptional entry-level AOC Chablis that’s incredibly affordable and consistently high quality. Domaine Christian Moreau, on the other hand, is one of my top three favorite makers of white Burgundies, and that’s not an exaggeration. Moreau’s wines are delicate yet powerful; mind-bendingly complex and delicious, Moreau’s wines impress me with their precise and artful representations of their respective terroirs. I cannot recommend Christian Moreau’s wines highly enough to fans of serious white Burgundy!

Domaine Barat 2013 Chablis $22.99

Clean, bright and very crisp, Domaine Barat’s ‘13 Chablis is an outstanding white Burgundy that will win you over with its incredible depth and complexity. Mid-weight and quite aromatic, it’s perfect complement for your holiday table, but it has enough stuffing to be the kind of white that you’ll want to drink year-round. Flavors of lemon and tart green apple mingle with steely mineral notes and a pleasant, refreshing acidity that keeps your mouth watering long after your glass is empty. Look no further for your go-to everyday white Burg!

C. Moreau 2012 Chablis Grand Cru Clos des Hospices Les Clos $119.99

Deriving from a walled vineyard plot at the bottom of the hill sitting close to the village of Chablis, Christian Moreau’s Chablis ‘12 Clos des Hospices is a powerful, muscular Chardonnay that will benefit immensely from another five or more years in the cellar. Clos des Hospices sees time in oak, but this is not an oaky wine in any way—the oak is there to provide structure, depth and complexity, playing a very minor role in the wine’s flavor profile. This is an insanely complex and delicious Chardonnay and one that easily holds its weight against the great masters in Puligny, Meursault and Corton-Charlemagne. The domaine is currently transitioning between generations of the Moreau family, with father Christian passing the torch to his son Fabien, who has already demonstrated his unique ability to make some of the world’s very best Chardonnay in Chablis.

Expert Picks: Etienne Sauzet and…Etienne Sauzet!

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiThis week will be the first in a long time that temperatures in NYC do not touch at least 70-degrees Fahrenheit. This will of course send many citizens running from their iced coffees to hot ones and from their Sauvignon Blancs to big, warm reds. No doubt there is a certain glow about enjoying a rustic rouge in front of the fire (or space heater), but you should not abandon whites altogether. There are phenomenal whites that carry outstanding structure and would pair marvelously with cool weather dishes like chicken and rice soup or roast pork loin. For a couple of ideas I proudly present to you two wines from the much praised estate of Etienne Sauzet, considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, houses in Puligny.

Etienne Sauzet 2013 Puligny-Montrachet $84.99

Telltale characteristics of the best Puligny Montrachet bottles are a mineral-driven personality, bright citrus notes, and a crisp acidic backbone that allows the wines to stand up to any fats and pair with intensely flavored dishes. Etienne Sauzet’s village-level Puligny embodies these traits perfectly, and it offers a glimpse into the mastery of an iconic estate. Elegant and expressive even in its youth, this is a treat. Drink now until 2022.

Etienne Sauzet 2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts $134.00

Premier crus and grand crus amplify the mystique and genius that we look for in white Burgundy. The personality becomes more prominent than in that of a village-level bottle. Take this Referts, born of 35+ year-old vines—that’s decades when those gnarly vines have had to bury themselves deep within the soil to soak up the nutrients. Think how mature and refined you are at 35 versus when you were 10 or 15. This bottle is ripe, rich, and chock full of sumptuous fruit, and it finishes for almost a full minute on your palate. Drink 2016 to 2024.

Expert Picks: Château de la Maltroye and…Château de la Maltroye!

Two expert selections from Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15I’m a hopeless nerd when it comes to my wines. One of my favorite tasting experiments is to select two Burgundies from the same producer and village that offer two distinct terroirs, and compare them side by side to see if I can pick out the subtle differences in aroma and texture. It can be a fascinating experience, and I urge you to try it. Another fun experiment, and quite the opposite of the first, is to select both a red and a white from the same appellation and see if I can discern the similarities. There are only a very few Burgundy appellations that produce both red and white wines, and Chassagne-Montrachet is my favorite of these special zones.

Château de la Maltroye is a leading producer based in Chassagne-Montrachet, and I love this estate’s wines for their impeccable balance of power and elegance. The estate covers 37 acres across ten premier cru sites, predominantly in Chassagne-Montrachet with some small holdings in Santenay. Today I selected two of Maltroye’s wines, the 2010 Chassange-Montrachet 1er cru Clos du Chateau Rouge and the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Dent de Chien. These two bottles are incredible on their own, but to enjoy them both with the same meal makes for a fascinating study of both winemaking and terroir.

Maltroye 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos Château Rouge $59.99

Now entering an excellent drinking window, the 2010 Maltroye Clos du Chateau Rouge is a textbook study in classic Burgundian Pinot Noir. Rich, sappy Pinot Noir fruit is underlain by subtle notes of minerals and underbrush, all conveyed on a nearly weightless body. Incredibly pretty in the glass and an absolute pleasure to drink, this wine will continue to deliver the goods for another 5-7 years.

Maltroye 2012 Chassagne 1er Cru Dent de Chien $179.99

One of the estate’s two signature whites, the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Dent de Chien, meaning “dog’s tooth,” is a very mineral-driven wine. Round and lush in texture, this Chardonnay is packed full of bright, mouth-watering acidity and flavors of slightly baked apple and pear. The Dent de Chien sees some time in oak; however, it is not ‘toasty’ oak—it adds structure, depth and complexity, but it doesn’t dominate the flavor profile. Structured and weighty, this ‘12 is fit for mid to long-term cellaring and will offer an outstanding drinking experience through 2030.

Expert Picks: Marquis d’Angerville and…Marquis d’Angerville!

Two expert selections from David Gwo

David Gwo 12.8.14In Burgundy, the Côte d’Or stands above all other regions. The site of the most renowned red and white Burgundies, the Côte d’Or is divided into a north, Côte de Nuits, and south, Côte de Beaune. The wines produced from these two regions are distinctly different in character, with the Côte de Beaune being famous for white Burgundy in particular. In general, the reds from the Cote de Nuits tend to be more structured and powerful, while the reds from the Côte de Beaune tend to be a bit more expressive in fruit character. This is, however, a generalization because in the world of Burgundy, there are always exceptions to the rules. There are plenty of red Burgundies from the Côte de Beaune that rival those from the Côte de Nuits in structure, power, and detail.

One of the most famous red Burgundy villages in the Côte de Beaune is Volnay; it’s where arguably the most desirable reds from the Côte de Beaune derive. While there are no grand cru vineyards within this appellation, the top premier cru vineyards yield wines that can go head-to-head against some of the best grand crus out there. Historically, the reds of Volnay were light and delicate, but the today’s Volnays come in a wide variety of styles.

My focus today is on one of the leading domaines in Volnay, Domaine Marquis d’Angerville. Any serious Volnay enthusiast, or Burgundy enthusiast in general, recognizes the name Marquis d’Angerville. Along with Henri Gouges and Armand Rousseau, the late Jacques d’Angerville was a pioneer of the Burgundy wine movement during the early 1900’s. Today, the estate’s philosophy revolves around minimalism, and Marquis d’Angerville relies on its biodynamic viticultural practices, amazing vineyard sites, and old vines to produce wines of profound character.

Marquis d’Angerville 2009 Meursault 1er Cru Santenots $99.00

While Marquis d’Angerville is known for its reds, the domaine also owns a small vineyard parcel in Santenots within the village of Meursault from which they produce an outstanding white Burgund. Meursault is one of the top white Burgundy appellations, and when a domaine like Marquis d’Angerville is involved, the results are undoubtedly terrific. The 2009 vintage was a great one for both red and white Burgundy, and this is an example of what producers achieved that year. Notes of peach, pear, and minerals carry through on the nose and palate, with a nice, rich mouth-feel that will please now and through the end of the decade.

Marquis d’Angerville 2010 Volnay Champans 1er Cru $134.99

2005 and 2010 were the two best vintages of the decade for red Burgundy, and the reds from the Champans vineyard are quintessentially Volnay. Marquis d’Angerville produces an example that is full-bodied, possessing notes of red-berry fruit, flowers, earth, and minerals. Given the strength of the vintage, this is a bottling that has significant power and complexity on the palate, and this wine will require time in the cellar in order to reward optimal drinking pleasure.

« go backkeep looking »