Two Beautiful Wines from Affordable, Artisanal Begali! And Singular Pouilly-Fumé!

January 12, 2016
A Note from Sergio

It used to be that the only Amarone we sold were those made by Giuseppe Quintarelli and those made by his former apprentice, Romano Dal Forno. It was hard to find any other Amarone wines worthy of IWM's shelves and our clients, so I stuck with the two I loved best. But then things changed in the Veneto. While it might be part climate shift, I think the major change is that the region's producers started working more assiduously to make superior wines. After all, when your neighbors are The Master of the Veneto and The Grape King of the Veneto, you really have to up your game to stay relevant.

Today, I'm delighted to shine a spotlight on Begali 2012 Amarone Classico, a really nice, affordable bottle of Amarone. Along with other Veneto producers like Nicoli and yesterday's Monte Faustino, Begali makes an Amarone that's approachable both to the palate and the wallet. It smells, tastes and drinks like a wine that should cost a lot more than its relatively modest $70 (bear in mind that every bottle of Amarone requires at least 23 pounds of grapes!). In addition to offering Begali's Amarone, I'm delighted to offer its Recioto, its sinfully good dessert wine. When the weather is cold and the night is dark, a home-cooked meal of something hearty followed by something sweet lights the soul and warms the spirit. These two Begali wines are the ideal accompaniment.

The last wine in this week's series of offers comes from Didier Dagueneau's estate in the Loire Valley. Some winemakers work to further their forebears' traditions. Other winemakers strike out on their own and create a whole new genre of wines, upping the ante with their vision and drive. Didier Dagueneau was one such winemaker, and this singular 2011 Pouilly-Fumé Silex shows new dimensions to Sauvignon Blanc. It's fantastic.


Today's Featured Sections Include:

1. Spotlight on Excellence:
Must-Have Under $70 Amarone
2. Only At IWM:
Begali's Recioto, a Sweet Labor of Love
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Didier Dagueneau's Singular Pouilly-Fumé Silex
4. Wine Events: Upcoming January Wine Tasting Events

My Best,

Sergio Esposito

Everyone loves Amarone, and for good reasons. Amarone is a powerhouse of a wine, but its alcohol content--typically somewhere between 14 and 16 percent--makes it food-friendly, and its concentrated, opulent palate bursting with fruit, earth, spice and pepper makes it a perfect partner for meat dishes. Today, we're delighted to present a new allocation of the darkly delicious 2012 Begali Amarone Classico. Priced at under $70, this Begali Amarone offers a terrific value alternative to Amarones from Quintarelli or Dal Forno, and it comes from one of our favorite family producers in the Veneto.

Begali is the story of a small family pursuing their passion--and creating a cult sensation. The estate was born at the end of WWII when Giordano Begali began pursuing his passion for grapes, though the estate didn't start marketing its wines until 1986. Begali remains in the family, currently run by Giordano's son Lorenzo and his wife, Adriana, and their children, Giordano and Tiliana. Producing wines from its 19-acre vineyard in Ca'Bianca near Verona and Lake Garda, Begali makes a scant 6,000 bottles annually because this committed winemaking family bottles only its best grapes, selling the rest to merchants. This small farmstead winery concentrates on indigenous Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara, the basis for the estate's normale Amarone and its cru Monte Ca' Bianca.

Juicy red and blue fruits dance with Christmas cake, melted chocolate, forest floor and spice in this nicely structured, classically styled '12 Amarone Classico. Complementing its sweet fruits with savory truffle and earth, this wine delights in its opposites, and its velvety mouth-feel swaddles the palate with pleasure. A terrific value alternative to Quintarelli, Dal Forno and Bussola, this Amarone is a blend of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and the remainder indigenous Veneto grapes. After drying in boxes for about three months, the grapes macerate in temperature-controlled stainless steel, then age for about three-and-a-half years in botti and tonneaux, followed by six months in bottle before release.

Begali produced just a few hundred cases of this Amarone in 2012, and we're pleased to have scored a new allocation. This Amarone has a singular flavor profile of black fruits, mocha, spice, cigar wrapper and wildflowers, and a sensual brocade-like texture; it's sheer delight to drink, no matter the season--but it's especially perfect for winter! Contact your portfolio manager to secure your Begali Amarone from our newest allocation.

(Italy, Veneto - Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara)
$69.99 Regular Price
$64.39 Case Price/btl

Before Amarone became the star of the Veneto, Recioto della Valpolicella, the sweet sibling of Amarone, was the wine of the region, and in the hands of Begali, this ancient Roman wine reaches its pinnacle artisanal expression. Like Amarone, Recioto della Valpolicella is made from partially dried grapes, or the appassimento process; however, unlike Amarone, which is fermented until most of the sugar turns to alcohol to make a dry wine, the winemaker stops the fermentation of Recioto earlier, resulting in a sweet, plush, and velvety wine. Begali Recioto della Valpolicella is an intense, heady wine with jammy dark fruit that's almost port-like in its mouth-feel. While fruit-forward, this medium-sweet Recioto also shows a distinct herbal component, and its palate is rich and silky with smooth fine-grained tannins. IWM is proud to present the BEST PRICE in the country on the 2011 Begali Recioto della Valpolicella, the perfect complement to your special dinner's dessert course.

Why Buy This Wine:

- "Recioto" gets its name from the Italian word for "ear," recia, because winemakers use the ripest, outer portion of the grape bunch, which receives the most sun, to make the wine; this sweet wine is a labor of love, requiring about 30 pounds of grapes to yield one bottle of Recioto.

- A frankly voluptuous wine, this opulent dessert wine uses partially dried grapes, just as an Amarone does, to achieve its intense, palate-staining full body, but unlike an Amarone, it's sweet.

- Dark and seductive, Begali Recioto della Valpolicella Classico offers a bounty of juicy plums, brambly blackberries and sweet figs, all laid upon an herbal-inflected bed of cinnamon, star anise and sandalwood.

- Velvety and rich, yet spiked with tongue-piquing acidity, this luxurious wine is made for slow sipping, accompanied by cheese, chocolate or pastries.

- The perfect ending to a meal featuring Begali's Amarone offered above, this Recioto is a sweet labor of love; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours at the BEST PRICE in the country.

(Italy, Veneto - Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara)
$54.99 Regular Price
$50.59 Case Price/btl

If there was anyone who respected the full potential of Sauvignon Blanc, it was the late, great Didier Daqueneau. Known for his disheveled mane of hair, Dagueneau was a breed apart from other Loire Valley producers, and he worked hard to find ways to make complex, age-worthy, thrilling Sauvignon Blanc. An explorer and adventurer, Dagueneau took that same passion and curiosity for life and injected it into his wines. He released his first vintage in 1982, with only three acres of vineyard in the town of Saint Andelain; the Dagueneau domaine now stretches across 27 acres, and it's a winemaking force in the region. Today, we're very proud to present a stellar wine from Didier Dagueneau, the textured and vibrant 2011 Pouilly-Fumé Silex. Offered at time-sensitive, special pricing, this Pouilly-Fumé Silex is a standout bottling that you can enjoy now or down the road.

Why Buy This Wine:

- With no formal wine training, he challenged the way wine, specifically Sauvignon Blanc, was made in Pouilly-Fumé with rigorous pruning for exceptionally low yields, hand harvesting of all fruits and vineyard-specific bottling and barrel fermentation.

- Named after the flint and the other hard rocks found in this vineyard site, the Silex is the signature bottling of Didier Dagueneau; it's a perfect place to start your adventure into this iconic Loire Valley producer.

- Citrus-laden melons cavort with minerals and crushed white flowers in the concentrated, precise and altogether delightful '11 Pouilly-Fumé Silex.

- With proper age, and aeration, the Silex offers great concentration, depth and flavors, and it has the rare ability to provide ripe fruit with finesse and layers of complexity and nuances that linger.

- Deriving from high plots with a lower clay content, this wine tends to be somewhat austere in its youth, but those familiar with older vintages of Silex will aver that if given the time in bottle, it will always rise above the rest.

- IWM is pleased to present special, time-sensitive pricing on this serious Pouilly-Fumé; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours from our very limited allocation.

(Italy, Loire Valley - Sauvignon Blanc)
$159.99 Regular Price
$139.00 Half-Case Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, Early Summer

This offer will expire in 48 hours January 14th at 5:00pm EST.


Saturday, January 14 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $89.00

IWM Host: John Camacho Vidal

We love rosés, whites and sparkling wines, but IWM's true passion is for red wines. Whether a Big Red, a collector red, a lithe and nimble red, or a delicious red, we can't get enough red, red wine. Join us as we celebrate the red wines of Italy. From Brunellos to Barolos, Super Tuscans to Super Piemontese, Aglianico to Valpolicella, this tasting shows why Italian reds are world famous. Guided by knowledgeable IWM sommeliers, this glorious tasting, complemented by meats and cheeses, is devoted to exploring the lushness, the power, and the unexpected finesse of red wines from some of our favorite producers. It's delicious, it's beautiful, and it's only available at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.

Featured Wines:

Cima di Conegliano Prosecco Extra Dry NV
Podere Le Boncie Rosso di Toscana IGT Le Trame 2013
Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2014
COS Nero di Lupo 2015
De Conciliis Naima 2007
San Giuliano Barbaresco 2012
Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2005
Scarzello Vigna Merenda Sarmassa Barolo 2008
Begali Amarone Monte Ca' Bianca 2010

*Wine list may be subject to change.

Saturday, January 21 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $99.00

It's not a soccer match. It's an opportunity for you to compare the wines of France and Italy side by side, the makings of an entirely delightful Saturday afternoon. In this Studio del Gusto tasting, we'll be matching wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and beyond with Italian Barolo, Brunello and more. We'll pair wines from some of our favorite producers and present you with an unparalleled opportunity to compare and contrast the wines of the world's two greatest winemaking countries. Spending a Saturday sipping wines from iconic and emblematic producers, nibbling on French and Italian cheeses and meats, you'll see that the clear winner is you!

*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, January 28 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $109.00

Italy has more than 2,000 different indigenous grapes, the most of any country in the world (though Portugal may beg to differ). One way to make sense of this number of grapes--and the extraordinary number of delicious wines made from them--is to focus on one geographical area. Join us as our knowledgeable IWM sommelier lead you through a tour of most emblematic, delicious, and outrageous expressions from Italy's North. We'll be pouring wines from Valpolicella, Vallee d'Aosta, Friuli and more, and our knowledgeable sommelier will guide you in understanding the panorama of northern Italy's terroir, traditions, and grapes. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this sit-down tasting offers aficionados or Italian wine newbies the most delicious education in authentic wine that you can get outside of Italy. Toe to tip, IWM is where Italian wine lovers come for fine Italian wine.

*Wine list to be announced.

For more information, please visit our website Wine Events Page.

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