Italy's Answer to Champagne, Cupano's Stellar Big Red, Selosse's Extraordinary Rosé
July 30, 2015 
A Note from Sergio

Although yeast is important to all winemaking, it's most important in sparkling wine because, unlike all other wines, sparkling wines require two fermentations. Double fermentation requires a lot of yeast, which both makes wine the sparkle and poses a problem: how to remove the yeast once you're done fermenting the wine. When producers make sparkling wine, they often get a yeast plug, which sounds worse than it is. Dead yeast is much of what makes up the lees in the bottle of wine, and it's the thing that provides much of the flavor in méthode champenoise sparklers. But consumers like a clear wine, so producers often choose to get rid of it.


Sometimes, as in méthode champenoise, the yeast is removed through riddling, or slowly jiggling and rotating the bottle over time until the time comes to simply uncap the bottle and remove the yeast. Other times, as with the Puro of Movia's Ales Kristancic, the yeast is left in, and the wine drinker or sommelier has to remove it. A wine always tastes of its grapes, its terroir, and its winemaker. In the case of a sparkling wine, however, the last two become far more prominent. How producers choose to make their wines, whether they add cultured yeast or rely solely on wild yeast, shows in the bottle.


Today, I'm very pleased to present two bottles of sparkling wine. One is a beloved méthode champenoise sparkler from Barone Pizzini. Franciacorta in Lombardia is the only region in Italy required to make sparkling wines as the French do in Champagne: with the second fermentation in the bottle. Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Brut isn't a replication of Champagne; it's an homage, a translation of that region into Italian, through Italian soil, made by Italian hands. It's a charming wine, and its price point, just $37, is even more seductive. The second sparkling wine is a bottle of Champagne--in fact, it's one of the great Champagnes from one of the great Champagne makers in the world, Jacques Selosse Brut Rosé. These cult bottles always go fast; they are extraordinary.


Finally, not every occasion calls for Champagne or méthode champenoise wine, so I'm proud to present the 2009 Sant'Antimo Ombre from Cupano. Let this a big, enveloping red hug you from the inside!


Today's Featured Sections Include:


1. Spotlight on Excellence: Italy's $37 Answer to Champagne, Barone Pizzini Brut Franciacorta
2. Only At IWM:
The Organic Super-Tuscan from Montalcino Superstar, Cupano!
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Cult Rosé Champagne from Jacques Selosse
4. Our Experts Suggest:
Two Wines Worth Revisiting
5. Wine Events: Upcoming New York Wine Tastings: August 2015

My Best, 


Sergio Esposito



In the province of Lombardia, lying south of Lake Iseo in the low hills between Bergamo and Brescia sits the 3,500-acre DOCG region Franciacorta, home to Italy's only méthode champenoise sparklers. Sparkling wine requires two fermentations--and while the first is always in a vat of some kind (traditionally wood or clay, now most often stainless steel), vintners have a choice about where they carry out the second. Most of the sparkling wine made in Italy is made by the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation takes place in a stainless steel vat, but the winemakers in Franciacorta carry out their secondary vinification in the bottle as winemakers do in Champagne, France--hence the term méthode champenoise. The resulting wine is very much on par with Champagne, though as the producers themselves would be quick to tell you, it is not a copy of Champagne.


Rather than mimicking Champagne, Lombardia's Franciacorta is a way of conveying Italian terroir through international grapes and French protocol, making it not unlike Super-Tuscan wines that invoke France through their grape selection and use of barrique. Today, we're delighted to present a bottle from one of our favorite Franciacorta producers, Barone Pizzini NV Brut Franciacorta. Less than $38 a bottle, the BEST PRICE in the country, this non-vintage sparkler is a delicious, artisanal wine that you'll want to have on hand for every festive occasion.


Founded in 1870, Barone Pizzini was the first grower in Franciacorta to go completely organic, all the better to transmit its terroir and make high quality wines. While there's no doubt that Champagne produces the greatest sparkling wine in the world, this Franciacorta bottling offers some relief to the expense concomitant to buying a bottle of Champagne. Barone Pizzini's vibrant pale golden Franciacorta offers a smooth and persistent sparkle combined with hints of minerals and toasted bread enhanced by delicate citrus notes. It's the classic character that you would expect of a wine fermented in the bottle, and it's lovely to drink.


A fantastic combination of fresh and harmonious, this organically grown blend of Chardonnay and a kiss of Pinot Noir enjoys extensive aging on its lees, giving it delicious toasty notes. While you'll find a lively palate of tropical fruits, orange marmalade and candied ginger, the wine itself isn't an effusive bubbly; it's an elegant, complex méthode champenoise sparkler from the heart of Lombardia. A perfect way to toast to your life's greatest moments, Barone Pizzini NV Brut Franciacorta is in stock, ready to ship, and perfect to pop whenever the celebration strikes.



Barone Pizzini NV Brut Franciacorta 

(Italy, Lombardia - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)

$37.20 Regular Price

$34.22 Case Price/btl



IWM rarely offers Super Tuscans from Montalcino--we love the region's Brunello and Rosso so much we don't need to! Therefore, when we find one we champion, you know it's special. Owner-operators Ornella Tondini and Lionello Cousin founded Cupano in the late '80s and use a decidedly French yet non-interventionist approach with their wines. A rare certified organic Montalcino estate, Cupano sits on a rolling plain at the far edges of Montalcino, and it makes outstanding wines, including a beautifully structured Brunello di Montalcino, a delicious Rosso di Montalcino, and the luxurious Super-Tuscan Sant'Antimo Ombrone that we feature today. We're very happy to present the opulent, brooding 2009 Sant'Antimo Ombrone, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese blend from the rising stars of Montalcino--Cupano. We've already sold out of multiple allocations of this big, juicy wine, so you'll want to secure your Cupano Sant'Antimo Ombrone, presented at the BEST PRICE in the country.


Why Buy This Wine:


- The Sant'Antimo Ombrone, a Bordeaux-style blend of about 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder Merlot and Sangiovese, embodies the marriage of French Lionello and Italian Ornella, the owner-operators of Cupano.


- The Ombrone is a massive wine, an organically grown powerhouse that rewards a more modern palate, yet it's also a wine that remains true to its Montalcino terroir.


- Brimming with succulent red and blue fruit, fresh-cut herbs and crushed granite, the nose of the '09 Ombrone wafts with warm saddle leather, baking spices and earth in this round, approachable wine.


- Velvety tannins build to a satisfying finish in this robust crowd-pleasing Super Tuscan; it's unusual to find a Montalcino Super Tuscan, but this one is first class, offering juicy fruit, deep minerality, and velvety tannins.


- It's rare to find a bottle of this quality for less than $75, and IWM's BEST PRICE in the country of $39.99 for this delicious Super Tuscan serves to redefine value wine.


- The Cupano Sant'Antimo Ombrone offers a perfect introduction to the estate's finesse, fine terroir, and unmistakable winemaking prowess; enjoyable right now, this '09 wine is in stock and ready to ship.



Cupano 2009 Sant'Antimo Ombrone

(Italy, Toscana - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese Grosso)
$39.99 Regular Price
$36.79 Case Price/btl

*Pre Arrival, December 2015


When Anselme Selosse was studying oenology in the 1970s, most Champagne didn't represent the quality of its grapes. Champagne producers buy fruit from all over the region, and Selosse knew Champagne was better than that. He also knew growing organically had its advantages, and he was right. When Anselme assumed control of the namesake house established by his father, Jacques, in 1980, he immediately challenged Champagne's traditions by reducing yields and farming organically. Today, Anselme crafts some of the most expressive Champagne in the region. While big Champagne houses, or "les Grandes Marques," account for most of the total production and sales outside of Europe, Selosse broke through this shield with his unconventional methods, including fermentation in wood barrels, use of natural yeasts, minimization of sulfites, and extended aging on fine lees in barrel. Today, we're delighted to present Jacques Selosse NV Champagne Rosé, a truly great wine.


Why Buy This Wine:


- Blessed with the grand cru vineyards of Avize, Cramant and Oger, among others, Selosse crafts profound Champagne that speaks to the land and to the estate's groundbreaking style of winemaking; more than one of the great Champagnes, this non-vintage rosé is one of the world's great wines.


- Anselme Selosse's use of organic agriculture and unconventional protocol that includes fermentation in wood barrels, hand-riddling, and extended aging on fine lees work together to highlight terroir and to impart mind-bending complexity.


- An absolute original in the world of Champagne, Jacques Selosse NV Champagne Rosé is a "meditation" wine so singular that it makes it difficult to draw comparisons.


- This is a wine whose sheer structure will amaze, even as it unfolds in a kaleidoscopic array of notes that range from spice, to berries, to brioche; its perfect balance, ideal perlage and extraordinarily creamy mouth-feel put it in a realm of its own.


- This is a wine to share with fellow enthusiasts, although its rarity makes it an event--maybe a few hundred bottles arrive in the US from each new release.


- There is no faster selling cult Champagne among U.S. collectors, and IWM's allocations are limited; please contact your portfolio manager to secure your Jacques Selosse NV Champagne Rosé soon.



Jacques Selosse NV Champagne Rosé*
(France, Champagne - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)
$339.00 Regular Price
$299.00 Half-Case Price/btl 

This offer will expire in 48 hours on August 1st at 5:00 pm EST.

*Pre-Arrival, August 2015 


Born in the US, but raised in Italy, IWM President of Sales Will Di Nunzio fell in love with wine when his father opened a twenty-year-old Biondi-Santi Brunello for Will's twentieth birthday. Will has since turned his love into a career.


Drinking Today:Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Rosé
(France, Champagne - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)
$89.99 Regular Price
$82.79 Case Price/btl
For the Cellar: Miani 2010 Rosso 
(Italy, Friuli Venezia-Giulia - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tazzelenghe)
$99.99 Regular Price
$91.99 Case Price/btl

For complete descriptions of the wines and an explanation of why Will selected these wines, please visit our expert's post at Inside IWM.


The Hunt for Red August

Saturday, August 1 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY

A Sit-Down Tasting


Ticket Price: $75.00

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 dog days of summer with a tasting dedicated to red wines. From French Pinot Noir to Super Tuscans, this tasting will feature red wines that are ideal for August enjoyment, those hot days and cool nights that lead us to fall's harvest bounty. 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 big, it's beautiful, and it's only available at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.

Featured Wine List:

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2013

Rocche dei Manzoni Quatr Nas 2004

Raffaele Palma Montecorvo 2011 

Podere Le Boncie Rosso di Toscana IGT Le Trame 2011

Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2003

Renzo Seghesio Barolo Pajana Riserva 2008 

San Giuliano Barbaresco 2010

Pavelot Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru Narbantons 2010

*Wine list may be subject to change.



Ferragosto Wine & Cheese Pairing

Saturday, August 15 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY

A Sit-Down Tasting


Ticket Price: $89.00

IWM Guest Host: Fromager Bob Marcelli

When Italians celebrate Ferragosto on August 15, just about the whole country shuts down as families enjoy a day at the beach or in the mountains. Join us as we celebrate this quintessential Italian summer holiday with one of the most natural pairings in the wine-and-food world: delicious Italian wines and beautiful Italian cheeses. IWM's wine educators will pour great wines from some of our favorite producers, all while pairing each wine with an exceptional, perfectly complementary cheese. Even more exciting, we'll be joined by Bob Marcelli from Marcelli Formaggi in Abbruzzo, Italy, who will tell the story behind cheeses like Pecorino Gregoriano, Caciocavallo, Pezzata Rossa, and Pecorino Fiorello. Tantalize your taste buds and expand your pairing expertise at this delicious Saturday event. It's like a holiday Italy--but without the jet lag.
*Wine list to be announced.



Back To School: ABC's of Italian Wine

Saturday, August 29 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY

A Sit-Down Tasting


Ticket Price: $75.00

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and the story of the Super-Tuscan revolution is no different. This special wine event will give wine-lovers like you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the fairytale beauty of Super-Tuscan wines, to experience the wines that help to explain why the revolution had to come, and to envision what this region has in store for the future. We've selected some of our favorite Super-Tuscan producers, like the biodynamic Poderie Le Boncie and Castello dei Rampolla and the Bolgheri beauty Le Macchiole. And we've included wines from Angela Gaja's outpost in Toscana as well as Brunello from Cupano, so that you can understand the influence of Super-Tuscan methodology in Italy. Let IWM's knowledgable wine experts be your narrator for this delicious event, and finish it with a happily-ever-after meeting of great wine-lovers just like yourself. The best thing about this story? It's all true, and it's only available from IWM.
*Wine list to be announced.


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