"Perfect" 1985 Sassicaia, Vintage André Clouet, and Cult Bottles from Michel Niellon
October 5, 2015 
A Note from Sergio

In writing about a 74-year-old bottle of Vega-Sicilia Único last week, I said that to comprehend the complex nature of a vintage wine is the highest reward for a committed wine drinker. But what does this mean? To really grasp a wine with twenty, thirty, or forty years of maturity, you have to have already drunk that wine at less mature points in its development. You have to have built a relationship with that wine over time, come to know it in conversation, and, in an ideal world, drunk wines from neighboring producers so that you have a holistic idea of the region, of producer styles, of multiple vintages, and of how these wines grow and change over time.

And all of that is still true--unless the bottle of vintage wine in question is the astounding thirty-year-old bottle of Sassicaia I'm presenting today. Certainly, knowing Sassicaia well will help you understand exactly what sets this 1985 bottle of Sassicaia apart, what makes it so iconic, what draws wine writers, wine industry people, and wine collectors to it, and what makes them sing its praises in such effusive terms. But this '85 Sassicaia is a rare thing in the wine world: it's an essentially flawless bottle. It's hard to find this legendary Sassicaia vintage, but I scored a few bottles from my European sources. If you're a serious wine lover, this is the bottle to splurge on. But be warned! It's life-changing.
The '85 Sassicaia has attained nearly mythic status, so it deserves great company. I chose a 2006 André Clouet Champagne Clos de Bouzy and two 2012 bottles from Chassagne-Montrachet superstar vigneron Michel Niellon. 2006 is one of the great recent Champagne vintages, and this André Clouet bottling does the year justice. You simply can't go wrong with Michel Niellon's wines, and this pair should make Burgheads very happy.

Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: The "Perfect" 1985 Sassicaia, a Collector Must-Have
2. Only At IWM: 
Celebrate with André Clouet 2006 Champagne
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Two 2012 Bottlings from Cult Vigneron Michel Niellon
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
M. Chapoutier's Captivating Ermitage, Red and White!
5. Wine Events: Upcoming October Wine Tasting Events

My Best, 


Sergio Esposito


Few wines have been called "perfect," but the 1985 Sassicaia has been--repeatedly. Alongside the wine's inaugural vintage of 1968, the '85 Sassicaia is arguably the most legendary of vintages of this iconic Super-Tuscan wine. So great, so in-demand, and so impressive is the '85 Sassicaia vintage that at least one wine critic discovered the bottle he was drinking was counterfeit. Today, IWM is pleased to present a very limited allocation of this historic '85 Sassicaia with perfect straight-line provenance, ideal temperature-controlled care, and very competitive pricing.
Even at thirty years old, this wine is remarkably fresh, bursting with ripe blue and red fruits, chocolate, licorice, tarry earth, and tertiary notes of cedar, truffles and more. Myriad layers of flavors unfold on the wine's silky palate, where maturity has mellowed its tannins and its acidity into a rich, enveloping, harmonious whole. The classic Sassicaia blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, the '85 Sassicaia is the child of a favorable, sunny and dry growing season, and it evinces the consistent, great weather of its creation in every lingering sip.
The creation of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, Sassicaia is single-handedly responsible for launching the Super-Tuscan movement, and it is consistently one of the most sought-after wines in the world. Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta continues the 40-year-old tradition at the Tenuta San Guido estate with the spirit and dedication that drove his late father. More than a wine whose pedigree, elegance and synchronicity of site and grape varietal changed history, and more than one of the world's best-known, most-revered wines, Sassicaia is a wine that always lives up to its intense reputation.
IWM's allocation of '85 Sassicaia, presented in both normale and rare magnum formats, allows serious wine enthusiasts a rare opportunity to experience not merely an iconic vintage of a great wine, but a legendary vintage of one of the greatest wines ever made. Most germane, this wine comes with the IWM difference: an assurance of pristine provenance and perfect maturity. While it is sometimes possible to find this Sassicaia vintage at auction, provenance can be uncertain; these bottles arrive with the care you've come to expect from IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine. Contact your portfolio manager to secure your bottles of '85 Sassicaia, a great wine that stands the test of time.

Tenuta San Guido 1985 Sassicaia
(Italy, Toscana - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc)
$2,898.00 Regular Price

(Italy, Toscana - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc)
$5,999.00 Regular Price


Just under 20 acres in the grand crus of Bouzy and Ambonnay, André Clouet is a small family-owned-and-operated estate with a reputation for crafting serious, beautiful grower Champagnes. The Clouet family has a long history in the region--in fact, current owner-operator Jean-François Clouet still lives in the house built by his ancestors, and he ages the estate's wines in the seventeenth-century cellar under the house. Clouet crafts a range of vintage and non-vintage Champagne bottlings, including the spellbinding Cuvée 1911, which adheres to the Champagne tradition of blending three vintages to create a balanced, powerful wine. One of IWM's favorite Champagne producers, André Clouet's bottlings frequently kick off our tastings with style and sophistication. Today, we're delighted to present magnums of the complex, creamy André Clouet 2006 Champagne Clos de Bouzy Grand Cru at special time-sensitive pricing.
Why Buy This Wine:
- 2006 was an exceptional year for Champagne, and this elegant, finessed bottling evokes the vintage in its power and structure, as well as its remarkably creamy mouth-feel.
- Rich, concentrated and classic, this '06 Champagne blends notes of brioche and almond with orchard fruit, berries and biscuits.
- Bottled only in magnum formats, this Champagne is Pinot Noir grown in André Clouet's walled vineyard located directly behind the estate; less than one acre of 50-100-year-old vines, the age of these vines imparts tremendous texture and complexity to this vintage Champagne.
- The ideal Champagne to pop when you're celebrating with your family, friends or colleagues, this '06 André Clouet magnum is sure to impress and delight, offering a patina of classic elegance to the occasion.
- IWM is proud to present these magnum bottles of André Clouet '06 Champagne Clos de Bouzy Grand Cru at special time-sensitive pricing; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

(France, Champagne - Pinot Noir)
$299.96 Regular Price


Just 18.5 acres in Chassagne-Montrachet, Domaine Michel Niellon is a family-owned-and-operated Burgundy house that's committed to crafting terroir-driven, authentic wines in their very modest facilities in Chassagne. Now in the hands of the third generation of the Neillon family, Michel Niellon uses extremely low yields in their vineyards, which are primarily old-vine Chardonnay (only about one third is Pinot Noir). This domaine makes a full range of thirteen wines, but their total production for each vintage rarely exceeds 3,750 cases a year. Sublime, complex, intense and approachable, the wines of Michel Niellon have garnered a cult following--when Burgundy enthusiasts can find them. Today, IWM is very pleased to present two powerful, caressing bottlings from Michel Niellon's 2012 vintage, Chaumées Truffière and Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers, both presented at special time-sensitive pricing. These must-have Burgundies out-perform their price point, and they'll make the Burgheads who snag them very happy indeed.
Why Buy This Wine:
- Domaine Michel Neillon has a reputation for being a remarkably consistent producer, crafting stellar wines regardless of vintage challenges, and these two '12 wines show that reputation is earned.
- 2012 offered challenging vintage conditions for Burgundy's vignerons, including a frosty spring, hail in July, both coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries); however, the growing season ended in a fairytale vintage with tantalizingly low yields, and these bottlings embody the best of the year.
- Deriving from a 1.33-acre plot of vines planted in the 1930s, this Chaumées Truffière shows its old-vine Chardonnay fruit in its spiciness, minerality, silkiness and elegance; approachable now, this wine's structure will let it drink for upwards of a decade.
- Linear, precise and harmonious, this cool '12 Les Vergers places its orchard and citrus fruits on a bed of white flower petals, toasted nuts and candied fruits, and its supple palate shows lovely tension between its luscious mouth-feel and driving acidity that lingers on the finish.
- Perfect for near or mid-term enjoyment, these two Michel Niellon Chardonnay bottlings will thrill Burgundy enthusiasts who appreciate a marriage of lively, energetic acidity and a supple, round palate.
- IWM is pleased to present these two Michel Niellon '12 wines at special time-sensitive pricing; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours!

Michel Niellon 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées 1er Cru Clos de la Truffière
(France, Burgundy - Chardonnay)
$79.99 Regular Price
$73.59 Half-Case Price/btl 

Michel Niellon 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru
(France, Burgundy - Chardonnay)
$79.99 Regular Price
$73.59 Half-Case Price/btl 

This offer will expire in 48 hours on October 7th at 5:00 pm EST.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Crystal worked in hotels, luxury resorts, and in sales and marketing with wine companies, including IWM's outpost in Hong Kong. She has returned to our New York team, bringing her experience, expertise and enthusiasm from her adventures and travels in Asia.
Drinking Today: M. Chapoutier 2010 Ermitage Blanc Le Meal
(France, Rhône Valley - Marsanne Blend)
$225.00 Regular Price
For the Cellar: M. Chapoutier 2006 Ermitage Le Meal
(France, Rhône Valley - Syrah)
$180.70 Regular Price

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


Thursday, October 8 | 6:30-9:30 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting Dinner

List Price (Tax Not Included): $325.00 
IWM would like to invite you to a very special evening celebrating the publication of the second edition of The Wine Bible with the author herself, Karen MacNeil. A best-selling author, Emmy winner, television host, and wine authority, MacNeil's career in wine and food stretches back four decades, and this special evening is a tribute both to her and her new edition of The Wine Bible, a book ten years in the making! This seven-course dinner, hand-crafted by IWM's own Chef Mike Marcelli and his in-house staff, pairs emblematic dishes with eleven iconic wines, including bottles from Biondi-Santi, Giacomo Conterno, Angelo Gaja, Antinori, and Fiorano. Guests will enjoy delicious food and spectacular wines with MacNeil, who will give insight and experience into the evening's selections--and everyone will go home with a signed copy of The Wine Bible!

Join us for this memorable evening; it's an IWM first, and it's sure to be extraordinary!

Featured Wine List:

Gaja Sorì Tildìn - Piemonte
Giacomo Conterno Barolo - Piemonte 
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino - Toscana 
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve - Toscana 
Cupano Brunello di Montalcino - Toscana 
Antinori Cervaro della Sala - Umbria 
Raffaele Palma Salicerchi - Campania 
Gravner Ribolla Gialla - Friuli-Venezia Giulia 
Fantinel Prosecco - Friuli-Venezia Giulia 
Fiorano Sémillon - Lazio
Barone Pizzini - Lombardia
*Wine list may be subject to change.

Saturday, October 10 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $89.00
Fall is here, cold weather holds you in its embrace, and the holidays approach--it's only natural that your tastes turn to the warming glow that red wines provide. Join IWM as we explore the emblematic red wines of Italy, all accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, in a tasting that will help you prepare for your long winter nights. From Valpolicella in the North to Chianti Classico in Italy's middle to indigenous grapes from Italy's South, this tasting will help you come to know and love red wines even more. IWM's knowledgeable sommeliers will help you learn the difference between Barolo and Brunello, and what makes Italy the go-to country for food-friendly reds. Whether you're an Italian wine newbie looking for immersive knowledge or an Italian wine connoisseur seeking to brush up on your tasting skills, this Saturday tasting will help you fall yet more in love with the red wines of Italy.
*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, October 17 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $99.00
France and Italy have a longstanding rivalry in the world of wine, one that has challenged the other to strive for greatness. Join us for an opportunity to compare the wines of France and Italy side by side, the makings of an entirely delightful Saturday afternoon. At this Studio del Gusto tasting, we'll be matching French and Italian wines by type (Champagne and Prosecco), varietal (Chardonnay) and region (Bordeaux and Brunello di Montalcino, and Burgundy and Barolo), presenting 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 foods, you'll see that the clear winner is you!
*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, October 24 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $175.00
Join IWM as we host Alessia Antinori, winemaker and daughter of Marchese Piero Antinori, for a special winemaker lunch featuring the extraordinary wines of Tenuta di Fiorano, an estate with a long, storied past and a history of making some of Italy's most important, most collectable wines. In 1995, Prince Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, Alessia's grandfather, made his last vintage at Fiorano, pulling up all the vines except for a few rows of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and some white grape vines left on a caretaker's property. After inheriting a portion of the Prince's land following his death in 2005, Alessia took on the project of nursing these vines back to health, intent on making wine as her grandfather did--organically and with minimal intervention. This unique evening will present old vintages of Fiorano as well as offer a taste of Alessia's new bottlings from Fiorano's restored vineyards. It's a unique opportunity to experience Italian winemaking history with the winemaker herself, and it's only available at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.
*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, October 31 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $79.00
In the US, they're called "orange wines," in Europe "skin-contact wines." Whichever terminology you use, they are all the fashion, which is a little ironic considering that this style of caramel colored wine made from white grapes date back thousands of years, originating in Armenia and Georgia. In many ways, the tale of orange wines goes hand-in-hand with the tale of natural wines; it's rare to find an orange wine made by a producer who doesn't abide by non-interventionist protocol, and indeed, the important producers of these wines in Italy hold a firm belief in non-interventionist agriculture and non-interventionist winemaking. Join IWM as we explore the wild, unique, unusual world of orange wines at this special tasting, accompanied by regional meats and cheeses. It's the perfect way to celebrate fall, welcome Halloween, and expand your palate with those white wines that "taste like a red."
*Wine list to be announced.

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