Graceful, Restrained Dal Forno '10 Amarone, Cult François Gay, and Approachable Montevetrano

May 3, 2016
A Note from Sergio

Almost anyone who knows about Romano Dal Forno knows that he studied under the Master of the Veneto, the late, great Giuseppe Quintarelli, and anyone who has had the undisputed pleasure to drink a Dal Forno Valpolicella or Amarone has enjoyed the fruits of his study. The student, like the teacher, uniformly makes exceptional wines, even if the wines each of these producers create is like no other wine on earth. To put it in clear terms, both Dal Forno and Quintarelli make wines that are more than art; they're the apotheosis of wine.

Dal Forno Amarone is undeniably compelling. Even a follower of Giuseppe Quintarelli has to admit that Dal Forno makes a fantastic wine. It's like music: You don't need to be an opera fan to know that Pavarotti has an extraordinary voice; you only need to hear him sing for a second. Dal Forno's Amarone is unique. All of the elements of the wine--its depth, breeding, character, acidity, richness--hit your senses at the exact right moment. For this reason, it consistently garners rave reviews and shows up at tastings around the world. Today, I'm proud to feature the new 2010 Amarone from Dal Forno. This was a cool growing year for the Veneto, and this wine reflects the vintage in its restraint. But make no mistake: this wine is sheer class, and being a Dal Forno Amarone, it's a layered wine of exquisite beauty.

This eLetter also features two very different yet equally cult wines: François Gay 2014 Aloxe-Corton and Silvia Imparato 2009 Montevetrano. The first is a hard-to-find Burgundy that has quickly become an IWM client favorite since we first offered it a few years ago; the second is a Bordeaux-style blend from my homeland, Campania, made by a former photographer and one of Italy's most devoted winemakers--she just happens to be a woman. Wine is still very much a man's game in Italy, but winemakers like Silvia are changing it, and this Montevetrano bottling will make you fall in love with her unique estate.

Today's Featured Sections Include:

1. Spotlight on Excellence:
 Dal Forno's 2010 Amarone is All About Elegance
2. Only At IWM: 
François Gay's Delightfully Feral Aloxe-Corton
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Cult Classic Silvia Imparato 2009 Montevetrano
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
Dynamic François Gay Duo
5. Wine Events: Upcoming May Wine Tasting Events

My Best, 

Sergio Esposito


Romano Dal Forno holds the nickname of the "Grape King of the Veneto," but that name is a little misleading. True, this world-class winemaker takes remarkable pains in his vineyards, keeping his yield to an astounding 11 oz. of grapes per vine. Certainly, Romano's choice to grow his vines densely, creating competition between the vines for essential nutrients, challenges the plants to grow more concentrated berries and thus creates a dense, opulent wine from its beginning. But to limit this man's genius to his viticulture elides his genius in the cellar--and there's much to argue it.

For example, Romano replaced the traditional indigenous Molinara with the lesser-known Oseleta, believing that this grape varietal contributes finer acidity and deeper color. In 1990, he decided not to age his Amarone in traditional Slavonian oak botti, opting for barriques instead to impart a grand cru styling to his wine. And in order to better facilitate the drying of his grapes in the appassimento style Romano uses for both his Amarone and Valpolicella, he designed and constructed a computer-controlled ventilation system in his cellar that moves the fans throughout the room for even drying. For these reasons, you could just as easily call Romano the "Wine King of the Veneto," and you'd not be wrong.

Today, IWM is delighted to spotlight a new release from the Dal Forno estate, its intense, precise and altogether elegant 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella. While 2010 gave Romano and his team multiple challenges in the form of rain and colder than normal temperatures, the estate used the weather to its advantage, creating nuanced, classy, polished wines with intense aromatics and breathtaking structure. Privileging structure over accessibility, this is a classic Amarone that will need some time in the cellar. However, be patient with it, and it will reward with copious velvety tannins and dry extract, a sweet inner perfume, a brocade-like texture, and a long, lingering finish.

Juicy black and blue fruits mingle with mocha, cigar wrapper, new saddle leather, spice cake and truffle in the nose of this classic, restrained '10 Amarone; it's a stellar bottling, and fans of Romano will revel in this wine's myriad layers and kaleidoscopic flavor notes. As ever, Dal Forno's production level is extremely low in 2010, making just over 1,200 cases. Dal Forno Amarone is always astounding, and this aristocratic '10 bottling will delight for decades to come. Dal Forno's Amarones are bewitching wines, wines best enjoyed after aging, aeration and decanting. They are, in short, precisely the kind of wine for IWM's clients. Rich, luxurious, sensual, heady and intense, Dal Forno Amarones make an impression that makes memories; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

(Italy, Veneto - Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta, Croatina)
$399.00 Regular Price
$359.00 Half-Case Price/btl
*Pre-Arrival, Autumn 2016


It's not hyperbole to say that François Gay's wines are among the most difficult to procure in the Côte de Beaune--they're both that hard to find and that low in production. Indeed, only Gay's low production numbers keep it relatively unknown. Gay's 17-acre estate in the Côte de Beaune produces fewer than 3,400 cases a year, and because he sells the majority of his wine to friends, family and restaurants, only a couple hundred cases of Gay's terroir-driven Burgundies make it outside of France. That said, Gay's relative obscurity has its silver lining, and that is the wines' reasonable prices. In 2011, François' son Pascal rose to the position of head vigneron and now leads the team at Domaine François Gay, and since that expressive vintage, Gay's wines have been on an upward trajectory. Today, we're proud to offer Gay's extraordinary, intense and classic 2014 Aloxe-Corton at the BEST PRICE in the States; it's an absolute steal.

Why Buy This Wine:
- 2014 offered Burgundy makers an odd weather pattern of a mild winter, rainy March, hot and dry spring, temperate summer, and a cool harvest of healthy, balanced berries; the resulting wines are balanced and fresh.

- As do most top Burgundies, Gay's wines are wonderfully transparent and clearly "speak" their appellations; this new Gay release showcases the vibrant, structured side of the challenging 2014 vintage.

- Bright cherries and berries dance with warm baking spices, sunlit earth, underbrush, and mushrooms in this delightfully feral '14 Aloxe-Corton, a wine that has wowed the IWM staff.

- A village-level wine offering premier-cru quality, this Aloxe-Corton could read "vieilles vignes," given its fruits' sixty-year-old vines--in fact, this wine derives from two prime situated mid-slope parcels in Aloxe that sport vines averaging 65 years in age. 

This wine consistently rivals or surpasses many top Aloxe-Corton premier crus, and one of the best values in the Côte de Beaune, this '14 Aloxe-Corton is a steal.

- IWM is delighted to present this hard-to-find François Gay wine that over-delivers on its price point; contact your portfolio manager to secure this 2014 release at the BEST PRICE in the country.

(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$59.99 Regular Price
$55.19 Half-Case Price/btl


What started out as a hobby for famed photographer Silvia Imparato ended up inciting a revolution. Imperato had little idea that her twelve-acre estate and her one wine would become a cult sensation, turning the eyes of the wine world to overlooked Campania. Silvia Imparato planted the estate's first vines on the volcanic slopes in Campania in 1985, made the first bottles of wine for friends in 1991 and, soon after, she found that her estate was rising to prominence, competing with great Campanian estates like Feudi di San Gregorio, Mastroberardino, and Vestini Campagnano. For decades, Silvia Imparato produced only one wine--Montevetrano, an age-worthy darling of wine critics and wine-lovers alike. Today, we're delighted to present special time-sensitive pricing on the silky, open-knit 2009 Montevetrano. A favorite of IWM founder Sergio Esposito, Montevetrano always over-delivers on its modest price point, and this '09 bottling is a stunner.

Why Buy This Wine:
- Like the other cult winemaker of Campania, Galardi, Montevetrano until recently produced only one wine, Montevetrano, an age-worthy beauty that's a darling of wine critics and wine-lovers alike.
- Showing great consistency vintage to vintage, Montevetrano delivers a brooding yet juicy profile marked by concentrated flavors of blueberry and black raspberry, as well as striking purity; despite its rich character, Montrevetrano is elegant on the palate, providing beautifully integrated tannins, acidity, and oak.

- The warm weather '09 Montevetrano offers unprecedented approachability combined with great finesse and elegance; it's a wine that's just entering its drinking window now.

- Known as the "Sassicaia of the South," Montevetrano is a wine that stands up to its hype, and its low price point relative to its long lifespan makes it an intensely good value (as well as being intensely good).

- Presented at time-sensitive special pricing, this '09 Montevetrano's classic lines reflect southern Italy's heat while maintaining fresh acidity, precise notes, and a structured body; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

Silvia Imparato 2009 Montevetrano
(Italy, Campania - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Aglianico)
$74.95 Regular Price
$68.95 Half-Case Price/btl

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


Michael Adler has worked with wines on both retail and wholesale levels in Oakland, California and New York City before joining the IWM team in early 2015. Michael holds certifications from both the North American Sommelier Association and the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Drinking Today: François Gay 2014 Chorey-Les-Beaune
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$34.99 Regular Price
$32.19 Case Price/btl
For the Cellar: François Gay 2013 Corton-Renardes Grand Cru
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$109.99 Regular Price
$101.19 Case Price/btl

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


Tuesday, May 3 | 7:00-10:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting Dinner

Ticket Price: $269.99
Hosted by: Emanuele Baldi, Prunotto Winemaker

The history of the Prunotto winery in Piemonte stretches back nearly 100 years, and IWM is thrilled to commemorate the outstanding achievements of this storied estate with an intimate and exclusive tasting dinner hosted by Prunotto's esteemed winemaker, Emanuele Baldi. Owned and operated by Alfredo Prunotto since 1923, Prunotto was purchased by Antinori in 1989, and within a decade, the Antinori team, led by Albieri Antinori, had expanded the estate's holdings and revamped its winemaking to create beautiful, terroir-driven wines. Join us for this special event that will look forward to Prunotto's future as it honors the estate's past; our knowledgeable team of sommeliers will pour a range of vintage Prunotto Barolos and Barberas that span 1998 and 2012, all paired with a spectacular special five-course dinner created by IWM's Chef Michael Marcelli and his staff. It's a unique evening of incredible Italian wine, delicious food, and terrific conversation, and it could only come from the world's leading authority in Italian wine, IWM.
Featured Wine List:
Antipasti Assortiti
Wines TBD
1st course - Primi
Casarecci al ragu d'agnello 
Bronze-cut short Pasta with Lamb Shank Ragu & Pecorino Primo Sale 
Prunotto Pian Romualdo Barbera d'Alba 2012  
Prunotto Pian Romualdo Barbera d'Alba 2005  
2nd course: Carne
Vitello brasato alla fontina
Braised Veal Cheek with Fontina Fonduta 
Prunotto Barolo 2010  
Prunotto Barolo 2001  
3rd course: Carne
Costata di manzo alle castagne
Short Ribs with Chestnut Polenta 
Prunotto Barolo Bussia 2009  
Prunotto Barolo Bussia 1998  
Dolci / Formaggi
Prunotto Barolo Bussia Riserva Colonnello 2009  
*Wines may be subject to change.

Saturday, May 7 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $144.99 
Break out the bonnets and get ready for Mother's Day! Spring is here, summer is on its way, and celebration is in the air. Join IWM as we welcome spring's traditions, holidays, and warm weather with open arms at this tasting celebrating perfect pairings. We'll be pouring some of our favorite Champagnes, beautiful crisp white Burgundies, and elegant red wines, all specially paired with cheeses to create a terrific taste sensation. Bring your mother, your jockey, or your best friend to this event and celebrate life with style!

*Wine list to be announced.

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

Ticket Price: $124.99 
Italy and France may be rivals on the soccer pitch, but they're perfect complements at your table and in your wine glass. Join us as we explore some of the wines you should be drinking this spring, this summer and on into fall! Led by a knowledgeable IWM sommelier, this wine tasting event, complemented by regional meats and cheeses, will guide you through some of France's best loved white Burgundies, exploring their differences, nuances, and terroir; then we'll double down on your palate education by selecting Italian reds that work in concert with these French whites. Selecting from some of our favorite Italian producers, grapes, regions and styles, these red wines will give you pairing ideas for years to come!

*Wine list to be announced.

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

Hosted by: IWM Vice President, Crystal Edgar

Ticket Price: $99.99 
You might know of sake from enjoying Japanese restaurants and drinking it with your sushi or sashimi. You might also know sake from spending time in Japan and reveling in the local fare. Or you might know about the special beverages because they have become increasingly hip, exploding in American wine culture. But how much about sake do you really know? Join IWM at this very special tasting and learn about how this special beverage is made, its many designations and variations, and how protocol influences sake as much, or possibly more, than other wines. IWM's guest sake expert Haruke Black will pour eight different sakes, with bottles that are textured, dry, aromatic, complex, or elegant--all complemented by regional snacks. This sake tasting is going to be thrilling.

Featured Wine List:

Shochu Cocktail
Aoki Shuzo, Yuki Otoko Junmai (NV) 
Hamakawa Shoten, Bijofu Junmai The Gentleman (NV) 
Gochoda Shuzo, Azumaichi Junmai 
Isojiman Shuzo, Isojiman Junmai Ginjo 
Yamachu Honke Shuzo, Gikyo Junmai Ginjo 
Niizawa Shuzo, Hakurakusei Junmai Daiginjo (NV) 
Sakata Shuzo, Jokigen Junmai Daiginjo Kimoto (NV) 
Fukumitsuya, Kuroobi Do-Do
Chichibu Whiskey  
*Wine list may be subject to change.

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

Ticket Price: $94.99 
Summer is just around the corner, and with Labor Day on the horizon, it's not too soon to stock your cellar with the wines you'll want to enjoy all summer long. Italy's warm weather, coastal regions, and easy living make for natural summertime pairings. A knowledgeable IWM sommelier will guide you through some of our very favorite warm weather wines, help you learn what pairs with summertime's trickier dishes, and show you how Italy's Amalfi Coast, Tuscan hills, and off-the-beaten path wines make your summertime even more delicious. Pouring from a selection of red and white wines, this tasting event, complemented with regional meats and cheeses, will set you up in style to enjoy summer's heat--while keeping your cool.

*Wine list to be announced.

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