The Stellar ‘12 Flaccianello Returns, Antinori Pinot Nero, and Dal Forno’s Sweet Surprise
September 2, 2015 
A Note from Sergio

If Piemonte's Nebbiolo makes the wines of the intellect, then Toscana's Sangiovese makes the wines of the viscera. Nothing goes for the gut reaction like Sangiovese, the primary grape of Chianti, but then few grapes reward with the kind of intense, explosive pleasure that Sangiovese does. On Monday, I was proud to bring you a mono-varietal Sangiovese Chianti Classico from Castello dei Rampolla. Today I'm very pleased to follow up that offer with the wholly Sangiovese Flaccianello from Fontodi. Few Sangiovese wines are as unapologetically, boldly and wonderfully themselves as Flaccianello, and the 2012 bottling, presented today, is stellar.
Despite being one of Italy's best-known native varietals (the other is the Nebbiolo), Sangiovese accumulated a bad rap in the early to mid-twentieth century. Part of its bad-boy status stemmed from those years in the mid-twentieth century when Chianti came in straw bottles. Chianti was a cliché, and Sangiovese suffered the consequences. But over the past few decades, winemakers have recovered and reinvented Sangiovese. Flaccianello--a wine that screams its heritage, grabs you by the lapels, and pulls you to the glass--is a Sangiovese wine that goes for the gut with joyful abandon. It's one of my favorites, and this '12 bottling goes for the gusto--with the kind of grace and elegance that Fontodi brings to everything it does.
Earlier this week, I offered the new 2013 release of the Chardonnay from Castello della Sala, Antinori's outpost in Umbria. I'd like to follow up that wine with the 2013 release of the estate's Pinot Nero. Trust Piero Antinori, Renzo Cotarella and the whole Antinori team to knock it out of the park with their Pinot Nero. I think this '13 is the best vintage yet. Finally, I managed to snag a few more bottles of Romano Dal Forno's hedonist treat, Dal Forno Romano Veneto Passito Vigna Sere from 2004. It's the best way to end a meal so great that you think nothing can top it--this dessert wine can!

Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: Pure Sangiovese Beauty, '12 Fontodi Flaccianello
2. Only At IWM: 
Antinori's Umbrian Pinot Nero Sensation
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Dal Forno's Delicious Dessert Wine
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
Biondi-Santi and Giuseppe Mascarello
5. Wine Events: Upcoming September Wine Tasting Events

My Best, 


Sergio Esposito


In the great golden beating heart of Toscana on the cusp of the Conca d'Oro sits Fontodi. It's a very pretty estate; the panoramic views sweep down and up, revealing neat packages of parallel vines interspersed with olive trees, cypresses and swaths of meadow. If you've never been to Italy, this is what you imagine Italy's countryside looking like, and if you have been to Italy, it's exactly how you remember it. This site is where the estate grows the grapes that make its flagship Super-Tuscan Flaccianello, an iconic mono-varietal Sangiovese and a perennial favorite of collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Today, we're very proud to offer a new allocation of the 2012 Fontodi Flaccianello. While 2012 challenged the skills of Fontodi's team, the estate put its considerable talents to work to create a harmonious, balanced, and dense Flaccianello. Grape yields in 2012 were down almost a third, and while that means there's less Flaccianello, it also means that this vintage is especially powerful, velvety and delicious. Similar to the 2010 vintage, this '12 Flaccianello offers undisputed elegance.
Rich without heaviness, round without flabbiness, sappy without jamminess, this bottling wafts with pure Sangiovese fruit that rests on a bed of cigar wrapper, chocolate, spice, warm saddle leather, and minerals. This wine caresses the palate with a silky mouth-feel, yet its vibrancy and focus keep its opulence in check, making it a fine--and very approachable--Flaccianello bottling. Crafted from organically grown Sangiovese, this wine ferments with only natural yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel for about three weeks before aging in oak barrels for at least eighteen months.
Since 1968, Fontodi has devoted itself to making deeply Italian wines. While the estate makes a range of bottlings, Fontodi gained fame with its mono-varietal Sangiovese Flaccianello, first released with the 1981 vintage, about the same time that Montevertine began crafting its Sangiovese Le Pergole Torte, and together these two wines have raised the profile of the archetypal Tuscan grape. The '12 Flaccianello is a wine that enthusiasts, whether newbies or aficionados, will appreciate. Contact your portfolio manager to secure your '12 Flaccianello at very competitive pricing; it's enjoyable now or years down the road.

(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese)
$119.00 Regular Price
$99.00 Half-Case Price/btl
*Pre-Arrival, Spring 2016

A Pinot Noir from Umbria may sound outlandish until you find out that this Pinot Noir comes from the same Umbrian estate that makes Cevaro della Sala, a contender for the finest Italian Chardonnay and a wine that drinks like Meursault meets Italy. Antinori founded its Umbrian estate, Castello della Sala, located where Umbria abuts Toscana in the northwest corner of Orvieto in 1985, although the extended family bought the land in 1940. These 1,300 acres (about 400 under vine) are under the guidance of Marchese Piero Antinori, his three daughters, and renowned enologist Renzo Cotarella, an Umbrian native and the man who made Cervaro. IWM is proud to be the exclusive merchant to sell Castello della Sala 2013 Pinot Nero, a velvety, balanced and harmonious wine. Unique and sappy, this Pinot Nero will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about Burgundy-inspired red Italian wines, and this vintage may be the best yet.
Why Buy This Wine:

- While the cool 2013 growing season was challenging to some Umbrian producers, Antinori and Renzo Cotarella's team waited until the grapes were perfectly mature, and by harvest time, the team found healthy, ripe, and nicely acidic grapes.
- Deriving from ten acres of vines grown at 1,325 feet above sea level in calcareous soil, this Pinot Nero debuted in 1990, flying under the radar until recent vintages.
- The grapes for this wine spend ten days macerating on the skins in stainless steel; then, they're fermented in temperature-controlled barrels, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging for around eight months in barrique and another fifteen in bottle before release.
- Pure, expressive Pinot Nero fruit rests on a bed of violets and roses in this elegant, sophisticated wine that's touched with notes of earth, underbrush and spice.
- Offering a tremendous inner perfume of red berries and floral notes, the palate of this '13 Pinot Nero uncoils with a silky feel and the grip of velvety tannins, building to a sustained, satisfying finish.

(Italy, Umbria - Pinot Nero)
$59.99 Regular Price
$53.99 Case Price/btl

*Pre Arrival, Early 2016


Romano Dal Forno, the "Grape King" of the Veneto, apprenticed under Giuseppe Quintarelli, and he is one of the rare winemakers who has mastered an unparalleled level of quality in crafting the difficult apassimento wines Amarone, Valpolicella and Recioto. But unlike the late, great Quintarelli who crafted rustic, traditional wines, Dal Forno creates modern, hedonistic wines that have single-handedly elevated the stature of quality Amarone. Dal Forno's Amarone is a unique product. All of the elements of the wine--its depth, character, acidity, and richness--hit your senses in concert. For this reason, it consistently garners rave reviews and shows up at the most prestigious tastings around the world. Today, we're delighted to present the ripe, dense and opulent Dal Forno Romano 2004 Veneto Passito Vigna Seré, a dessert wine that shows the sweeter side of this extraordinary producer. 2004 was a benchmark vintage in the Veneto, and this luscious dessert wine embodies its magic.
Why Buy This Wine:
- Romano Dal Forno makes the wine he calls his "crown jewel," Veneto Passito Vigna Seré, only in exceptional vintages, and 2004 was a benchmark year in the Veneto.
- Named Veneto Passito Vigna Seré because this dessert wine differs in protocol from the traditional dessert wine of the Veneto, Recioto, Dal Forno's sweet wine is as luscious, decadent, age-worthy and mind-bending as you'd expect from this producer with a reputation for dense, hedonistic wines.
- A blend of 55% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 20% Croatina, and 10% Oseleta, the grapes for Veneto Passito Vigna Seré raisin for six months before pressing-- twice as long as for Amarone and two months longer than the Recioto--and the wine ages for three years in barriques before bottling.
- In '04, the textured, silky Veneto Passito Vigna Seré explodes on the palate with a profusion of red and black fruit, espresso, leather, exotic spices and wildflowers.
- It's a magical wine from a magical vintage, and it explains why Dal Forno is known as the "Grape King" of the Veneto; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

Dal Forno Romano 2004 Veneto Passito Vigna Sere (.375L)*
(Italy, Veneto - Corvina, Rondinella, Croatina, Oseleta)
$249.00 Regular Price
$186.75 Half-Case Price/btl 

This offer will expire in 48 hours on September 4th at 5:00 pm EST.

*Pre-Arrival, December 2015

After working as a private banker, John joined IWM in 2009. Becoming an IWM senior portfolio manager has deepened John's wine knowledge and developed a true passion for wine, and he now runs the IWM showroom and Saturday tasting series. A Colombian native, John considers himself a New Yorker.
Drinking Today: Biondi-Santi Il Greppo 2008 Brunello di Montalcino
(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese Grosso)
$139.00 Regular Price
For the Cellar: Giuseppe Mascarello 2010 Barolo Monprivato
(Italy, Piemonte - Nebbiolo)
$225.00 Regular Price

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


Saturday, September 12 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $95.00

The first few crisp days of fall jolt us out of summer's beauty and remind us of autumn's glories--the return of soups, stews, squash and heavier fare. Fall may beckon and winter may hover on the horizon, but we're also not ready to relinquish summer just yet. Join us at our special tasting to the transitional of fall, a wine season that moves you from summer's whites to winter's reds with style. IWM's knowledgeable wine educator will pour whites from Piemonte and Liguria, a steely rosato from the Amalfi Coast, and reds from Montalcino, Campania, and Piemonte. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this special Saturday tasting will help you celebrate the coming season, even as you wrest the best from the end of summer!
Featured Wine List:
Cornarea Roero Arneis 2014
Sartarelli Verdicchio Tralivio 2013
Raffaele Palma Salicerchi 2011
Cupano Rosso di Montalcino (1.5L) 2005
De Forville Nebbiolo d'Alba San Rocco 2013
Raffaele Palma Montecorvo 2011
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2009
Renzo Seghesio Barolo Pajana Riserva 2008
*Wine list to be announced.

Tuesday, September 15 | 6:30-9:30 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $235.00
Limited Seating Available.
Please Call 212.473.2323 for booking information. 

Billecart-Salmon Champagne was the very first wine IWM carried that comes from outside Italy. It's a testament to this Champagne house that it was the first, and that all these years later IWM still champions it. To celebrate our longstanding relationship with Billecart-Salmon, IWM is delighted to announce that we'll be hosting a very intimate winemaker dinner with Antoine Roland-Billecart, Billecart-Salmon's own winemaker, in our Vintage Tasting Room, the closest experience to a sitting in a winemaker's cellar that you can find in New York City. IWM's own Chef Mike Marcelli will craft a five-course meal with each course designed to complement one of Billecart-Salmon's fine Champagnes, adding to your understanding and enjoyment of this family-owned-and-operated Champagne house. An IWM first, this memorable evening allows just a few wine enthusiasts to get to know and love Billecart-Salmon better, to ask questions of M. Roland-Billecart, and to experience a memorable evening with wine lovers like themselves. Seating is very limited; don't hesitate to reserve your places soon.
*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, September 19 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $95.00

Nebbiolo is Piemonte's best-known grape and the basis for its best-known wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. Indigenous to the hills surrounding Alba, Nebbiolo's name derives from the Italian word for fog, nebbia, though whether that refers to the white tinge that covers the black grapes as they ripen or the mist surrounding the Langhe hills, no one is entirely sure. One thing is certain: not only is Nebbiolo a very old grape, but it is also one that has been recognized for centuries for its greatness. Join us at a special tasting that investigates, explicates and celebrates Nebbiolo with eight great bottlings that feature the emblematic grape. IWM's knowledgeable sommelier will pour Nebbiolo wines from some of our favorite producers at this delicious, educational tasting, all complemented by regional meats and cheeses for a Nebbiolo party you won't want to miss.
Featured Wine List
De Forville Nebbiolo d'Alba San Rocco 2013
Sandro Fay Rosso di Valtellina Tei 2013
Donnas Vallee d'Aosta Rosso 2011
San Giuliano Barbaresco 2010
Rocche dei Manzoni Bricco Manzoni 2009
Poderi Aldo Conterno Langhe Nebbiolo Il Favot 2011
Renzo Seghesio Barolo Pajana Riserva 2008
Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big 'd Big 2010
*Wine list may be subject to change.

Saturday, September 26 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $110.00

On the heels of last week's Nebbiolo tasting comes this carnival of Sangiovese Grosso. In the nineteenth century, Clemente Santi isolated the Sangiovese clone that has come to be known as BBS11, and his son Ferrucio used it to create the Brunello di Montalcino we know and love. While Sangiovese has spawned multiple clones, Sangiovese Grosso has thicker skins, lower yields, and smaller berries, and because of these characteristics, it makes a darker, more ageable wine. This special tasting commemorates the rare marriage between grape and terroir as knowledgeable IWM sommeliers pour six different Sangiovese Grosso wines, including bottles from Talenti, Cupano and Angelo Gaja. Accompanied by meats and cheeses, this tasting is a rare opportunity for Brunello enthusiasts to get to know their favorite grape--and their favorite region--a little bit better!

Featured Wine List:

Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2013
Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2003
Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2008
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2009
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2010
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2009
More Wines to be Announced. 
*Wine list may be subject to change.

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