Begali's $70 Amarone, Cupano's Super-Tuscan Wonder, and Antinori's Greatest Cervaro Yet!

May 5, 2015 
A Note from Sergio

"Big Red" is a term we like to use a lot at Italian Wine Merchants. If red wine is a spectrum, you've got lean reds at one end, monster reds at the other, and big reds somewhere in the middle. A lean red doesn't just have a thinner body; it has a certain delicacy. It tends to be a wine of finesse and, if you're one to talk enological descriptions, one with lower alcohol and lighter tannins. A lean wine makes me think of a dancer; it has a lithe, graceful body that holds deceptive strength. A monster red, on the other hand, has the high-alcohol, fruit-in-your-face density of modern, international wines; they make me think of body-builders, something over-the-top and a little too brawny to be entirely, believably natural.

We carry many lean reds, but very few monster reds. What really captures our clients from head to soul, however, are the big reds. A big red isn't subtle. It's a wine that quickly warms your heart and suffuses your belly. Big reds tend to the middle in terms of alcohol, though they range in tannins from relatively low (like Dolcetto) to those that are quite high (like Barolo or Taurasi). They all, however, have a nice, hefty body. The opulence and power of a big red can be attributed to its vintage, or its producer; big reds can come from a late harvest of the grapes or from the varietal; they can be the product of any number of variables.

Today, I'm pleased to bring you a pair of big reds--Begali 2010 Amarone Classico and Cupano 2006 Sant'Antimo Ombrone--and one singular great white, Antinori 2011 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay. The first two wines, Begali's value Amarone and Cupano's extraordinary Montalcino Super Tuscan, embody the big red category. They're nicely filling, sensual, go-for-the-gusto reds that pull you back to the glass. The last is Antinori's take on Meursault, and it's like a Hitchcock blonde; it's cool, seductive and unmistakably classy.


Today's Featured Sections Include:


1. Spotlight on Excellence: Summertime's Big Red, Begali 2010 Amarone Classico
2. Only At IWM: 
Cupano 2006 Sant'Antimo Ombrone, a Great Montalcino Super Tuscan
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Jeroboams of Antinori 2011 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
Stylish 2011 Burgundies from Simon Bize and Michel Lafarge
5. Wine Events: May Wine Tastings

My Best, 


Sergio Esposito


Although we typically think of Amarone as a cold weather wine, this "big red" makes a delicious complement to summertime foods; steaks sizzling off the grill, roast pork, or even chopped sirloin will bask in Amarone's love. 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. Today, we're delighted to present a new allocation of the darkly delicious 2010 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 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 produces 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.

Blackberries, plums, Christmas cake and mocha burst from the glass in this '10 Amarone; on the palate, brooding fruit is underlain by fresh-cut herbs, black pepper, and sweet baking spices. Full-bodied and structured, this wine caresses the palate with chewy tannins, finishing in a crescendo of black fruit and chocolate. 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, 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, 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. That said, there's no time like the present to buy some to drink now--and more to cellar for wintertime enjoyment.



Begali 2010 Amarone Classico

(Italy, Veneto - Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara)

$69.99 Regular Price



IWM rarely offers Super Tuscans from Montalcino--we find the region's Brunello and Rosso so excellent that we don't need to! Therefore, when we find one we champion, 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 feature the luscious, brooding 2006 Sant'Antimo Ombrone, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese blend from the rising stars of Montalcino, Cupano. We already sold out of multiple allocations of this finessed, elegant "big red," so don't wait to secure your 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 and the remainder Merlot and Sangiovese, embodies the marriage of French Lionel and Italian Ornella; it's unusual to find a Montalcino Super Tuscan, but this one is first class, offering juicy fruit, deep minerality, and velvety tannins.

- 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.

- Juicy, herbal, earthy and strewn with wildflowers, the '06 Cupano presents a lithe, supple profile to this IWM favorite "big red," but don't be fooled: this '06 has a powerful palate that explodes to a lingering, pure finish, offering a great introduction to this organic estate.

- Approachable now, this '06, a benchmark vintage for the region, offers grippy tannins and great structure, making it a cellar-worthy value find.

- It's rare to find a bottle of this quality for less than $75, and IWM's BEST PRICE of $44.99 for this delicious Super Tuscan redefines value wine.

- Only IWM can offer the Cupano Sant'Antimo Ombrone, a wine that offers a perfect introduction to the estate's finesse, fine terrior, and unmistakable winemaking prowess.


Cupano 2006 Sant'Antimo Ombrone

(Italy, Toscana - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese)
$44.99 Regular Price
$41.39 Case Price/btl

*Pre Arrival, Summer 2015


Umbria is not usually at the top of the list when you're talking Italian wines. For that matter, Italian Chardonnay often slips below the radar, with the exception of Angelo Gaja's Gaia & Rey and a few other cult wines. You might doubt that an Umbrian Chardonnay is one of Italy's great wines, but when we say it's Antinori's wine, carefully crafted by Umbrian native son Renzo Cotarella, and that the wine is Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala, it all begins to make sense. Last year we debuted the 2010 Cervaro della Sala and claimed that it might be the best bottling of this wine yet, but the 2011 bottling takes all that power, ripeness and luxury and raises the ante, offering intensity, a kaleidoscopic palate and great vibrancy. Today, we're proud to present double magnums of the 2011 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala, possibly the very best bottling yet--until Antinori proves us wrong again next vintage.

Why Buy This Wine:

- Intended for aging--the estate has bottles dating to '85, about the same time that Angelo Gaja was perfecting his Chardonnay-based Gaia & Rey--Cevaro is a blend of mostly Chardonnay kissed with ten percent Grechetto.

- Our clients have enjoyed decades-old bottles of this great Antinori white, and these large format bottles offer sublime aging potential--or immediate gratification if you don't have the patience to wait!

- While the 2011 growing season was challenging to some, Antinori and Renzo Cotarella's team timed the harvest impeccably to capture the berries at their ripest and most intense--yet still nicely acidic for balance.

- The result is a wine that's layered and sumptuous, but still structured and long-aging; it's a luminous vintage that will shine its light for decades, while still offering relatively early drinking

- The '11 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay is a mineral-laden, terroir-driven wine that captures the sultriness of the vintage in its juicy stone fruits, spice, citrus and almond notes, but it also shows the hand of its makers in its fine structure, elegance and mouthfeel.

- These jeroboams of Cervaro della Sala is a perfect wine for aging or for serving at summertime large gatherings; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

Antinori 2011 Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay (3L)
(Italy, Umbria - Chardonnay, Grechetto)
$259.00 Regular Price
$220.15 Special Price/btl 

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


A leading wine educator, writer, sommelier, international judge and lecturer, Robin Kelley O'Connor brings thirty years of experience with many professional certifications to IWM. Notably, RKO has visited the world's important wine regions and studied winemaking in Bordeaux and Champagne.


Drinking Today: Michel Lafarge 2011 Côtes de Beaune Village
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$41.99 Regular Price
$38.63 Case Price/btl
For the Cellar: Simon Bize 2011 Savigny lès Beaune 1er Cru Serpentières
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$69.99 Regular Price
$64.39 Case Price/btl


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


Saturday, May 9 | 1:00-3:00 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $135.00

Early Bird Special $115.00 (Special Expires May 6, 2015, 5pm EST)


IWM Hosts:
Robin Kelley O'Connor, C.W.E.
John Camacho Vidal, Senior Portfolio Manager

While winemaking has long been considered a boy's game, women winemakers are challenging that notion, especially in Italy. From Piemonte's Bruno Giacosa in the north to Silvia Imperato in Campagna in the south, Italy is looking towards a new girl order in winemaking--and Italy's not alone in this revolution; French women winemakers like Christine Bachey and Ann-Claude Leflaive are taking the lead in their country. In celebration of Mother's Day, IWM invites you to join us for a special wine lunch on Saturday, May 9 to celebrate the women who make wine. Led by IWM's knowledgeable sommeliers and accompanied by Chef Mike Marcelli's pastas and antipasto, prepared by our in-house kitchen, this event will explore the long history of women winemakers, revel in its present, and look forward to its future. We'll be pouring organic an Super Tuscan from Le Boncie, an organic Brunello from Cupano, and wines from Giacosa, Imperato, Leflaive and Bachey-Legros at this wonderful light lunch. You don't have to be a mother to enjoy it, but we'd love to meet yours!

Featured Wine List:
Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa Spumante Extra Brut 2006
Podere Le Boncie Rosso di Toscana IGT Le Trame 2011
Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2008 
Imparato Montevetrano 2008
Domaine Leflaive Meursault Sous le Dos Ane 1er Cru 2011
Bachey Legros Santenay 1er Cru Clos Rousseau VV 2012 
Antinori Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay 2012 
Chandon de Briailles Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru Les Lavières 2010   


*Wine list may be subject to change. 


Saturday, May 16 1:00-3:00 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $135.00

Early Bird Special $115.00 (Special Expires May 11, 2015, 5pm EST)


When we think of summer, we tend to think of white wines--arresting Chardonnays, cooling Pinot Grigios, flinty Falanghinas, or textured Ribolla Giallas. But as much as we love white wines in the summer, some moments call for reds. Let IWM's sommeliers guide you in the reds you should have on hand for summertime fun. From zesty light-bodied reds to drink with a slight chill to full-throttle big reds that will make your BBQ sing, this special event celebrates red wines that make summertime special. We'll be pouring some of our favorite warm weather reds from Italy, France and beyond--and we'll complement these beautiful bottles with regional meats and cheeses from IWM's own kitchen. Some say there ain't no cure for the summertime blues, but this event will have you calling for red, red wine!


*Wine list to be announced. 


Saturday, May 30 | 1:00-3:00 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $135.00

Early Bird Special $115.00 (Special Expires May 26, 2015, 5pm EST)


Founded in 1497, Raventós i Blanc didn't just make Cava; in 1872, the estate invented it. Thus it shocked the wine world when Raventós i Blanc, the standard bearer of Cava, Spain's most important sparkling wine, chose to leave the designation in 2012, designating its wines Conca Del Riu Anoia instead. IWM is delighted to announce another in our series of our historic, educational and delicious winemaker events with Pepe Raventós, the owner-winemaker at the legendary 200-acre Raventós i Blanc estate in the heart of Penedès. Learn about the history of this forward-minded organic estate, leaders in the region, drink special vintage bottlings available nowhere else in the States, dine on stellar courses created by our in-house chef, Mike Marcelli, and share the company of Pepe Raventós, who will guide us through the afternoon's selections of wines. Pepe will be pouring the estate's cru sparkling wines, as well as the special vintage bottlings named after and selected by his father, Manuel Raventós, and other special surprises. Join us for a lunch more than 500 hundred years in the making, and experience the future of fine Spanish winemaking.


*Wine list to be announced. 


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