Dynamic Duo of Valdicava New Releases, Collector Bartolo Mascarello, and Antinori's Dessert Wine!
February 11, 2016
A Note from Sergio

Many wineries put a lot of thought and attention into the way that the cantina looks--Tenuta San Guido, Poggio di Sotto, and Fontodi all have stunning designs. Other wineries like Bartolo Mascarello, Castello dei Rampolla, and Valdicava place function over form. Valdicava's cellar is pure efficiency; it's almost Spartan in its bareness and utility. This aesthetic might be strange when you balance it against the estate's lush, evocative, multi-layered Brunello. However, when you see the vineyards, and all the work that Vincenzo Abbruzzese, Valdicava's owner, and his agronomist put into them, all the indigenous grasses growing between the rows, the tending of trees that line the vineyards, the careful placement of vines, it's not. These are some well-loved grapes. Vincenzo is passionate about making excellent wine, and it shows.

Today, I'm very pleased to present two new releases from Valdicava. I'm bypassing the estate's Brunello that you know and love, and I'm focusing on Valdicava's 2010 cru Brunello Riserva and its exacting 2013 Rosso di Montalcino. The former is an age-worthy giant. This bottle is sleeping now, but when it awakes, it'll be a wine to make memories for decades to come. The latter is a lithe, aromatic beauty that you can drink right now, or you can cellar it and enjoy it over the next few years. Both display the elegance and attention to detail that has made Valdicava a cult favorite.

Every wine has its time, and not all times call for a Sangiovese Grosso, no matter how perfectly made. Along with this dynamic Valdicava duo, I'm delighted to offer two other captivating wines--a gorgeous bottle of Bartolo Mascarello adorned with a label taken from one of Bartolo's own paintings, and Antinori's dessert wine from its Umbrian estate, Castello della Sala Muffato. I love featuring all Italian wines in my eLetters, and you can't go wrong with any of these beauties. Whether the cantina these came from is humble or polished, these wines embody pure Italian style, and I know you can appreciate that.

Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: Two New Must-Have Valdicava Releases
2. Only At IWM: 
Bartolo Mascarello's Collector Hand-Painted Labels
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Antinori's Sweet Surprise, an IWM Client Favorite Wine!
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
Domaine Lamarche, Burgundy Winemaking "Royalty"
5. Wine Events: Upcoming February Wine Tasting Events

My Best, 

Sergio Esposito


Every new Valdicava release is another chance to feel excited. Valdicava's Vincenzo Abbruzzese is one of the most impassioned producers in Montalcino, and his wines show it. Committed to nurturing the biosphere, Vincenzo lets natural grasses and flowers grow between his vines, where they act as natural cover while imparting unique terroir in his wines. Today, we're very proud to bring you a pair of Valdicava new releases, the estate's winsome and aromatic 2013 Rosso di Montalcino and its age-worthy, intense 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano, the latest bottling of one of the great cru wines from the region. These are each astounding wines, and together they demonstrate Vincenzo's skill in the vineyards and in the cellar.

Valdicava, which gets its name from the surrounding valley, sits on a high plane close to Montalcino in the coldest part of the Brunello zone. Wines from this area show a signature balance between body and perfume, offering great structure combined with intoxicating aromatics. Deriving from a plot in the center of this valley, Valdicava Madonna del Piano, one of the first cru Brunello bottlings, has made devotees around the world. While Brunello enthusiasts have many great wines to enjoy from the benchmark 2010 vintage, Valdicava's Brunello Riserva is extraordinary. A lustrous, long-lived and powerful wine, its pure red fruits mingle with brooding notes in this complex, detailed '10 bottling. This wine is at once massive and finessed, crossing the palate in a rush of velvety, chewy tannins as it builds to a long, lingering finish.

If the '10 Valdicava Brunello Riserva is brooding and massive, the estate's 2013 Rosso is aromatic and lithe. 2013 saw a wet spring in Montalcino but a long, slow ripening during summer, and by the time harvest came, the grapes were perfect--it was a low yield, high concentration vintage, good news to lovers of Sangiovese Grosso. A Rosso di Montalcino that consistently drinks like a Brunello, this '13 Valdicava bottling is energetic and fresh; this wine frames its transparent red and blue fruits with crushed flowers, sun-warmed earth, baking spices, and telltale Montalcino terroir, and it releases a sweet inner perfume as it crosses the mid-palate and builds complexity as it whooshes to a detailed finish.

Valdicava, which uses mostly traditional methods to age its biodynamically produced wine, is consistently an IWM client favorite, and these two releases come with special time-sensitive pricing, making them exceptionally appealing. This dynamic duo of Valdicava wines gives fans of the estate an aromatic and finessed 2013  "baby Brunello" to enjoy as the powerful and complex 2010 Brunello Riserva ages. It's the best of both worlds, and it can only come from IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.

Valdicava 2013 Rosso di Montalcino*
(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese Grosso)
$44.99 Regular Price
$41.39 Case Price/btl

(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese Grosso)
$325.00 Regular Price
$299.00 Half-Case Price/btl
*Pre-Arrival, April 2016


Winemaker Bartolo Mascarello put his politics and his traditionalism where everyone could see--on the labels of his beautiful bottles of Barolo. Bartolo grew frail towards the end of his life, and as his physicality diminished, he spent time sitting in the cantina. He began painting, creating labels that would come to adorn special bottles of Mascarello wines. Today, we're proud to present seven vintages of Mascarello Barolo with these hand-painted labels, rare bottlings that will live on long after the last sip of wine has been swallowed. If you were a friend of Bartolo's, he might affix a special label to your bottle. After Bartolo passed, Maria Teresa found a cache of about 600 labels he'd painted and left in a drawer. She scanned them and reproduces them to embellish bottles to this day. Today, we're very proud to present the 2008 Mascarello Barolo with this hand-painted label; it's an IWM exclusive, and it's very, very special.

Why Buy This Wine:
- This is a very special bottle of Barolo--not only is it from Bartolo Mascarello, one of IWM's most beloved makers of traditional Barolo, but it also is adorned with a label originally hand painted by the estate's namesake himself.

- As Bartolo had done before her, and his father before him, Maria Teresa adheres to traditional winemaking methods; the estate's approach is simple: low yields and ripe fruit from some of Barolo's best vines, blended for consistent quality and style.
- The '08 Barolo from Mascarello dazzles with its complexity, purity, and expressiveness. Juicy red fruit rests on a bed of eucalyptus, violets, tar, spice and licorice in this classic, seductive and ethereal bottling. 

- Rich inner perfume, racy acidity and fine-grained polished tannins work in concert to create a stunning wine that is enjoyable now but will age for years to come. 

- While Barolos deriving from these areas tend to offer great aromatics and elegance, few also have the structure and longevity of a Mascarello Barolo. 

- Fewer than 1,200 cases crafted a year, and only a fraction are adorned with this special hand-painted label; contact your portfolio manager to secure this IWM exclusive Barolo, presented in both standard or magnum formats.

Bartolo Mascarello 2008 Barolo (Hand Painted Label)*
(Italy, Piemonte - Nebbiolo)
$379.00 Regular Price
$359.00 Half-Case Price/btl

(Italy, Piemonte - Nebbiolo)
$749.00 Regular Price
$699.00 Special Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, May 2016


Honeyed and delicious; fragrant and acidic; golden and tantalizing: Italian dessert wines are as representative of their regions as any other Italian wine. They come from all regions, and each one speaks of its particular terroir. Italian dessert wines put a definitive period at the end of a meal, and one of our very favorites has long come from the Antinori family's estate in Umbria, Castello della Sala. While the world-famous Antinori estate is headquartered in the heart of Chianti Classico, the ancient winemaking family has long had roots in Umbria. Antinori founded its Umbrian estate, Castello della Sala, located where Umbria abuts Toscana in the northwest corner of Orvieto in 1985, and these 400 acres of vine are under the guidance of Marchese Piero Antinori, his three daughters, and renowned enologist Renzo Cotarella, an Umbrian native. Today, we're delighted to offer special time-sensitive pricing on the 2009 Muffato della Sala, a dessert wine that will convert sweet wine skeptics!

Why Buy This Wine:

- Derived primarily from grapes that have realized a considerable degree of concentration and been affected by noble rot, the sweet wines of Orvieto are intense and decadent, and Antinori's Muffato della Sala is regarded as the most accomplished in its class.

- 2009's cold, snowy winter led to a bright spring, and while the summer was hot and dry throughout Umbria, water reserves were high; by the time harvest arrived with its perfect oscillation between warm days and cool nights, the grapes were perfectly ripe, yet still fresh with acidity.

- Juicy peach nectar blends with orange flower, lemon zest and honey, but it's this wine's enchanting creamy mouth-feel, piquant minerality and dusting of exotic spices that make it special.

- The product of a perfect, ripe vintage, this intense, dense, balanced '09 Muffato della Sala rests its ripe stone fruits and citrus zest on a bed of minerals, toasted nuts and spice.

- IWM is pleased to present this 2009 bottling of Muffato della Sala, one of our favorite dessert wines, at special time-sensitive pricing; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours!

Castello della Sala 2009 Muffato Della Sala (500ml)*
(Italy, Umbria - Sauvignon Blanc, Grechetto, Traminer, Riesling)
$44.99 Regular Price
$41.39 Case Price/btl 

This offer will expire in 48 hours on February 13th at 5:00 pm EST.
*Pre-Arrival, March 2016


As an IWM Portfolio Manager, Garrett Kowalsky has married his love of wine with his background in finance and economics. A lover of many of the world's wine-growing regions, Garrett acknowledges that Burgundy and Barolo hold a special place in his heart.
Drinking Today: Domaine Lamarche 2011 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$37.99 Regular Price
$34.95 Case Price/btl
For the Cellar: Domaine Lamarche 2012 La Grande Rue Grand Cru
(France, Burgundy - Pinot Noir)
$459.99 Regular Price

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


Saturday, February 13 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting Brunch

IWM Host: Crystal Edgar

Ticket Price: $174.99 
It's the one holiday devoted to couples, and this Valentine's Day, IWM wants to show you and yours our favorite pairings at a very special brunch. Chef Michael Marcelli and his IWM kitchen will create decadent dishes to delight your senses, which we'll pair with some of our favorite Champagnes, global sparkling wines and rich reds. Join us to celebrate your love for wine, for food, and for great company, and see first-hand how easy it is for even difficult dishes to find the perfect match. From antipasti to sweets, and from sparklers to decadent wines, IWM wants to celebrate perfect pairings, an event made even more complete with you!

Featured Wine List: 

Welcome Reception

Shigoku Oysters & American Sturgeon Caviar
Lallier Grand Cru Rosé Brut NV


Salumi & Cheese
Roasted Root Vegetable, Lobster Roe Bagna Cauda
Panissa Ligure with Saffron & Meyer Lemon
Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes 2011 
Château de la Maltroye Chassagne 1er Cru Clos du Château Blanc 2013


Seared Foie Gras, Bone Marrow Crostini, Bing Cherry
Vitello Tonnato, Cured Egg & Perigord Black Truffle
Paolo Bea Arboreus Umbria Bianco 2010 
Raffaele Palma Salicerchi 2011 
Lignier Michelot Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2013


Duck Confit & Morel Arancini
Braised Lamb
Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2009 
Renzo Seghesio Barolo Ginestra 2010 
Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro 2007
*Wine list may be subject to change.

Saturday, February 20 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $94.99 
"Big Red" is a term we like to use a lot at Italian Wine Merchants. Whether we employ it to organize a tasting, create an offering, or simply to describe the contents of a bottle, we have a fondness for the ideal of the Big Red. It's a term that brings to mind a host of connotations--the boldness, the power, the unabashed lushness of the color red gets a gloss of intensification with the addition of the word "big." Put these words together, and you get a style of wine that you can't help but love. This Saturday we invite you to discover the range of wines this beloved category offers. Guided by a knowledgeable IWM sommelier, this glorious tasting, complemented by meats and cheeses, is devoted to exploring the lushness, the power, and the unexpected finesse of the Big Red in wines from some of our favorite producers. It's big, it's beautiful, and it's a lot of delicious fun packed in some very great reds.
*Wine list to be announced.

Saturday, February 27 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Walk-Around Tasting

Ticket Price: $74.99 
Some wines are singular sensations--they're called "mono-varietals," and they are pure expressions of one specific grape. Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello are all Italian mono-varietals, and so too are some Super-Tuscan wines, bottlings like the Merlot Redigaffi or the Syrah Scrio. This tasting, led by a knowledgeable IWM sommelier and accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, takes a look at Italy's great mono-varietal wines with a comprehensive view that sweeps from Italy's North to its South. In the company of some great blends for comparison, these mono-varietal wines will offer an laser-like view of some of your grapes; get to know Nebbiolo, Aglianico, or Sangiovese Grosso better as you join us for One Grape Sensation, a unique view of Italian wines that could only happen at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.
*Wine list to be announced.

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