Great 50 & 50 Super Tuscan! Pristine Vintage Valdicava! And Classic Fontodi Chianti Classico!

February 16, 2017

It's a moment so integral to who I am that I've written about it more than once--the anecdote has appeared both here in my newsletters and in my memoir Passion on the Vine. I was in Italy. I was a teenager. I had left the protective care of my father to travel to Pisa on my own, and there, in a small, non-descript restaurant in Pisa, I learned the secret of Italian food--and Italian wine. First, when the avuncular waiter gave me a Sangiovese to drink with my bruschetta and lardo, I got a glimpse into how wine could work with food. Then, he gave me a glass of Merlot to complement my dish of garganelli and crabmeat, and I had a small epiphany. The rich crab-infused olive oil on the pasta, the hot dash of pepperoncino, the melting sensation of the Merlot checking the hotness of the pepper and the richness of the pasta. It was heaven, and it made an ecstatic sense.

Even though Merlot is not a grape that we first think of when we think of Italian wine, it has grown in Italy for centuries--in fact, it's the fifth most cultivated grape varietal in Italy. Masseto is, of course, the marquee Italian Merlot, but there's also Le Macchiole's Messorio and Tua Rita Redigaffi, and, of course, Merlot appears in Super-Tuscan blends too. Today, I'm proud to offer you a new bottling of one of these Super Tuscans that features Merlot, Avignonesi & Capannelle 2012 50 & 50. Half pure Italian Sangiovese and half international Merlot, this wine makes friends of these two very different red wine grapes. Sangiovese's spiky acidity finds it match in the fleshiness of the Merlot, and together these two grapes make a delicious wine.

Along with this great Super-Tuscan wine, I'm very happy to present a pair of great mono-varietal Sangiovese wines. They don't get much more authentic than this: Valdicava 1990 Brunello Riserva and Fontodi 2013 Chianti Classico. It was hard to score this vintage Valdicava--there's not much left in the world--and this 1990 Brunello is gorgeous. It drinks with the voice of a mature opera singer, mellow and far-reaching, like it was made for you alone. 2013 is an insanely good year throughout Italy, and Fontodi made the most of it in their traditional Chianti Classico. It's pure, full-throttle Sangiovese, and it'll wow you.


Today's Featured Sections Include:

1. Spotlight on Excellence:
Merlot and Sangiovese Make This Super Tuscan Special
2. Only At IWM:
27-Year-Old Valdicava Brunello Riserva
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Must-Have Benchmark Fontodi Chianti Classico
4. Wine Events: Upcoming February Wine Tasting Events

My Best,

Sergio Esposito

In general, winemakers tend to be territorial, prickly and isolationist, choosing to craft the very best from their own vineyards in an effort to capture the land they love. But as we learned in kindergarten, beautiful things happen when people share, and today's spotlight wine is an example of this. A cooperation between two Tuscan winemakers, Avignonesi & Capannelle 50 & 50 is a unique Super Tuscan. It blends Merlot from Avignonesi in Montepulciano, located in the southeast of Toscana, with Sangiovese from Capannelle in Chianti, located smack in Toscana's middle. Together these two winemakers craft an outstanding, unusual Super Tuscan that deserves a place in your cellar, on your table and in your glass. Today, we're delighted to offer the 2012 vintage of Avignonesi & Capannelle 50 & 50 at very competitive pricing.

Owned by Virginie Saverys, Avignonesi is an ancient Montepulciano winemaking estate whose roots stretch back to the fourteenth century. When Saverys, a former lawyer in her native Belgium, bought the estate in 2007, she and her team converted Avignonesi to organic viticulture with the intent of making wines that are healthy for the environment and true to their terroir. With close to 50 acres in Gaiole, Chianti (40 under vine), Capannelle is much newer; it dates back to 1974, when Raffaele Rossetti founded the estate on the grounds of a fifteenth-century farm. Today, Capannalle is owned by hotelier James B. Sherwood, and it makes a full range of authentic Tuscan products that embody its land.

Lush, saturated and finessed, the '12 bottling of 50 & 50 marries the acidic piquancy of its Sangiovese with the roundness of its Merlot. Sappy red and blue fruits mingle with crushed potpourri, warm cigar wrapper, baking spices, earth and pressed herbs in this delicious, caressing red. Beautifully balanced, this wine matches its overt fruit with bright acidity and fine-grained tannins, and it builds to a finish that's laden with balsamic herbs, making it a food-friendly delight. Crafted with international methods, this is a first-rate Super Tuscan that is sure to delight clients who love Tua Rita's Giusto di Notri, Antinori's Tignanello or Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore.

The inaugural vintage of 50 & 50 was 1988, a year so great that it moved Cappanelle's original owner to create a Super Tuscan that celebrated the vintage in a special way; he did this by finding Merlot grown in Montepulciano, about fifty miles away. 50 & 50 was such a hit that it became a yearly bottling, and the 2012 shows why. Spiky Sangiovese and mellow Merlot are ideal complements to one another, and together in this Super Tuscan, these two grapes illustrate how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Contact your portfolio manager to secure your 2012 Avignonesi & Capannelle 50 & 50--and then share it with someone! Born of a spirit of cooperation, this is one Super Tuscan you can't keep to yourself.

(Italy, Toscana - Merlot, Sangiovese)
$129.00 Regular Price
$119.00 Half-Case Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, Summer

Valdicava is one of IWM's favorite Brunello estates. The 67 acres of Valdicava, which gets its name from the Valdicava Valley, sits on a high plane close to Montalcino in the coldest part of Toscana's Brunello zone. Wines from this area show a signature balance between body and perfume, offering great structure combined with intoxicating aromatics. This valley is where the greatest single-vineyard Brunellos derive, and the Madonna del Piano vineyard sits in the middle of both the Valdicava valley and the Valdicava estate. Founded in 1953, Valdicava rose to international attention when Vincenzo Abbruzzese took control in 1987. Abbruzzese has the well-deserved reputation of being a single-minded, exacting and meticulous producer, growing organic grapes and crafting wines with minimal intervention. Today, IWM is proud to offer a new allocation of Valdicava 1990 Madonna del Piano Brunello di Montalcino Riserva at the BEST PRICE in the United States.

Why Buy This Wine:

- Valdicava Madonna del Piano is one of Montalcino's first single-vineyard Brunellos, arguably setting that set the standard for cru Brunello, and the 1990 bottling has proven itself over the long haul.

- Validicava makes its cru Madonna del Piano Riserva only in the best years--just 16 times between 1977 and 2007--and time has shown this 1990 Brunello Riserva to be an extraordinary wine.

- Elegant yet rustic, this '90 Brunello Riserva lays its sweet red and blue fruits on a foundation of game, smoky minerals, warm cigar wrapper, potpourri and loam.

- This wine is at once juicy and acidic, opulent and structured, sweet and savory; it unfurls on the palate to show plenty of polished tannins as it builds to a mineral-driven, lingering finish.

- Only IWM can offer this 27-year-old Valdicava Brunello Riserva with the "IWM Difference" of perfect provenance and care throughout the wine's lifespan; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours at the BEST PRICE in the US.

(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese Grosso)
$425.00 Regular Price
$399.00 Half-Case Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, Summer

Resting near Panzano in the epicenter of Toscana's viticulture, Fontodi's vines sit in the Conca d'Oro, the natural amphitheater that is the beating heart of Chianti Classico. The ideal location of Fontodi's vineyards combined with the leadership of Marco and Giovanni Manetti, whose extended family has owned the estate since the late '60s, makes for perfection in winemaking. Fontodi practices non-interventionist protocol, relying on the estate's exceptional southern position in a natural amphitheater composed of marl soil to create wines of great character and structure, especially in years like 2013. Cool, temperate, and sunny, 2013 saw a return to classic Tuscan weather, and it gave Tuscan winemakers perfect conditions to craft superstar wines. Today, we're delighted to celebrate the vintage with the '13 Chianti Classico from superstar Fontodi. Presented with special case pricing, this Chianti Classico is a wine to drink again and again.

Why Buy This Wine:

- Fontodi's winemakers have called 2013 "truly epic," and this all-star Chianti Classico puts weight behind those words--IWM can't keep this wine in stock!

- Nimble and juicy, this '13 Chianti Classico seamlessly melds its pure red fruits with crushed rocks, saddle leather, smoke and flower petals.

- This is a charming wine that shows surprising complexity as it builds to a vibrant, supple finish; food-friendly and bright, this Fontodi wine is the ideal accompaniment to your hearty pasta or artisanal pizza.

- This Sangiovese derives from Fontodi's various organically grown vineyard sites, making it balanced and juicy; as delicious as it is now, it'll be even better a few years down the road.

- While Fontodi is most famous for its Super-Tuscan Flaccianello, this Chianti Classico is an affordable way to enjoy Fontodi's way with Sangiovese; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours at special, time-sensitive pricing.

(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese)
$34.99 Regular Price
$32.19 Case Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, End of February

This offer will expire in 48 hours February 18th at 5:00pm EST.


Saturday, February 18 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $129.00

IWM Host: Francesco Vigorito Vice President of Sales

"Big Red" is a term we like to use a lot at Italian Wine Merchants. The "big red" is a wine that's bold and unforgettable--likewise a "big white" is lush yet mineral-laden and fresh. We love the concentration, the unabashed opulence, and the deep color of these "big" wines: they're powerful yet they never sacrifice nuance. This Saturday we invite you to discover the range of wines that are big and bold, and while we'll concentrate on the red wines of Italy, we might include a few surprises too! 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 some of our favorite producers' most intense, most explosive wines. It's big, it's beautiful, and it's a lot of delicious fun packed in some very great wines.

Featured Wines:

COS Cerasuolo Delle Fontane 2010
Poderi Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d'Alba 2013
Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2011
Scarzello Barolo 2009
Prunotto Barolo Bussia Vigna Colonnello Riserva 2009
Tua Rita Redigaffi 2011
Monte Faustino Amarone di Valpolicella 1999

*Wine list may be subject to change.

Saturday, February 25 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $109.00

IWM Host: Garrett Kowalsky

Few of us get to Europe as often as we want; this special Saturday tasting brings the flavors of Europe's great wines to you, without ever leaving glamorous Union Square in New York City! Our knowledgeable sommelier will take you to Italy, France and Spain, exploring four different wine regions with handpicked bottles of both red and white wines, giving you a whirlwind yet delicious trip through some of Europe's most important wine regions. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this tasting is ideal for experienced wine-lovers looking to broaden their palates, newbies who seek an easy-to-understand overview, or travel-hungry people with wanderlust and a love for great wine. It's a two-hour trip to Europe's wine capitals, and you don't even need to pack your bags!

Featured Wines:

Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillon 1er Cru 2015
Antinori Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay 2014
Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese 2014
La Rioja Alta Ardanza Reserva 2007
López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia 2004
François Gay Corton-Renardes 2014
Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2008
Guado Al Tasso Guado Al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore 2013

*Wine list may be subject to change.

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

IWM Gift Cards