The Elusive 2010 Grattamacco, $25 Mountain "Barolo," and Collector Bryant Family

April 23, 2015 
A Note from Sergio

In 1977, Piermario Meletti Cavallari quit his managerial job at 3M. He'd been a wine drinker until then, but after becoming friends and drinking buddy with the noted intellectual, writer and wine critic Luigi Veronelli, Piermario decided to change his life to conform to his passions. He wanted more than to just drink wine; he wanted to make a drinkable wine, a wine to be consumed, and a wine to be enjoyed. He left Bergamo and journeyed to Bolgheri.

He drove off that main road and onto a winding road through Bolgheri that turned, twisted, dipped and rose. He bumped along on that road, over hills, up, up, up and over the town of Bolgheri. There, on the other side, he found where his vineyard would go. He knew it when he saw it, and he said, "This is my land." A week later he was signing the deed for what would become Grattamacco, and shortly thereafter, he brought on consulting enologist Maurizio Castelli, who shaped the estate's wines even though Piermario recently sold the vineyards for a quieter life. In '82, Grattamacco debuted, the second super wine from that part of Tuscany.

In the years that followed, Cavalleri sold Grattamacco, but the estate, always under the radar, never stopped making great wine--in fact, it has only gotten more delicious! We've already brought you the 2009 Grattamacco Bolgheri Superiore and the 2011 vintage, but today, I'm delighted to bring you the elusive 2010 vintage. Sometimes, wine creation, marketing and distribution conspires against me securing a wine I really want. This '10 Grattamacco bottling was one of those cases, but don't miss out on this extraordinary Super Tuscan. It's super refined, sophisticated and precise, and it's a steal at under $80.

Along with stalking the wily '10 Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore, I'm pleased to have scored bottles of the Donna's mountain "Barolo." This Nebbiolo-based Alpine wine might be your new go-to red. Finally, I'm very happy to offer something unusual at IWM: a collector Bordeaux-style blend from Napa Valley. Real California wine lovers really love the Bryant Family wines, and this '11 Bettina is a gem.

Today's Featured Sections Include:


1. Spotlight on Excellence: Hard to Find, Easy to love, Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore
2. Only At IWM: 
Under $25 Mountain "Barolo" from the Donnas
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Collector Californian Bryant Family Bettina 2011
4. Our Experts Suggest: 
Finding Burgundy Values from Domaine Chevrot
5. Wine Events: Winemaker Dinners//April and May Wine Tastings

My Best, 


Sergio Esposito



Established in 1977, Grattamacco is Bolgheri's second Super Tuscan estate--only Tenuta San Guido, whose Sassicaia vineyards abut those of Grattamacco, came earlier--and it has always held a special place in the hearts of IWM. This estate may fly a bit under the radar, but its dedication, its almost scholarly approach to winemaking and, of course, its delicious wines make it a special, affordable Super-Tuscan luxury. Today, we're proud to offer you the polished, stylish 2010 Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore at the BEST PRICE in the States.

This offer is a bit unusual--we've previously presented the 2009 and the 2011, but this is our first offer of the 2010. Highly acclaimed, the 2010 Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore proved elusive, but we're very happy to have it at last. The '10 Bolgheri Rosso Superiore slides across the palate with a silky, sophisticated feel. This wine positively oozes elegance. Perfectly delineated red and blue fruit rest on a foundation of spice, cedar, licorice, and smoke in this finely wrought under-the-radar Super Tuscan. Crafted from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese, this wine derives from a single 25-acre vineyard whose unique terroir of stones, calcareous clay and ancient sea fossils transmits its Bolgheri locale in every sip.

Grattamacco, founded by Piermario Meletti Cavallari, who has since sold the estate to ColleMassari, sits at the end of a long, winding drive. It's a land with a very unusual microclimate, a windy plain 100m above sea level, where the estate gets 300 sunny days a year and a steady breeze. The sun and the wind work together to help their organically grown grapes--Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot and Vermentino--ripen without rot. It's an ideal site for growing ideal grapes.

Under the guidance of enologist Maurizio Castelli and winemaker Luca Maronna, the estate makes these deeply finessed, profoundly enjoyable wines, and they do it by working hard, playing with their wines' formulas, inventing technologies like their unique grape sorting table, and making the best Super Tuscans you've not heard enough about. The wines of Grattamacco are consistent IWM client favorites, as they are favorites among the staff. Grattamacco's wines always perform well above their price points, but this '10 Rosso Superiore bottling is extraordinary; it's a vintage to enjoy by the case.



Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso Superiore 2010*

(Italy, Toscana - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese)

$79.99 Regular Price

$69.99 Case Price/btl


*Pre-Arrival, Summer 2015



Perched at about 1,000 feet above sea level in the Alps, Donnas is the name of a small village that's located in the lower Valle d'Aosta, near the Piemonte border. Although ancient, viticulture and cultivation in Donnas is difficult, given the steep slope of the mountains, yet these steep slopes are full of centuries-old terraces retained by walls as high as thirteen feet, and since it's too steep to use machines, and harvest is all done by hand. These steep, rocky pitches not only provide great drainage for the vines, but they make the vines a struggle to produce beautiful fruit. The Donnas Vallee d'Aosta Rosso 2010 we present today at the BEST PRICE in the States comes from the Caves Cooperatives de Donnas, a collective of winemakers. Locals consider their wines to be the mountain version of the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, and the wine illustrates this comparison in its earthy, airy, pretty profile. Priced at less than $25, this might be your new go-to red.

Why Buy This Wine:

- Valle d'Aosta's rocky steep slopes not only provide great drainage for the vines, but they also force the vines to work hard to produce the berries; the locals proudly refer to these wines as "mountain Barolo."

- Mostly Nebbiolo that's kissed with Freisa and Neyret, this Rosso shows its northern Italian roots in its purity, suppleness and lithe lines.

- Aged for at least two years in 25 HL oak casks, the wine gives a beautiful nose full of violets and dried cherries followed with forest smoke; as it opens in the glass, coffee mixes with mineral like tones, showing the terroir of a wine carved out of the rocky Alps.

- Earthy, airy, alpine and pretty, this Rosso shows lots of cherries, berries and underbrush in its complex, energetic palate--it's very likely your new go-to red!

- IWM is proud to present this artisanal Alpine evocation of the great Nebbiolo grape at the BEST PRICE in the country; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.


Donnas 2010 Vallee d'Aosta Rosso

(Italy, Valle d'Aosta - Nebbiolo, Freisa, Neyret)
$24.99 Regular Price
$22.99 Case Price/btl


When former St. Louis businessman Donald L. Bryant bought his 13-acre estate overlooking Lake Hennessy in 1985, he was looking to make a home--not world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. However, this is exactly what he did. After ripping out the existing vines and replanting with Cabernet Sauvignon in the late '80s, Bryant Family Vineyards released its debut bottling with the 1992 vintage. It didn't take long for this Napa Valley winemaker to attain cult status. By the mid '90s, the Bryant Family wines were winning the hearts and minds of wine critics and wine connoisseurs across the globe, and since the inaugural vintage, Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignons have shown no sign of slowing down; they are collector classics that fetch high scores, high prices and high praise from their adoring fans. Today, IWM is proud to present the opulent, exuberant Bordeaux-style blend Bryant Family 2011 Bettina at the BEST PRICE in the country.

Why Buy This Wine:

- While the 2011 vintage in Napa Valley saw its challenges with chilliness and wet weather, the Bryant Family '11 Bettina illustrates that the greatness of a winemaker shows in making terrific wines in "off" vintages.

- Remarkably genial, velvety and lush, the '11 Bettina frames its pure red and black fruits with notes of mocha, licorice, fresh-cut herbs, underbrush and olive tapenade, creating a fascinating tension between its juicy fruit and brooding notes.

- Medium-bodied yet fleshy, the '11 Bettina pads its architectural lines with a silky mouth-feel, and while it's somewhat more reticent than other vintages, time in the glass or in the cellar will show its beauty.

- A proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this wines derives from grapes grown on winemaker David Abreu's exceptional vineyards, Madrona, Thorevilos, and Lucia Howell Mountain.

- IWM is pleased to present this collector classic at the BEST PRICE in the country on a trio of bottles; contact your portfolio manager to secure this Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blend.

Bryant Family 2011 Bettina
(United States, California - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot)
$749.00 Regular Price
$374.50 3-Pack Price/btl 

This offer will expire in 48 hours on April 25th at 5:00 pm EST.


At just 16, Justin Kowalsky was quite possibly one of the youngest wine enthusiasts when he started. Today, Justin, Exec. Vice President of Sales and Director of IWM Holding's Burgundy Portfolio, has been in the wine world almost 25 years.


Drinking Today: Domaine Chevrot 2010 Santenay 1er Cru Clos Rousseau
(France, Burgundy - PInot Noir)
$39.99 Regular Price
$36.79 Case Price/btl
For the Cellar: Domaine Chevrot 2010 Maranges 1er Cru Le Croix Moines
(France, Burgundy - PInot Noir)
$58.99 Regular Price
$54.27 Case Price/btl


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



Friday, April 24, 7-10 pm

A Tasting Dinner


Regular Ticket Price $795.00

Limited seating, subject to confirmation. 
Please call 212.473.2323 or email marketing@italianwinemerchants.comfor availability.


Hosted by IWM CEO & Founder: Sergio Esposito

When the "Gentleman of Montalcino," Franco Biondi Santi, passed away in April 2013, he left a legacy of building, maintaining, and protecting the work of his family: Il Greppo Brunello di Montalcino. On Friday, April 24th, Sergio Esposito, IWM's founder, will host a once-in-a-lifetime dinner featuring this legacy. Choosing a select seven phenomenal wines, Sergio will pour vintage Biondi-Santi Brunello Riservas from bottles that came directly from Il Greppo and were topped off by Franco himself. The unquestionable highlights are the 1955 and 1964 Biondi-Santi Brunello Riserva, wines that have often appeared in lists of the "Top 100 Wines of All Time" and wines that their makers believed to be among the finest expressions of Brunello. Along with these two bottles, this event will feature six other legendary Biondi-Santi Brunellos--1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1975. These wines show the transition from father, Tancredi, to son, Franco, and illustrate how Tancredi, one of the most influential winemakers of the twentieth century, shaped Franco, Il Greppo, Brunello di Montalcino, and the future of Italian winemaking. Dishes created by IWM Chef Mike Marcelli and his in-house staff will complement the wines with regional pairings, making this an evening you will never forget. Join Sergio, a close personal friend to Franco Biondi-Santi, in celebrating the vintage treasures of Il Greppo; it's a historic wine dinner that could only come from IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine. 

Featured Wines:
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1975
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1971
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1970
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1969
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1968
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1964
Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1955

Featured Menu:
Antipasti dello Chef
Chef's Assorted Antipasti

Tortelli Mugellani fatti a mano
Hand Made Pasta with Potato, Spring Pea Greens and Hazelnut 

Pici Senesi
Hand Rolled Pasta with Pork Shoulder, Wild Fennel and Castelmagno

Meat | Carne 
Quaglia ai funghetti 
Whole Roasted Quail with Roasted Wild Mushrooms

Bistecca alla fiorentina
Dry Aged Porterhouse served with Chef's Market Fresh sides

Dolci di Casa
Assorted Desserts 


Saturday, April 25, 1-3 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting




IWM Hosts:

Francesco Vigorito - Senior Portfolio Manager and IWM Aspen Director of Sales


From the top of the boot to the tip of its heel, Italy has more than 2,000 different indigenous grapes, the most of any country in the world (though Portugal may beg to differ). Join us as Senior Portfolio Manager and IWM Aspen Director of Sales Francesco Vigorito leads you through five of the most emblematic, delicious, and outrageous grapes: Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Aglianico, and Ribolla Gialla. No doubt you're already on first-name basis with Sangiovese, the grape behind Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, but we'll take the time to reacquaint you with this ancient grape, as well as help you get to know northern Italy's emblematic reds, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto; its great white, Ribolla Gialla; and southern Italy's Aglianico. Accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, this sit-down tasting offers the most delicious education in authentic wine that you can get outside of Italy, and it's available only at IWM, the world's leading authority in Italian wine.
Featured Wines:

Raffaele Palma Puntacroce 2011

Ferrando La Torrazza Erbaluce di Caluso 2012

Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella Ambrosan 2005

Raffaele Palma Montecorvo 2011

Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro 2007

COS Pithos 2013

Quinto Chionetti San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani 2010

Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo 2010

Cupano Brunello di Montalcino 2002

*Wine list may be subject to change.


Monday, April 27, 7-10 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $155.00


Sicilia's COS was established in 1980 by Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Pinuccia Strano, three friends so close that they took the first letters of their surnames to form the winery's title. While the venture began as fun, COS soon garnered great success, which is no surprise given the group's devotion to their vines. We'd like to invite you to join us as we host Giusto Occhipinti, founder and winemaker of Sicilian sensation COS, for a special five-course dinner featuring dishes created by IWM's own in-house chef, Mike Marcelli, and his kitchen staff. Sicilian wines are hot right now, and this intimate dinner will give you the opportunity to understand why. Giusto will offer insight into Sicilia's indigenous grapes, winemaking traditions, and COS's own style, as you enjoy delicious food and thrilling wines. It's an evening of great wine, delicious food and exciting conversation presented by IWM!

Featured Menu and Wine List

Assorted Antipasti


Coda di Rospo Arrosto
Roast Wild Monkfish with Citrus Salmoriglio 

Azienda Agricola COS, Rami 2013

Azienda Agricola COS, Pithos Bianco 2012 


Sagna Riccia con Coniglio e Fava
Sagna Ricci with Smoked Rabbit and Fava beans
Azienda Agricola COS, Nero di Lupo 2013
Azienda Agricola COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2012 


Fracchiata Abbruzzese
Braised Pork Cheek with Ceci Polenta and Anchovy
Azienda Agricola COS, Pithos 2013
Azienda Agricola COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Delle Fontane 2010 


Cutturidde d'agnello
Lamb Shank in Umido with Cipollini, Tomato and Pecorino Primo Sale

Azienda Agricola COS, Contrada 2008
Azienda Agricola COS, Maldafrica 2011



*Wine list may be subject to change. 


Saturday, May 2, 1-3 pm

A Walk-Around/Mini-Grand Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $79.00

Early Bird Special $65.00 (Expires April 29, 2015, 5pm EST)


It's a return of one of IWM's favorite tastings, the Mini-Grand, featuring wines from around the world. This mini grand tasting of global wines featureswines from our best-loved countries, including Italy, France and Spain. Join us and let IWM's team of sommeliers will fill your glass with wine and your mind with knowledge as you walk around sampling wines from some of the finest producers on the face of the planet. Complemented by meats and cheeses, and sweetened by preferential pricing on the featured wines, this tasting is a rare treat. Join us and travel the world of wine, without ever leaving glamorous New York City.


*Wine list to be announced. 


Saturday, May 9, 1-3 pm

A Sit-Down Tasting


Regular Ticket Price $135.00

Early Bird Special $115.00 (Expires May 4, 2015, 5pm EST)


While winemaking has long been considered a boy's game, women winemakers are challenging that notion, especially in Italy. From the Antinori daughters to Cinzia Merli, from Maria Teresa Mascarello to Silvia Imperato, from Angelo Gaja's daughter, Gaia, to Giuseppe Rinaldi's daughter Marta, to Josko Gravner's daughters Jana and Mateja, Italy is looking towards a new girl order in winemaking--and Italy's not alone in this revolution. In celebration of Mother's Day, IWM invites you to join us for a special wine tasting on Saturday, May 9 to celebrate the women who make wine. Led by IWM's knowledgeable sommeliers and accompanied by Chef Mike Marcelli's selection of antipasti, 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. You don't have to be a mother to enjoy it, but we'd love to meet yours!


*Wine list to be announced. 


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