Gaja's Tremendous '14 Barbaresco Debuti, Bea's Beautiful Sagrantino, and Valdicava "Baby Brunello"

September 21, 2017
A Note from Sergio

When Angelo Gaja took the helm of his father's estate about fifty years ago, he rebelled against traditional Langhe winemaking. Gaja soon became known for his outrageous use of modern protocol, French barriques, and single-vineyard bottlings, as well as his planting of Cabernet Sauvignon and, eventually, his choice to add Barbera and declassify his Barbaresco and Barolo. These radical departures from Langhe winemaking made ardent fans--and they also made passionate detractors. It's fair to say that Gaja has long stood as the poster boy for change in the very staid, very traditional realm of Langhe winemaking. But things are not always as simple as they seem.

Throughout all those changes Angelo stayed true to tradition in making one specific wine: a classic, conventional and thoroughly historical Barbaresco. A blend of multiple vineyards aged in some big botti, this Barbaresco remained a wine that Angelo's forbears would instantly recognize. In 2013, the Gaja estate, now increasingly in the hands of Angelo's daughters, especially Gaia Gaja, removed the Barbera constituent from the estate's trio of Barbaresco wines, bringing them back into the fold of traditional Barbaresco. But it's right to remember that Gaja's cuvée Barbaresco is a beacon for the genre, and today's debut of the 2014 Gaja Barbaresco shines very, very bright.

I'm very proud to offer Gaja's latest Barbaresco release, not only because it's a tremendous wine but also because it's a tremendous wine from a very challenging year. 2014 threw all kinds of weather at Angelo and Gaia, and this wine practically gleams with purity and elegance--you do not want to miss it. I'm framing this new release with new allocations of IWM client favorites: magnums of Paulo Bea's brooding, ageless 2008 Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro and Valdicava's high performing 2014 Rosso di Montalcino. Aside from being intense, beautifully made Italian wines, each of these three wines shows what great winemakers can do with very difficult vintages. Open a bottle for you and your friends and toast to human perseverance, for out of adversity comes unexpected beauty, power and grace!


Today's Featured Sections Include:

1. Spotlight on Excellence:
New Gaja 2014 Barbaresco Release!
2. Only At IWM:
Mags of Magnificent Paolo Bea Sagrantino
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Valdicava's Lovely "Baby Brunello"
4. Wine Events: Upcoming September Wine Tasting Events
My Best,

Sergio Esposito

We think of Angelo Gaja as a trendsetter. His early innovations began with the 1961 vintage and included the choice to bottle only estate-grown wines, the reduction of crop size, shortened pruning of Nebbiolo vines, and decreased fermentation periods; 1967 saw Gaja's bottling of single-vineyard Barbarescos with his debut of Sorì San Lorenzo; and the 1975 vintage marked his inaugural use of small French oak barrels. Gaja's restless work to market his wines to the world's elite was groundbreaking and very successful. Still very busy in the vineyard, Gaja looks toward retirement, and he has trained his children to be as restless, innovative and mindful as he.

In 2013, the Gaja estate made another historic change: it dropped the Barbera component in its famed trio of Sorì San Lorenzo, Sorì Tildìn, and Costa Russi, allowing for these wines to be labeled as Barbarescos. However recent this change, it's not a radical departure because Gaja had never turned his back on traditional, mono-varietal Barbaresco. While Gaja's cuvée Barbaresco has long taken a secondary status to the estate's collectable crus, it's nonetheless a titan in the genre, a pure and transparent wine that evokes its Langhe hills, history and terroir. Today, we're very proud to debut the 2014 Barbaresco from Gaja, a fascinating vintage of this important wine.

2014 wasn't easy on the Gaja team, which is led by Gaia Gaja with aid from her father. The winter was extremely warm, so Gaia, Angelo, and their staff began planning for an early budbreak, a hot summer and an early harvest. But spring kicked off cool and wet, and cooler-than-normal temperatures prevailed throughout the summer and into fall. Harvest season, however late, saw a heat spike and a slightly reduced yield of perfectly ripe, thick-skinned and balanced grapes. The team felt satisfied that all their hard work in their Barbaresco vineyards had repaid them with ideal raw materials for a surprisingly great wine.

Ruby red and aromatic, Gaja's '14 Barbaresco frames its juicy red and blue fruits with notes of violet petals, tarry earth, licorice, warm baking spices, cigar wrapper and a touch of crushed river rocks. This wine shows firm tannins that cling to the cheeks, almost electric acidity, and copious dry extract, all matched by a sweet inner perfume. You'll want to drink this round, perfumed wine upon release, but its fine structure suggests that your patience will reward you with an ethereal, delicate and deceptively powerful Barbaresco. Gaja made only 1,500 cases of its outstanding cuvée Barbaresco in 2014, and we're certain to sell through this debut offer--contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

Gaja 2014 Barbaresco*
(Italy, Piemonte - Nebbiolo)
$239.00 Regular Price
$219.00 Half-Case Price/btl

*Pre-Arrival, Winter

Sagrantino, Umbria's emblematic grape, has the distinction of being one of the most tannic grapes in the world. Interestingly, it also sports one of the highest quantities of phenolic compounds, the chemical compounds that occur in grapes that give wine its taste, color and even its mouth-feel. What this combination of qualities means is that Sagrantino wines potentially could age forever--but this combination also means that a Sagrantino wine sometimes can come over like a great, burly brute, unless, of course, that wine comes from the hands of Paolo Bea, IWM's favorite Umbrian producer. With roots in Umbria for 400 years, Bea's winemaking is inextricable from the land itself, and Sagrantino serves as the backbone to many of Bea's beauties. Today, we're delighted to showcase Sagrantino in the estate's soaring 2008 Sagrantino Pagliaro the estate's flagship wine, presented in magnum at the BEST PRICE in the country.

Why Buy This Wine:

- 2008 offered central Italy a long, cool growing season, but while difficult for early-ripening grape varietals like Merlot, this weather was ideal for the hardy, thick-skinned Sagrantino, giving the tannic grape time to reach perfect ripeness.

- Hand crafted from organically grown Sagrantino grapes, Bea's cru Montefalco Sagrantino Secco Pagliaro unites wildness with elegance, marries serious structure with sophistication, and joins terroir and style in one unique bottling.

- Classic brambly blue and black fruits lay on a dark foundation of smoke, warm saddle leather, cigar wrapper, incense and spice in this spellbinding wine.

- Bea's '08 Montefalco Pagliaro demonstrates the challenges of this chilly vintage in its linear, almost architectural structure and its muscular, age-worthy tannins.

- While this wine will need some time in the cellar before true approachability, it's going to be nearly ageless as time melds its kaleidoscopic flavor palate with its nervy acidity and chewy tannins.

- Bea crafted fewer than 1,500 cases of its flagship Pagliaro in 2008, and bottled only a fraction in magnum; contact your portfolio manager to secure yours.

Paolo Bea 2008 Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro (1.5L)
(Italy, Umbria - Sagrantino)
$319.00 Regular Price
$299.00 3-Pack Price/btl

Valdicava's singular 2014 Rosso di Montalcino embodies the term "baby Brunello." IWM's portfolio managers like this recent Valdicava release so much they're calling it the best Valdicava Rosso yet! Valdicava's Vincenzo Abbruzzese is an exacting, painstaking producer, who meticulously manages his estate in Montosoli, the coldest part of the Brunello zone. Vinenzo's care makes sure that each grape will enjoy the perfect amount of sun while avoiding rot and disease, growing all of his vines organically and using indigenous plants as groundcover. Vincenzo shows a rare understanding of his wines, and this has brought him accolades from wine critics and cognoscenti alike. Vincenzo opted against crafting any of his textured, aromatic Brunello in 2014, putting all his grapes into a unique Rosso di Montalcino. A Brunello-like wine at a fraction of the cost, this bottle is a win for Brunello fans, and it's an ideal introduction to the Valdicava house style!

Why Buy This Wine:

- In 2014 Valdicava chose to make only its Rosso di Montalcino, forgoing any Brunello; moreover, this wine almost exactly followed Brunello aging protocol, being bottled after just one year in barrel, as opposed to Brunello's longer period of aging.

- The resulting wine is a tour de force Rosso di Montalcino bottling from winemaker Vincenzo Abbruzzese, who made the most out of the challenging 2014 vintage in this deeply drinkable release.

- Supple red fruits dance on a bed of crushed herbs, Montalcino earth, eucalyptus, flower petals, spice and licorice in this pretty, ready-to-drink wine.

- Velvety yet kinetic with energy, this wine builds to a lingering, bright finish; it's an ideal dinner companion!

- In 2014, Valdicava's Rosso di Montalcino is a true "baby Brunello," yet it allows Sangiovese Grosso enthusiasts to experience their favorite grape immediately upon the wine's release.

- Contact your portfolio manager to secure your Valdicava '14 Rosso di Montalcino, the only release from the estate in this vintage, offered at special, time-sensitive pricing.

Valdicava 2014 Rosso di Montalcino
(Italy, Toscana - Sangiovese Grosso)
$44.99 Regular Price
$41.39 Case Price/btl
$39.59 2-Cases Price/btl

This offer will expire in 48 hours on September 23rd at 11:59pm EST.


Save on Private Events in one of our Premier Spaces this September!

Book one of these dates in September and Save 20% on your event.

Dates Available

Studio del Gusto: 9/22, 9/23, 9/25, 9/28, 9/29
Vintage Tasting Room: 9/23, 9/26, 9/28, 9/29
Loft del Gusto: please inquire.

3 Unique Private Spaces:
Rustic yet elegant, our Studio del Gusto and Whole Store is ideal for larger gatherings;
our sleek Loft del Gusto space is ideal for smaller groups; and our Vintage Tasting Room
offers intimate dining or tasting experiences for a select few.

The end of the summer brings a bittersweet feel, but IWM can help make the swing into fall spectacular by hosting your end-of-the-summer event. Whether you want to throw a last-minute party for friends, enjoy a special family dinner, or host a business celebration that will be memorable and delicious, IWM will make your dream a reality-and we're offering special menu pricing for a limited time! Our handcrafted seasonal and regional dishes, our inviting atmosphere, our carefully selected wines, and our professional staff are sure to make your event special and your guests very happy.

IWM's event spaces have some select dates open between September 11 and September 25, 2017, and we'd like to offer you 20% off all menu packages, giving you special pricing on your chosen date. Events must be booked in advance and a deposit is required.

Together with IWM, your memorable, joyous event will celebrate both your guests and your excellent taste!
We look forward to celebrating your passion for wine, for food and for the people who are important to you.

*This offer does not apply to Wine Pairings. Offer subject to availability.

Information & Booking: please contact our Events Team by email at events@italianwinemerchants.com or by phone at 212-473-2323 ext. 159.

Rossi Toscani

Saturday, September 23 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $129.00
Early Bird Price: $109.00/ticket (Expires: Friday, September 22, 12:00pm EST.)

IWM Host: Michael Adler

Most Americans fall in love with Toscana first--it's the site of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Super-Tuscan wines, after all! Let a knowledgeable IWM sommelier take you on a tour of Toscana, and get an insider's point of view as you explore Tuscan's many splendored reds. Learn your Sangiovese Grosso from your Sangiovese, come to understand why Toscana is so hospitable to "international" grapes, and learn what makes Super Tuscans so special, all while tasting a range of Rossi Toscani. From lithe light reds to burly big reds, this tasting, accompanied by regional meats and cheeses, will add to your wine education, deepen your passion for Italian wines, and let you experience Toscana without the plane fare. It's the next best thing to seeing Michelangelo's David in person!

Featured Wines:

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2014
Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Del Sorbo 2014
Cerbaiona Rosso IGT 2012
Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino 2012
Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso 2013
Le Macchiole Scrio 2012
Terriccio Lupicaia 2007
Terriccio Castello del Terriccio 2007

*Wines may be subject to change.

Rossi Piemontesi

Saturday, September 30 | 1:00-3:00 pm | New York, NY
A Sit-Down Tasting

Ticket Price: $129.00
Early Bird Price: $109.00/ticket (Expires: Tuesday, September 26)

IWM Host: Michael Adler

Nebbiolo makes two of Italy's most collectable, longest-aging wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, and Nebbiolo's home is the rolling hills of Piemonte. But while American wine fans love their Nebbiolo, often their appreciation for Rossi Piemontesi stops there--yet there's so much more to love! Join IWM's own Michael Adler as he pours a range of reds from Piemonte, the beloved northern Italian winemaking region. Taste through Barbera, Dolcetto, Super-Piemontese blends and, of course, some Nebbiolo gems at this special sit-down event that's accompanied by regional meats and cheeses. Get to know the terroir, the traditions and the many tastes of Piemonte a little better, all while enjoying a spectrum of red wines. It's an ideal tasting event to prepare for autumnal fare and winter's cold-weather hearty meals!

*Wines to be announced.

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

IWM Gift Cards