I founded IWM in 1999, aiming to bring the best Italian wine to the US, to educate people in how to understand and appreciate them, and to help my clients build a balanced collection. Those were interesting times. Many wine-lovers had yet to branch beyond California or France, and Italy was still a vastly uncharted territory for many people, filled with discoveries to be made and new grapes, producers and regions to feel impassioned about. I helped introduce people to Barolo, Barbaresco, even Super-Tuscan superstars like Sassicaia, and I used wines like Gaja's cru trio or Antinori's Guado al Tasso to build bridges to stranger, harder to comprehend Italian wines like Gravner's amber gems, Paolo Bea's Umbrian beauties, or Mastroberardino's majestic Taurasi.
Wine discovery is always a journey from the known to the unknown, and in lots of ways, the state of Spanish wines reminds me of that time when I opened IWM's doors. Some Spanish wines are well known to collectors, but others wait in the shadows for discovery. Today, I'm very proud to offer one of those well-known wines, the new 2017 release of Vega-Sicilia Único Reserva Especial. In making this wine, Vega-Sicilia honors the Spanish winemaking tradition of blending a trio of vintages to create a balanced, vibrant, almost ageless wine. It's really hard to get Vega-Sicilia Único Reserva Especial. The estate makes only 1,500 cases of it in any given release. Not much comes to the US. And what does make it here gets snapped up by people who love it. I'm honored to be able to bring this wine to you, my clients.
When I think about artisanal winemakers who toil in relative obscurity, who care more about making wine than they do about making money, who are media shy to the point of pain, I think first of Enzo Pontoni, the owner-winemaker of Miani. This guy is like a seriously rural Vermont farmer, so real and so disinterested in fame. He doesn't promote. He doesn't talk. He just works his vines in Friuli and makes some of the best wines in Italy. Today's offer has 23 different Miani wines, both red and white. They're incredibly hard to find, and you who love Miani will want to jump on them.
Finally, there's one singular bottle of vintage Fontodi Vin Santo--this is the real deal, like drinking sweet Tuscan sunshine!