Italian Wine Merchants (IWM) is a wine shop that, not surprisingly, specializes in Italian wines. It’s located at 108 East 16th Street across from Union Square Park in Manhattan.
Unusual for a wine store, they have a small room and a dedicated kitchen in the back of the shop that they use as a venue where they host wine dinners and wine tastings.
On the weekend after Thanksgiving Day they hosted their Black Friday mini grand tasting. On this Saturday afternoon, it was a casual walk-around tasting of 32 Italian wines. I’ve been to a few tastings at this venue and I know they pour quality juice. It was a mostly a red wine list with a couple of sparking wines, a rosé and a handful of whites thrown in. They poured a good representation of Italian wines from the North to the South of the boot.
As usual they put out a nice spread of food with good bread and an excellent selection of charcuterie. The kitchen cooked up a couple of tasty pasta dishes as well.
It’s a popular event and the crowd became a little thick at times but I was able to sample as many wines as I wanted, everyone was in a festive mood. My favorites of the afternoon were a couple of Nebbiolo based wines, the 2015 Luigi GiordanoBarbaresco Asili and the 2015 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia.
NV Cima da Conegliano Prosecco Extra Dry
2011 Castello Bonomi Franciacorta Brut Cru Perdu
2018 Cornarea Roero Arneis
2015 Drago Collio Friulano
2018 De Concilus Falanghia
2018 Masut da Rive Maurus Chardonnay
2015 Per Luna Cerasuolo
2016 Hilberg-Pasquero Vareij
2016 Hilberg-Pasquero 29.5 Per Alessandra Barbera d’Alba
2016 San Giuliano Barbera Fiore di Marcorino
2015 San Giuliano Barbaresco
2017 Scarzello Langhe Nebbiolo
2013 Scarzello Barolo
2015 Luigi Giordano Barbaresco Asili
2015 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia
2013 Gaja Costa Russi
2017 Masut da Rive Maurus Pinot Noir
2018 Per Linda Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
2017 Schiena Vini Salento Enneoro Negroamaro
2017 Schiena Vini Impero Primitivo di Manduria
2017 De Conciliis Donnaluna Anglianico
2010 De Conciliis Naima
2017 Begali Valpolicella Classico
2012 Nicolis Amarone dell Valpolicella Classico
2008 Giuseppe Quintarelli Rosso del Bepi
2014 La Corsa Settefinestre
2014 La Corsa Teroldego
2015 Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva
2017 Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino
2016 Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma
2011 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino
2012 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Matter of Taste is a global series of fine wine tastings hosted by wine critic Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate journal. The 2019 tour took them to Napa, Taipei and Zurich with the final Grand Tasting in New York City on Saturday, November 23rd.
The event was held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, a 1920’s inspired Art Deco, movie palace themed event space located at 141 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.
At the Grand Tasting over 250 international wines with scores of 93+ from the Wine Advocate were poured in addition to several Master classes.
Along with the Wine Spectator’s Wine Experience, the Matter of Taste Grand Tasting is one of the premier wine tasting events available to the consumer. There were an amazing amount of high end wines from around the world in the room to sample. As much as I would loved to have tried them all that’s just not possible so I did what I usually do in these situations and picked a category to focus on. Bordeaux and Burgundy were lightly represented so I directed my attention to Napa Valley Cabernet, specifically Cabernet from labels I wasn’t familiar with. Many of the wineries with the unfamiliar labels I sampled are extremely small production wineries, in most instances only a handful to a few hundred cases produced a year. There were so many Napa Valley wineries on hand that after several hours I did not get to all of them. It was an excellent tasting.
Some of what I sampled:
2016 Addax Cabernet Sauvignon “Tench Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Cloudy, dark red with a purple rim with dusty, chocolate fruit, nice balance.
2017 Alejandro Bulgeroni Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, violets and crushed black fruit on the nose, concentrated dusty dark fruit with a firm but long finish.
2017 Alejandro Bulgeroni Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology “Dr. Crane Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Opaque black, mineral and crushed black fruit on the nose, thick, chewy black fruit with a nice grip at the end.
2014 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, fresh herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with big tannins at the end.
2016 B Cellers Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, roast nuts on the nose, juicy and tight with big tannins.
2016 Bevan Proprietary Red “Double E Tench Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, crushed red fruit and tobacco on the nose, tight with dusty tannis.
2016 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit and licorice on the nose, chunky, dusty with mint notes on the crisp tannins.
2016 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, dark chocolate on the nose with chewy and chunky black fruit.
2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, dark chocolate on the nose with a dusty, dark chocolate finish on the firm tannins.
2015 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, closed nose of dusty fruit with chewy, dark fruit, long finish.
2014 Hertelendy Signature Mountain Blend (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, closed nose of black cherry and oak, chewy red fruit with silky, lip smacking tannins at the end.
2016 Lail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “J. Daniels Cuvée” (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, dried herbs on the nose, tight and concentrated cigar box fruit, firm, silky finish.
2015 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Sonoma) Dark red, purple rim, crushed red fruit and green herbs on the nose, juicy, dusty fruit with silky tannins at the end.
2016 Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, dried leaf and black pepper on the nose with red cherry, tight fruit.
2016 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) Dark black in color, crushed black cherry on the nose with juicy black fruit and firm tannins.
2016 Mt. Brave Merlot Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) Dark purple, pickle juice on the nose, tight with big tannins.
2014 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt. (Napa Valley) Dark red to black with a purple rim, sour pickle on the nose, juicy with firm tannins.
2010 Shadowbox Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Cloudy dark brick, tar and graphite on the nose, chunky with dried leaf and leather fruit, nice balance.
2012 Signorello Estate Proprietary Red “Padrone” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red to black, crushed dusty red fruit on the nose, tight dark chocolate fruit with crisp acids.
2016 Signorello Estate Proprietary Red “Padrone” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, purple rim, toasty nose, concentrated with gun metal notes on the fruit.
2012 Sloan Estate Asterisk (Napa Valley) Decanted. Opaque dark red, brick rim, cooked fruit and black cherry on the nose, dusty black fruit, good balance and a long finish.
2015 Sloan Estate Proprietary Red (Napa Valley) Opaque black, brick rim, bell pepper and rosemary notes on the nose, chewy dark chocolate fruit, long finish.
2017 Tor Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, dusty forest floor notes on the nose, juicy, concentrated black fruit, firm finish.
2017 Tor Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, black plums on the nose, thick, juicy with dried herb notes on the fruit ending with lip smacking tannins.
2015 Vangone Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, black plum on the nose, chewy, concentrated fruit with dark leather notes, good balance.
2016 Vangone Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, toasty roast nuts on the nose, chunky, with a firm grip on the long finish.
2014 Vega Sicilia “Valbuena” (Castilla Leon) Dark red, biscotti notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the moderate finish.
2009 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Castilla Leon) Dark brick, fresh herbs on the nose, green herbs on the tight finish with big tannins.
2015 Penfolds “Grange” (Barossa) Opaque black, pretty perfume of earth and crushed black fruit, concentrated, tight fruit, dusty finish with a nice grip.
2006 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Brick in color, plum and tar on the nose, very tight with dried leaf notes on the finish.
Inside Barbaresco: A Spotlight On Produttori del Barbaresco
I was able to attend this seminar of a vertical tasting of the wines from Produttori del Barbaresco. The Produtori is a cooperative of 50 members and small growers in the Barbaresco zone of Piedmont, Italy. It’s one of the better consortium and are know for making quality wines. They are also know for bottling wines from several of the Cru vineyards in Barbaresco so it’s possible to have a horizontal tasting of Barbaresco from different vineyards. On this day I wasn’t feeling it. It might be that I had spent an hour before the seminar drinking fruit forward California Cabernet but most of the wines I sampled here had thin fruit and high acids. The only one that was appreciable was the oldest wine, the 1982 Rabaja. Still, a vertical tasting is always exciting.
The inaugural La Tablée New York City Rhone wine event was held on January 30-February 2nd.
It was run by the same team that produced the high-end French wine events of La Paulée and La Fête du Champagne. The series of events consisted of wine dinners, seminars and a tasting. I attended the tasting on Saturday February 2nd which was held at 26 Bridge, an event venue located at 26 Bridge Street in the trendy cobblestoned streets of DUMBO Brooklyn.
The term La Tablée originates in the village of Ampuis in Cote-Rôtie and denotes “the meal celebrating the end of the harvest (similar to Burgundy’s La Paulée), bringing to mind the colloquial French phrase, a table, the call given to family and friends to sit and enjoy a convivial meal around the table.”
The tasting was an opportunity to preview nearly 100 wines from the excellent 2016 vintage from 25 estates in the northern and southern Rhone. Other vintages were poured as well.
Some of what I sampled:
2016 Cote-Rotie “Fongeant”: Medium purple, cooked fruit notes on the nose with juicy black fruit and moderate tannins and acids.
2016 Cote-Rotie “Carmina”: 100% Syrah. Light purple, roasted dried herbs on the nose, chunky with sweet dark cherry fruit.
2013 Saint-Joseph “Tilde”: In magnum, dark red, roasted meat on the nose, juicy black fruit with silky, firm tannins on the long finish.
2016 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium purple with a funky, dirty nose and juicy, chewy and firm fruit.
2007 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium brick with an amber rim, nice perfume of tar and violets, tight and tannic.
2016 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Medium purple, toasty green herbs on the nose, juicy, toasty fruit nicely balanced.
2007 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Cloudy dark brick with a perfume of crushed black fruit, mint and tar, juicy herb notes on the fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.
2016 Cote-Rotie “La Landonne”: Medium purple, roast meat and red fruit on the nose, bright red fruit with firm, silky tannins.
2003 Cote-Rotie “Cuvee Classique”: Medium brick, pretty perfume of sweet red fruit, bright red fruit and licorice notes with firm acids.
2016 Crozes-Hermitage “La Tout”: 100% Marsanne, single vineyard. Light gold, lemon, petroleum on the nose with lemon custard notes on the tight fruit.
2014 Cote-Rotie “Couteaux de Bassenon”: Light purple, roasted meat on the nose, light with bright red fruit, nice balance.
Paul Jaboulet Ainé
2016 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose with dusty bright black fruit and a firm finish.
2013 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium brick with a sweet nose of dried leaf and mint, sweet red fruit and red licorice on the nicely balanced finish.
Chateau de Beaucastel
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne “Vielles Vignes”: Light gold with tropical fruit notes on the nose and fruit, moderate acids.
2007 Chateauneuf du Pape: Medium brick in color, sweet dried leaf on the nose, juicy black licorice on the balanced fruit, long finish.
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Piedlong”: 100% 70yr old Grenache vines. Light red, crushed red fruit and nuts on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieux Telegraphe”: Medium brick, perfume of mint and toast, chewy fruit with a roast coffee on the long and balanced finish.
Domaine de Crista
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Medium purple, notes of earth and strawberry on the nose, chunky and earthy, good balance.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Renaissance”: Dark brick, perfume of sweet earth, chewy red fruit followed by dusty and earthy tannins.
Domaine La Barroche
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy ending with tight, firm tannins.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Cloudy medium brick, perfume of mint, tree bark, chunky fruit with mint notes on the finish.
Domaine Saint Préfert
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Dark purple, tree bark and crushed black fruit on the nose, dark chewy fruit ending with mint notes on the silky tannins.
2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Light brick, roast meat on the nose, juicy red fruit with earth notes on the balanced finish.
Domaine de Beaurenard
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Boisrenard”: Cloudy medium purple, cooked red fruit on the nose, dusty fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.
2001 Chateauneuf du Pape: Black with a brick rim, perfume of crushed red fruit and mint with sweet red fruit and a balanced, long finish.
Domaine de la Janasse
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Medium cloudy purple, crushed red berries on the nose, big juicy red fruit, red licorice on the firm finish.
1999 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Magnum. Light brick, mint and dried leaf on the nose, chunky red licorice fruit, firm and balanced.
La Vieux Donjon
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear medium purple, crushed blueberry on the nose, juicy red fruit with a good grip.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear brick, sweet roast meat on the nose, sweet dark fruit with a good grip on the long finish.
Chateau de Saint Cosme
2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, damp earth on the nose, juicy, concentrated black fruit with coffee notes on the balanced finish.
2010 Gigondas: Dark red with an amber rim, chunky and chewy dark fruit, tight, silky tannin on the firm finish.
2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, roast meat and black licorice on the nose, concentrated and dusty fruit, firm balanced finish.
2005 Cornas “Vieilles Vignes”: 100% Syrah. Medium brick, petroleum notes on the nose, chunky fruit with mint and dried leaf, nice balance.
Domaine Pierre Usseglio
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Opaque medium purple, green herbs and toast on the nose, spicy red fruit, firm and balanced.
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Light brick, stewed plums on the nose, chewy red leather fruit, nice balance on the long finish.
The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization based in Bordeaux, France that promotes the wines of its 133 member chateaux.
Every year they host a world tour showcasing the current vintage to be released, stopping in various cities in Europe and Asia with the tour arriving in North America on January 18-26.
In New York City on Monday afternoon January 21st, they held a tasting for members of the trade and a consumer event later that evening. Both events were held at the Cipriani Midtown event space located at 110 East 42nd street in heart of Manhattan, just down the street from the iconic Chrysler building. A former bank, the event space is a huge, pink marbled cathedral-like room.
The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was a Jekyll and Hyde vintage. The first half of the year was very rainy which made the winemakers concerned that the vintage would be a bust, but the second half of the year turned out to be bone dry.
For the most part, I thought the wines had good fruit and structure with firm tannins and manageable acids. Most of the wines were still wound tight but I think will age well. I didn’t think they had the immediate lushness of the 2015’s where I was getting a lot of California style flavor profiles, nor were they as hard-edged as the 2014 vintage. Overall some nice wines to be drunk in the future.
Chateau Beychevelle: Clear medium purple with a closed nose of crushed red berries and milk chocolate, tight with silky, firm tannins.
Chateau Talbot:Dark purple, roasted meat and sour fruit on the nose, juicy dark fruit with a firm, balanced long finish.
Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, tree bark and roast meat on the nose, tight silky fruit, moderate firm finish.
Chateau Leoville Barton:Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, chunky, sweet cherry fruit with firm tannins.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre:Medium red, toasty sweet fruit on the nose, gritty tannins on the dark fruit ending with big tannins.
Chateau Branaire Ducru: Medium red, toasty crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and green herbs on the finish.
Chateau de Pez: Medium red with a perfume of sweet red fruit, tight red fruit.
Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, floral, green herbs on the nose, dusty dark chocolate and slate on the firm fruit.
Chateau Clerc Milon:Medium red, toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit with crisp acidity.
Chateau Lynch Bages: Dark red, tar, violets and green herbs on the nose, tight with mouth puckering tannins.
Chateau Pichon Baron: Medium red, crushed dark fruit and violet on the nose, light, juicy fruit with firm tannins and acids.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de Lalande: Clear, dark red, roast meat notes on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with a moderate finish.
Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere: Dark purple, tar and leather on the nose, chewy, meaty dark fruit, long finish on the balanced finish.
Clos Fourtet:Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, sweet red fruit with firm , tongue coating tannins.
Chateau Grand Mayne: Opaque medium red, dark chocolate and cigarette smoke on the nose, tight and tannic.
Chateau Pavie Macquin:Medium clear purple, tar and violets on the nose, dusty, red cherry fruit, moderate to long finish with moderate tannins and acids.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle: Medium to light red in color with a perfume of tar, tight, silky red fruit with crisp acidity at the end.
Chateau Clinet: Medium purple with a pretty perfume of violets and tar, juicy dark red fruit with moderate tannins and acids on the long finish. Drinkable.
Chateau Gazin: Clear medium purple, toast notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the firm finish, tight.
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Medium red, cooked berries on the nose, leather notes on the fruit, firm and nicely balanced.
Chateau La Pointe: Medium red, strawberry and graphite on the nose, toasty sweet fruit on the firm finish.
Chateau Brane-Cantenac:Clear medium red, tree bark on the nose, dark chocolate and gritty tannins on the fruit.
Chateau Giscours: Medium red, sweet red fruit on the nose with tight sweet fruit and a firm finish.
Chateau Lascombes: Opaque dark red with a perfume of sweet cherry, tar and mint, chewy dark fruit and silky tannins with moderate acids.
Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red with green herbs and red cherry on the nose, juicy followed by big tannins and moderate acid.
Chateau Dauzac:Clear medium red, pixie stick notes on the nose, juicy red fruit ending tart.
Domaine de Chevalier: Opaque medium red, some barnyard notes on the nose with chunky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere:Medium opaque red, sweet black fruit on the nose with silky black, ends tart, moderate tannins and acids.
Moulis En Medoc
Chateau Maucaillou: Medium red with a perfume of turned earth, chunky and rustic, with the fruit dropping a bit but still nice balance.
Chateau La Lagune: Medium red with dark chocolate on the nose, juicy bright red fruit ends with tart notes.
The end of the year usually brings a lull to the wine/cocktail tasting events in the city, but there is still an event or two around town to attend.
Pierre Loti is a Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar with locations in Chelsea and Union Square in Manhattan. On Sundays they usually host some sort of wine tasting.
On Sunday, December16th they hosted a holiday wine tour of Spain at their Union Square location located at 53 Irving Place. It was a sit down tasting of ten interesting Spanish wines with a nice selection from sparkling to dessert. It was a cozy room filled with people there to taste some wine and to listen to commentary from Spanish winemaker April Cullom and resident wine guy, Robin Kelley O’Connor.
It was a nice way to spend a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon.
Le Reboule is the traditional end of harvest celebration in France’s Rhone Valley. It’s when everyone involved the wine process celebrate another successful vintage with wine, food and fun.
Sommiliers Dustin Wilson and Thomas Paustuszak brought the tradition of Reboule duRhone to New York City on November 17th with a weekend of wine dinners and tastings with some of the best producers of the Northern Rhone who were on hand to pour their wines. The events raise money in which 100% go to the No Kid Hungry charity.
Most of the wines that were poured were from the excellent 2016 vintage. With plenty of sun and a long growing season, the whites had plenty of tropical/ melon/honey/ peach notes on the fruit. Anyone who drinks California whites would love them. With the reds I got plenty of the classic roast meat notes on the nose though at this point they’re still wound a little tight.
I attended the Northern Rhone tasting on Saturday afternoon which was held at the venue located on 180 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan next to the South Street Seaport.
2012 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc “Blanche” Medium gold, big nose of honey, tropical fruit, juicy, honeyed fruit followed with a great grip, delicious.
2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Roussanne Medium gold, honey, green herbs on the nose, tight with slate notes on the balanced finish.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Chery” Light gold, honey nose, ripe peaches on the fruit, good balance.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Condrieu “Clos Chanson” Light gold, sweet honeydew on the nose, tight honeydew melon fruit.
2017 Julien Cecillon Saint Peray Light gold, crushed peaches on the nose, juicy with some toast notes on the long finish, some
2017 Aurelien Chatagnier Condrieu Very light gold, crushed apricot on the nose, juicy, peachy, nice finish. heat.
2015 Domaine Graillot Crozes-Hermtage “La Guiraude” Black, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, chunky black fruit, nice balance
2015 Maison Tardieu-Laurent Cornas “Coteaux” Medium red, crushed black fruit and rosemary on the nose, tight with roasted meat notes on the fruit.
2016 Domaine Andre Perret Saint Joseph “Les Grisieres” Medium purple, roast meat notes on the nose, silky roasted nuts on the fruit, firm, balanced finish.
2016 Jean-Baptise Souillard Saint-Joseph “Janoune” Opaque medium purple, roasted meat on the nose, juicy red fruit, balanced.
2016 Aurelien Chatagnier Syrah “Cret Louison” 100% Syrah, Dark purple, barnyard notes on the nose, nice silky fruit, balanced.
2016 Domaine Clape Cornas “Renaissance” Dark purple to black, roast bacon and green herbs on the nose, concentrated, silky fruit, moderate balance.
2016 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, silky red fruit with moderate tannins.
2016 Domaine Monier Perreot Saint-Joseph “Chatelet” Dark purple, roast meat on the nose, silky fruit with some nice barnyard notes on the finish with a long finish.
2016 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas “Granit 60” Opaque dark purple, crushed dark nose, juicy firm tannins with roast nuts on the finish.
2016 Julien Cecillon Crozes-Hermitage “Les Marguerites” Light purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy turns tight on the long finish.