The best by-the-glass in Colorado

Sometimes you’ve just got to jump up, go for the wine glory and settle for nothing less than the “wine brass ring.” You’ve got to spend money, expect Cadillac quality, and revel in the decadence of all things classy, perfect and not always on the cheap.

IMW Cellars in Aspen may be just the place.

IWM stands for Italian Wine Merchants, and has a sister business in New York, a boutique wine store specializing in Italian wines and launched by celebrity chef Mario Batali and his two partners, Joe Bastianich and Sergia Esposito. As Chris Deas, the Managing Director at IWM Cellars explains, “When the New York business began, people were attracted to it because it served Italian wines exclusively.

“Sergio was the visionary,” says Deas. “Mario and Joe are the restauranteurs. They built a demo kitchen in back at Italian Wine Merchants and it was unique, with a giant tasting room also in the back, much like a European wine merchant. They held special dinners there that could cost as much as $4,000 per head for an extraordinary wine dinner experience. It brought in collectors from around the country.”

IWM Cellars in Aspen echoes the flavor of the original New York establishment, but with a twist of technology. With a brick and mortar facility that promises to provide the best wine-by-the-glass experience in Aspen, IWM Cellars, with Deas’ help, has developed a Cellar Management Tool.

It’s a slick and detailed online wine tracking and management vehicle that analyzes, teaches, stores, catalogues and otherwise drills down into collectors’ wine cellars, leaving little guesswork on what’s down there, including maintaining and reporting a wine’s value, expiration date and when best to drink. “Collectors often have over 1,000 bottles and that collection can be difficult to manage,” says Deas. “And a lot of people make the mistake of not drinking wines on time or they drink them too early.

“IWM Cellars Wine Collectors Services’ tool offers drinking recommendations, ratings, and a varietal breakdown,” he adds. “And the application can be viewed online or on a Droid or an iPhone. An issue I’ve always had is that some other wine Web sites that chart or graph a collection can’t be viewed on the iPhone, which a lot of people have.”

But the online collectors’ services isn’t the only thing IWM Cellars offers its clientele; in fact, it’s not, perhaps, the heartbeat of the business. That would be the best by-the-glass wine tasting in the state. And these aren’t just any old wines. “We offer wine by the flight tastings,” says Deas, “which no one else is doing. People can try three to six wines in small pours. We offer artisanal wines – Italian, Spanish, Lebanese, and Slovenian, to name a few, and artisanal cheeses and meats.

“Our wine list is unique,” he says, “and we strive to have the best wine by the glass program in Aspen. It’s very popular. The project started a year ago. We work with the Little Nell Hotel. They host some tremendous wine talent in this market, with a high concentration of French/American clientele.”

I may not be French, but born in a place called “Iowa,” I’m pretty American. Be that as it may, when decadence and top-flight wine tasting is on mind next time I’m in Aspen, IWM Cellars is where you’ll find me. I’ll be the one holding the brass ring.

For further information email Chris Deas at IWM Cellars directly at

One Winning Wine Tasting:

6th Annual Denver International Wine Festival

The Denver International Wine Festival takes place from November 4 through the 6th and is an international celebration of wine, cuisine and travel. More than 400 wines will be presented by proprietors and winemakers from around the world and the festival will be held at The Mile High Station in Denver.

There will be educational seminars, samplings of gourmet foods, and the chance to meet and speak with travel experts from top international destinations. To get tickets or learn more, visit

Word o’ the Week

Unique Label

“Unique Label” refers to a specific combination of a particular wine and vintage. For example, 1999 Sassicaia and 2000 Sassicaia are each unique wines combined to create a third unique wine.

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