Owner of Metro Wines

New Work from The West Coast

Nationally recognized and acclaimed artist, Larry Caveney,

brings us our new exhibition from his studio in San Diego.

Semi Public A Space for Contemporary Art

presents:

"New Work from The West Coast."

Join us to meet the artist and for a wine tasting. Follow us (LIKE us!!) on FB for the pour!

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 28th from 5 to 8pm @MetroWines. 

This collection of work is based on principles of using familiar imagery (codified) and cracking it out to reveal other truths within an analogue approach to color.  After painting non-objective abstract, I now enjoy sharing those images that folks recognize and perhaps have some history with.  I have been making a painting a day for 14 months. I don’t share processes in my work, and I like it that way.  I share my work on facebook.  As soon as I finish painting I post it onto facebook for potential sales.  As a performance artist as well; I enjoy the immediacy of audience’s response; the Facebook connections satisfies me in this manner.

 
 
Larry Caveney

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3021 Hits

Tormaresca, Puglia, Neprica, 2010

First, Puglia? Class is in session!

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 Located in the southeast area of Italy, Puglia is, as you can see, the “heel” of the boot delightfully sandwiched between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.  The sunny, warm, blue, green, yellow, beautiful Mediterranean climate is cooled by ocean breezes. This paradise has been home to many cultures, including Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Turks and Venetians. While the populations, subject to nature and wars, came and went from several centuries on through to the point where Italy was officially recognized, there was one constant: the grapevines.  Flash to circa 1300. The Antinori Family has been making wine since then, yes, the 1300s. 7 centuries of winemaking has to teach you something! Neprica from Antinori carries forth the tradition and sets the standard for the future. Together with Primativo (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), the predominant grape in Neprica is Negroamaro (40%) grown almost exclusively in Puglia. The grape is dark skinned, typically producing wines dark in color, rustic in character with an earthy bitterness.  

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The flavors in Neprica are screaming for recognition but still working in seemless conjunction with their teammates. Ruby red in color, there is licorice and chocolate mixed with dark berries on the nose and palate. Seriously. If you have ever questioned how people claim to find certain aromas or flavors in a wine, if you have ever thought they just read the label, if you are of the opinion that the critics are just blowing smoke!!, this wine will make you a believer. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel stakes their reputation for straight talk on this promise, you will be able to identify the aforementioned characteristics in this wine. Neprica is just that distinct, that good. Seriously. And we would add two other adjectives we are confident you will find in this wine: leathery and chewy. 

Ahh yes, the name. Nothing too complicated. This smooth blend is named after the three grapes that make it so, Negroamaro, Primativo, and Cabernet.

Critical Acclaim:

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"The estate’s 2010 Neprica is 40% Negroamaro, 30% Primitivo and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet berries, flowers, mint, licorice and spices waft from the glass in this attractive, mid-weight red. A hint of oak on the finish is a bit obtrusive, otherwise the 2010 is an attractive wine best enjoyed over the next 2-3 years, while the fruit remains vibrant. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2015. Antinori’s purchase of two properties in Puglia a few years ago marked the beginning of a period of investment in Puglia that continues today. Puglia remains one of the most fascinating regions in Italy for its rich history and as yet fully unrealized oenological potential. These two entry-level wines from Tormaresca are solid values. " (2/ 2013)

Wine Spectator

" Medium-bodied, displaying a round mix of black plum, dark cherry and light fig notes, with layers of spice and hints of mountain herb and tobacco. Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now."  (8/ 2012)

 

Food & Wine Magazine

"One of the 10 best wine values in the world." (12/2012)

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And at $11.99, it is even a better, bigger value @MetroWines. This is the kind of bottle to buy by the case. 15% off when you do.

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2999 Hits

LIMA Vinho Verde 2011

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Perfect with Pulpo a la Gallega. Let's come back to that. Moving on..

From the Paco de Cardiddo Vineyard, this wine is dry. Yes, dry. This crisp and fruity wine is 100% Loureiro, a Vinho Verde wine from Portuagal. Loureiro means "laurel" referring to the bay leaf scent that marks the grape. Loureiro, a light skinned grape with excellent acidity, is becoming the popular choice for Vinho Verde wines but historically Trajadura and Pederna were the go to grapes.

From Loureiro grapes grown in rocky composition soil, LIMA is light and floral with high mineral acidity. Pale lemon yellow in color, you will find lemongrass and Mediterranean herbs (Metro Wines Tasting Panel loves that!) on the nose. Citrus fruit with a splash of white tea and minerality is on the palate and the feel is full working down to a long and refreshing finish.

The winery suggest that this wine pairs perfectly with Pulpo a la Gallegas, a dish made with octopus. Eric Ripert has a good recipe via youtube if you just happen to have an octopus that you have not put to good use. But should your kitchen be one octopus short, LIMA is great with all the usual suspects: crustaceans, fish, chicken, salad, Asian Spring Rolls, and a perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

The name? This from the importer, Wine Bow: This Vinho Verde is named for the legendary Lima River in Galicia. During Roman times, invading solders avoided this river as it was said to be the incarnation of Hades’ memory-erasing Lethe. Today, vines flourish along its banks, among them the Loureiro that composes Lima Vinho Verde. Cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks creates a wine with excellent acidity and a freshness that will be hard to forget. 

At $9.75, this is an Almost FREE Friday feature and joins Steeple Jack Shiraz for Disclaimer Comedy on Friday Night, 7pm @Metro Wines.

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2935 Hits

Steeple Jack Shiraz 2010

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Who is that guy? One James Halliday, author of "The Australian Wine Companion" and Senior Wine Competition Judge. Saying this wine is more than one might expect for the price, James Halliday awarded 88 points to Steeple Jack Shiraz 2010.  

From the Ballast Stone Vineyards in McLaren Vale, owned and producing wine by the Shaw Family for 35 years, this wine is true to the varietal. Deep ruby in color, this wine presents blackberry with hints of mocha and vanilla on the nose, bringing the aromas into the palate and adding cinnamon and white pepper. A silky and full feel leads to a long and stable finish.

Winning the Global Competition for Best Shiraz? No. But a great value that is a food friendly or can fly solo? Yes. At $7.99, Steeple Jack Shiraz is literally almost FREE. 

Oh yes, the name. Steeple Jacks, according to the label, played a crucial role in constructing and maintaining Australian Townships completing the stonework on the tallest buildings and towers. The name honors their fearless work in the face of danger. Take a look:

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Raise a glass to Steeple Jacks everywhere and take on Disclaimer Comedy Friday @MetroWines, 7pm sharp!

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4796 Hits

Celebrate Labor Day

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Celebrate Labor Day! This is what it looks like when we, Shop Dogs, are working. Well, what it used to look like because we are retired racers. Bandit and me are retired. I have been retired for over 5 years, Bandit has been off track for a little over a year. (I don't think that is why he is such a baby, he just IS!) Anyway, this is how we ride from one track to another track. This is called a "hauler" and, as you can see, this thing is not fetching a spread in the New York Times Travel Section. No windows. No sleeper compartments. No diner car. No road snacks. And no phone. Verboten on the phone!

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So, we are grateful to be retired from racing and well into our second career as Your Shop Dogs! BTW, I won more races than Bandit. So there!

Your Shop Dog (Just please don't call me Shop Girl), Cate, Racing name: "The Flying Catesby" See you at the shop.

Rebuttal:

Whoa.

Cate is not telling you everything. 2 more races. Big Deal. Besides, I am more lovable. Try to get a kiss out of Cate! Your (Heart) Shop Dog, Bandit.

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2188 Hits

Altes Herencia Garnatxa Blanca 2012

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From the not yet famous, and hence, less expensive,Terra Alta region in the southeastern corner of the Catalonia border of Aragon and Valencia, this Eric Solomon Selection is, in a word, elegant. The winemaker says the Terra Alta region is "among the best in terms of quality and authenticity." The oh so conducive to grape growing hills and beauty have beckoned painters over the years and been the subject of many works. Pablo Picasso spent his summers in Terra Alta and may or may not have had Garnatxa from this vineyard but, since the vines are old, let's just say he did!. So, if Pablo had been sipping a glass of this bottle, he would find a floral nose with just a whisper of green apple and stone fruit. And he would no doubt be pleased with the almost creamy palate and long finish. Channel Picasso for only $9.99.

 

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8182 Hits

Simple Life Pinot Noir

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It's plenty hard enough to find a good Pinot Noir under $20 let alone under $15. This is a hard working wine and, at $13.49, Simple Life can be an everyday wine making your life, even if it isn't "simple"...good! Grapes made wine in this bottle are sourced from the best vineyards all over California so "a bad year" doesn't really happen. Simply put, Simple Life is consistently good.

Cherry, strawberry and raspberry on the nose, this blend of red fruit sets down forward on the palate. The winery claims Simple Life finishes with cloves and cranberries. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel was not skeptical about the cranberry claim but we went in gunning for clove. "No way," we said. "Too complex for such a, well, $13.49 wine!" Simple Life was true to their claim. There's clove in there. Plain and simple. This wine easily earns the shop status of "The Little Black Dress." Well crafted. Versatile. Goes with anything. And always appropriate.

Why the name? Simple Life says: "Growing up in small town California means being able to enjoy the Simple Life. We walk downtown and shop at family-owned grocery stores, we cook with fresh vegetables and meat from local farms, and we drink wine made by our family and friends who have lived here for generations."

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6897 Hits

Stillman Street Chardonnay 2011

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Stillman Street is the second label of Stuhlmuller Vineyards but in label only, the wine is first quality. This Stillman Street Chardonnay is a John's Pick. Grapes are selected from the Stuhlmuller Estate as well as other top Alexander Valley vineyards. The winemaker describes the wine as offering flavors of "Anjou pear, apple, ripe grapefruit and peach blossom."  As you know, The Metro Wines Tasting Panel has grapefruit on a short leash when it comes to Chardonnay. Stillman Street, while offering a lively acid holds the grapefruit in line and succeeds in offering a well balanced wine. California Chardonnays can put a dent in your wallet, but at $14.99, Stillman Street is of a quality of a Chardonnay at twice the price. A true value. Alexander Valley wines hold their own.

Public Information from Stuhlmuller: "The 150-acre Stuhlmuller Vineyard is located in northern Sonoma County, where the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys come together. With vines planted at the convergence of these three, highly regarded Sonoma appellations, Stuhlmuller Vineyards occupies a unique place in the county’s viticulture. Located at the southwestern edge of the Alexander Valley, along the banks of the Russian River, Stuhlmuller Vineyards possesses gravel, clay, and volcanic soils. The geology of this terrain was formed during thousands of years of alluvial fan movement and flooding. Today, these ancient soils, along with the area’s distinctive microclimate, provide the ideal environment for growing world-class Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.

From a hillside on the western edge of the property, a fourth Sonoma County appellation, Chalk Hill, is visible. On summer mornings, fog rolls in through the Chalk Hill gap where the river makes its way southwest through Alexander Valley. As afternoon temperatures rise, the fog burns off. Next, maritime breezes from the Pacific Ocean enter the gap, and the vines cool off once again. This typically means a temperature drop of five degrees or more in the late afternoon, a cooling phenomenon referred to as the “Venturi Effect.” Stuhlmuller Vineyards is planted to 90 acres of Chardonnay and 57 acres of the Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. The remaining three acres are planted to Zinfandel and Petite Sirah."

Inside information from Metro Wines: About a month ago, we were asked to pair a white and a red with chocolate for an event here in Asheville. Aside from the extraordinarily hard work of tasting a LOT of chocolate with a LOT of wine, the truth is, short of a port wine, that it was difficult to find a red and really difficult to find a white. As aforementioned, this wine does indeed have a good balance between fruit and acidity but it is the fact that the oak is in the background that makes Stillman Street Chardonnay work with everything from chicken to YES!, chocolate. No more calls. We have a winner.

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5786 Hits

Before Pinot Grigio

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Coffele Soave (phonetically speaking: so-ah-gay) Classico 

This dry white wine is from the Veneto, northeastern part of Italy around this writer's most favorite place in the world, Verona! as in "Two Gentleman of..." But to continue...Garganega is the primary grape in Soave. Late ripening, the Garganega's thick skin helps it to withstand the potentially mold causing mist that rolls over this region from the Po River. This Soave is 75% Garganega with a sassy splash of 25% Trebbiano di Soave. Marketing forces driven by the likes of Mad Men drove Soave to the top after WWII. But rival Mad Men geared up and by the end of the 20th century, Soave had been eclipsed by Pinot Grigio and other new to the new world Italian grapes. Don't get me wrong, we love those "new" Italian grapes such as Inzolia, Grillo! But to continue yet again...

Located in the town of Castelcerino, the winery harvests the Garganega by hand in October, collecting the grapes in small bins to insure the grapes are perfectly intact when sent to press. Maturation is in small stainless steel tanks. And all this is what leads to what Coffele calls a 'forthright," "pure," and "clear." wine. Spot on. Brilliant straw yellow, the nose is white flowers with a touch of green apple and some might sense a whiff of sage. subtle honey and lemon curd on the palate. Nice. But the kicker, according to The Metro Wines Tasting Panel, is the long finish that leaves you with almonds. Really nice.

And like all things italian, there is amore: Coffele says: "For every great wine there is a story and this is no different for the Coffele Wines. The story starts with an encounter of love; the love of Giuseppe Coffele and Giovanna Visco on 1971. As their passion grew for each other, so it also did for the land, for the vines and for the search of excellence in winemaking.  The roots of this lay in the traditions of the family Visco, a historic family of vines growers of Soave that goes back to the mid-nineteenth century, when it harvested its grapes in Castelcerino, one of the best areas for the vinification of the Soave Classico."

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And of most importance, Coffele Soave Classico goes with asparagus! $14.49.

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2738 Hits

Le Drunk Rooster 2011

From Languedoc, the domaine from whence the dancing rooster walks is comprised of 20 year old vines planted in a terroir of silty sand and chalk from the Mediterranean climate. This writer is going to talk straight with you here. Some say Le Drunk Rooster is available at an area grocery store. While our wine reconnaissance team can find no evidence of that, so what if it's true? This is a good wine and our price, at $10.99, cannot be beat, grocery or otherwise. The wine is a strong yellow color with very light and pleasing floral nose. Presenting a smooth, lush mouthfeel, the wine is off dry with some, ever so slight mallow. Overall the wine is just about medium bodied and is round, full and well structured for the price.

Bourgeois Family

Region: France

Website: http://www.bourgeoiswines.com/default.htm

Bourgeois Family Selections is a highly specialized importing company that puts the focus on the greatest wine nation in the world, France. The heart and soul of France are the small estates which are the very pulse of its lifeblood, “le vin”. We put the spotlight where it belongs, on the terroir that generations of the same family have toiled, the handpicked grapes, wine lovingly made with the knowledge handed down father to son, since time immemorial. Jean-Philippe is a sixth generation legacy in the beer, wine and spirits industry in his native country. He has spent years traveling the wine regions and countless time scouring the back roads of Gaul for unique, hand selected, organic wines. Our goal is to bring you what only a Frenchman can; the most exciting undiscovered gems of the old world; beautiful, passionately hand made wines, never before available in the US market.

Ahh yes, again, the name. Well, it seems that the state bird of France is the rooster and Le Drunk Rooster Chardonnay is named for this symbol of national pride, Le Coq. The rooster stepped up as the national symbol during the revolutionary years but lost its status to the fleur-de-lis. Clawing its way back to the top of the emblematic heap, our hero was discarded again by Napoleon III. But then, during First World War, the rooster became the symbol of France's resistance and bravery in the face of the fearsome Prussian Eagle. And since then, the rooster, known for vigilance, certainly shown in its struggle to be France's symbol, gained speed and has come to represent a proud, opinionated and courageous France! 

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4177 Hits

WOOP WOOP Shiraz 2012

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OK. The name is kind of funny and, in truth, it does reflect a bit of Aussie humor but there is nothing funny about the wine. Woop Woop is serious business. Witness: Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar and Winophilia, saying:

Why should you care? Winemaker Ben Riggs is the man behind literally hundreds of excellent Australian wines made over the last couple of decades. Woop Woop, which is Aussie slang for the middle of nowhere, is a project that Riggs co-owns with his American importer Ben Hammerschlag, and the wines consistently offer superb bang for the buck, especially the shiraz . Riggs’ winemaking style showcases the opulent fruit for which South Australia is known but with a modicum of restraint, and that holds true even for Woop Woop, which would be considered his entry-level line-up.

What does it taste like? Under-$20 bottles of Aussie shiraz usually offer straightforward, easygoing fruit and little else, but the the 2012 Woop Woop Shiraz South Eastern Australia overdelivers big-time. Made from one of the best Australian vintages in recent memory, it displays intense dark berry character, with floral and spice flourishes that remind me of much more expensive wines. Unlike most inexpensive Aussie shiraz bottlings, this wine has the aromatic interest and balance that will make it a winner with all kinds of grilled foods this summer. My rating: 90 points.

Woop Woop is made from grapes carefully selected from the Shiraz vineyards in premium wine regions of Australia. On the technical side, the Shiraz grapes were de-stemmed and crushed prior to parcels undergoing primary fermentation. This 100% Shiraz wine is aged 9 to 10 months in tank with 10% aged in a blend of French and American Oak. Great grapes made wine by this style of winemaking offers us the essence of ripe grapes in the bottle. 

Bright sun and ancient soils contribute to make the South Australia a premium wine region, particularly McLauren and Wrattonbully. When vines have been in the same soil for decades, sometimes centuries, the meshing of their respective properties is what sets new world apart from old world. And it is something you know when you taste it. Here, grape growing at McLauren Vale dates back to 1850. That's a lot of meshing. The fresh sea breezes from Gulf St. Vincent and chilly winds from Mount Lofty Ranges temper extreme summer heat and add crisp acidity and structure. Winter rains and low humidity bring about consistency in quality.

Ben Briggs, winemaker, sought to make a full-bodied, deep hued, richly aromatic wine with a long palate. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel, along with the respected critics noted above, is of the opinion that Ben Briggs has hit his target, again. This wine presents blackberry, blueberry and licorice on the palate. Dense in a delightful way, the full flavors are accompanied by a lush mouthfeel. The bottom line is that Woop Woop is fruity but not an Australian fruit bomb, taste of jam but not Australian jammy, and goes great with chocolate. The 2012 can go at least another 3 years in the bottle.  

Oh yeah, about the name. The winery says that "Woop Woop" is a much uttered colloquialism that refers to somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Woop Woop, they say, is "quintessentially Australian for out there." At $13.49, this wine is a lot of bang for your wine buck.

Ben Briggs, winemaker, says "cheers!" and so do we.

 

 

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16783 Hits

Kermit Lynch Wines for AMBROZIA

* Lapierre Raisins Gaulos, Beaujolias *

Marcel Lapierre

Little would we know that when Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in 1973, he was on the road to becoming a legend. In 1981, his path would be forever changed by Jules Chauvet, a man whom many now call his spiritual godfather. Chauvet was a winemaker, a researcher, a chemist, and a viticultural prophet. It was he who, upon the advent of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the 1950s, first spoke out for “natural wine,” harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais. Joined by local vignerons Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Jean Foillard, Marcel spearheaded a group that soon took up the torch of this movement. Kermit dubbed this clan the Gang of Four, and the name has stuck ever since. These rebels called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and disdaining chapitalization. Marcel was recently joined by his son Mathieu, and together they took the natural wine philosophy one step further, following organic and biodynamic vineyard practices. The end of the 2010 vintage was Marcel’s last. He passed away at the end of the harvest—a poetic farewell for a man that forever changed our perception of Beaujolais. Mathieu continues the great work that his father pioneered with confidence, albeit on his own. 

The methods at Lapierre are just as revolutionary as they are traditional; the detail and precision with which they work is striking and entirely different from the mass-produced majority of Beaujolais on the market today. Decomposed granite comprises most of their eleven hectares, and the vines are an average of 45 years of age. Grapes are picked at the last possible moment to obtain the ripest fruit, which is a trademark of the estate style. The Lapierres age their wines on fine lees for at least nine months in oak foudres and fûts ranging from three to thirteen years old. These wines are the essence of Morgon: bright, fleshy fruit with a palatable joie de vivre that was undoubtedly inherited from their creator. In the words of KLWM salesperson Sam Imel, “They are meant to be devoured.”
 
* Domaine du Salvard Cheverny *

Domaine du Salvard

Domaine du Salvard has been a working domaine since 1898, through five hardworking generations of the Delaille family. Today, all forty-two hectares of vineyards are farmed by the capable brother team of Emmanuel and Thierry Delaille, with help from their father Gilbert. To our delight, they have carried on the traditions established by their ancestors, producing a true, classic Cheverny that is both simple and elegant. Unlike others in the appellation who still vinify the widely-planted and forgettable Romorantin varietal, the Delaille brothers have focused their attention on growing fresh, lively Sauvignon Blanc, deeply rooted in the sand, clay, and limestone plains of northeastern Touraine. Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cot constitute their red grape holdings, creating youthful reds with great aromatics. Gilbert and his sons have also made their own contributions to the heritage of the domaine, including the introduction of sustainable farming practices into the vineyards, as well as temperature-controlled vinification equipment to the winery.


Until finally achieving A.O.C. status in 1993, Cheverny was widely regarded as one of the best V.D.Q.S. (Vin de Qualité Superieur) of the Loire. However, some argue that this A.O.C.-in-waiting designation was a political maneuver by the I.N.A.O. to keep Cheverny’s delicious, sprightly Sauvignon Blanc out of competition with the other more famous appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Kermit was the first to discover the charm and value of Cheverny back in 1978 when he imported the Domaine Jean Gueritte. He took on the Cheverny of Domaine du Salvard in 1992, a year before the status change in the appellation. We continue to tout the domaine’s wine as one of the greatest values for Sauvignon Blanc perfection.

 

* Chateau la Rouge, Pic St. Loup Rouge *

Château La Roque

The picturesque landscape surrounding the historic Château La Roque appears largely unchanged from how it must have been two thousand years ago. Ownership has changed hands many times since the Romans were first here, yet the soul of this special place remains in tact. Romans were said to have planted the first vines, and Benedictine Monks created the sturdy vaulted-ceiling cellars that still house the bottles today. Winegrowing resumed in the thirteenth century when the de la Roque brothers planted new vines. By the 15th century, another branch of the de la Roque family added glass blowing to the farm’s production. Today, Château La Roque is in the capable hands of Jacques Figuette, who has continued to convert to organic and now biodynamic viticulture, as planned by the previous owner and Languedoc legend, Jack Boutin. Jacques is guided by the talented Cyriaque Rozier, who makes the wine both here and at Château Fontanès. Though the property has responded to circumstance, its destiny seems irrevocably intertwined with its vines.


Thirty-two of the Château’s eighty hectares are consecrated to terraced vineyard land with south-southeast sun exposure, on clay and limestone soils. This is unique terroir. Garrique, the aromatic scrub brush that dominates the landscapes of the South, asserts its presence among these vines. Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the noble varietals that Jack Boutin planted here years ago, make up the reds. The whites include Viognier, Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Roussane and Marsanne. In the wise words of KLWM salesperson and legend, Michael Butler, “Lay down a few cases of history.”

 

* Chateau de Lascaux Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge *

Château de Lascaux

The vineyards of Château de Lascaux have been in the family for thirteen generations. The name of the domaine, “Lascaux” comes from a limestone specific to the domaine’s vineyard sites. Jean-Benoît Cavalier took direction of the property in 1984, just after finishing a degree in Agricultural Engineering. In 1990, he consolidated the vineyards, restructured the ancient cellars, and created the official domaine, Château de Lascaux. Today, over twenty-five years later, the domaine has expanded from twenty-five to eighty-five hectares of vineyards, surrounded by three-hundred hectares of forest, filled with green oaks, pines, and garrigue. The quiet isolation of this part of the region, coupled with its proximity to both the sea and the mountains, makes this microclimate so unique. It is nestled along the foothills of the Cevennes, a mountain range that sits in the heart of the Midi. These foothills protect the vines from the cool Mistral and Tramontagne winds, and bring more rain to an otherwise dry climate.  That this temperate zone brings a long, slow ripening of the grapes only adds to the wines’ complexity. The stony soil lends finesse and freshness to his wines, giving the reds greater aging potential than Syrah-based wines grown in other Languedoc soils. The proliferation of garrique certainly is reflected in the aromatics, where notes of laurel, thyme, rosemary, réglisse, and mint are present in the wines. Jean-Benoît is passionate about supporting the richness and diversity of this ecosystem, so the domaine’s conversion to organic viticulture was a logical choice.


There is a freshness and purity, finesse and complexity in the Lascaux wines that is rare in this wild landscape. The consistency of the winemaking, the quality of their wines, and great values they present make this domaine a treasure of the KLWM portfolio. According to KLWM salesperson, Mark Congero, they are “an absolute ‘go-to’ domaine in the Languedoc. Generous, friendly wines of excellent quality that offer great bang for your buck.”

 

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2953 Hits

The Pink Box

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Customers are finding us! Our shop carries the Sophia Coppola Blanc de Blancs in a can with a straw! There are four little cans in the box each with its own straw.  I, me Cate, LOVE the pink box. And this is not a "girly thing," Bandit. Don't go there.

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  2159 Hits
2159 Hits

Justin Isosceles 2010 Paso Robles

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We, The Metro Wines Tasting Panel, do not disagree with a word of this description and, hence, witness the notes from the winemaker!

Color: Bright with a deep ruby core, lighter with a bit of garnet toward the rim. Aroma: Rich and aromatic with dark fruit of black cherry, cassis, exotic licorice, cinnamon, and subtle vanilla spice with sweet notes of tobacco, a little cocoa and subtle toasted cedar in the background. Palate: Full bodied with black cherry and classic black currant fruit, complex brown spice of star anise, licorice with cocoa and herbal notes of sweet tobacco and a hint of eucalyptus. The rest is classic Bordeaux cabernet sauvignon - fruit, complex spice, and mineral flavors balanced with guiding structural elements on a long, memorable finish. Drink on release or wait a dozen years, this one will be ready for you.

Vineyard Notes:

The 2010 growing season had a cool, wet beginning. After three dry years, the heavy rains replenished the limestone soils of our vineyards allowing them to soak up much needed moisture into the high water-retaining clay sub-soils. Spring was late, but stayed calm and consistent, with no frost issues. Bud break came late due to the cold winter, and a mild spring and dry May segued into moderately cool early summer months. August finally brought on the heat, but the uncommonly cool early summer caused the latest harvest in JUSTIN history allowing the soft harvest sun to slowly marry ripe varietal characteristics with bright, fresh acidity.

Winemaker Notes:

ISOSCELES is the embodiment of our dream to produce a Paso Robles wine in the style of the classic chateaux of the Médoc area of Bordeaux. Each vintage of ISOSCELES drinks beautifully upon release, revealing its Paso roots, and after years in the cellar it shows the quality, complexity, and age-worthiness of the wines after which it is styled. Elegantly understated, but with impressive complexity on further examination, our new packaging for this twenty fourth vintage of ISOSCELES reflects the character of this iconic wine and continues its proud heritage as we move into an exciting future here at JUSTIN. $75.

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Hazana Tradicion Rioja 2011

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A blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano from 20 to 40 year old vines, the wine is aged in a combination of American and French Oak barrels. This medium bodied wine offers you black cherry jam, licorice and tobacco leaf. Sweet tannins complete this class act. The wine overdelivers and can be shelved another few years. One critic called it "an absolutely mind blowing value." And at 12.5% alcohol, you can literally open "a bottle for dinner." Just a note here. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel strives to find wines at or below 13% alcohol. Global warming has altered growing patters and regional climates. Sometimes this is good. Grapes find new homes. We find new wines. But sometimes, it is bad. Thick jammy unpleasant wines that drink like hard liquor. Sharing a bottle for dinner is becoming a "thing of the past." Hang in there. We are ON the case! Try this one.

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Region 1 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

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Region 1 Malbec, Mendoza, $8.49

From the Lavaque Family, this 100% Malbec wine is deep red in color with violet traces. With generous and complex aromas of red fruits, such as plums, cherries and raspberries, the wine has a full mouthfeel with ripe tannins and a strong finishing touch. This is a food wine. And at 13% alcohol, you can enjoy the entire bottle just like the old days before alcohol content went skyward.

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Passive Aggressive 2010

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The hot summer days and cool nights in the Oregon Rogue Valley provide ideal conditions for grapes particularly warm climate varietals such as Tempranillo.  This Passive Aggressive 2010 by Folin Cellars, winner of the best of Oregon Wine Awards for Red Blends, is positive proof. 

The wine is a unique blend of of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Tempranillo. Garnet in color, the nose is fruit forward with a totally pleasing, non-threatening black fruit palate. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel finds this wine food friendly but also an "all day long wine," that is, a glass would be delightful all on its own any time, not that we are suggesting it!, anywhere, not that we are pushing you!, for any reason or no reason at all! How's that for passive aggressive in a wine review? Seriously. You will like this blend. 

Folin Cellars says: "Based on our unique Southern Oregon climate, some vintages tend to be more passive while others are more aggressive. Which one are you?" 

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Where there's smoke...

We don't want to keep secrets. Some of these Hook&Ladder wines are more $$$ than the wines currently on our shelves BUT as you know, in the wine world, every $ is exponential in terms of quality. That said, rest assured that as great as our current selection of Hook&Ladder wines was and remains, the new wines are, shall we say, even more great.

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Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Produced in limited quality, Hook&Ladder Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 offers an intense nose of vanilla and spices. Lush notes of blackberry and dark cherry on the palate are enhanced and defined with an herbal edge.  The winemaker says this is a "big" and "bold" wine. But the bigness and boldness are held in line by balanced acidity and structured tannins. The finish evokes the spice that starts and slowly and smoothly ends Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel says this wine is a "handsome brute with a soft heart and a heck of a punch."  

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Third Alarm Pinot Noir 2012

Planted in 1973, the Pinot Noir Vineyards are located in western Santa Rosa where the coastal fog blankets the fruit mornings and evening facilitating a longer growing season. Hook&Ladder uses old world techniques punching down the fruit by hand up to 3 times to produce this Pinot Noir in small batches. After using only native yeast in fermentation, the wine, to increase balance and complexity, was aged in French Oak barrels up to 11 months. 

Dark crimson in color, the wine presents raspberries, blackberries and cherries with just a hint of cinnamon spice on the nose. Add vanilla and cola on the palate. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel find this a signature characteristic of Hook&Ladder reds, spice. The thread of all flavors weaves, as just noted above in our review of Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon, from start to finish in this wine as well. And this continuity, we find, is also a most pleasing characteristic of Hook&Ladder Reds. Estate bottled on June 19, 2013, this multi-layered Pinot Noir can pair easily with a variety of dishes but is not afraid to be alone! Not even in the dark.

The San Francisco Chronicle awarded the Hook&Ladder Pinot Noir 2011, the wine we have had on our shelves since we opened the doors on April 29th of this year, not just gold, but DOUBLE GOLD. And the Third Alarm is even a step up, strike that, a flight of steps up from that. Oh baby!

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Station 10 Zinfandel

A blend of 71% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane and 2% Alicante Bouschet, Station 10 was harvested between October 8th and 22nd of 2008 and released in to the waiting wine world in the summer of 2012. The vines which gave us Station 10 are nearly 100 years old thriving in the morning fog that blankets the vineyard just west of Santa Rosa. The goal with Station 10 was to blend a wine that would be bold, as all Hook&Ladder wines are, well structured and would "pair with a wide range of dishes." To accomplish this mission, grapes were selected from the oldest Zinfandel vines and a small selection from old vine Carignane and Alicante Bouschet from the same vineyard. Combined with Petite Sirah from the Los Amigos Vineyard, the berry and spice profile takes root. And then, this is the good part, the varietals were aged separately in European and American Oak for over a year before blending and bottling. And that, folks, how the magic happens. Seriously, it is these extra steps that make all the difference.

Now, to the essential element, the taste, the experience. Dark violet in color, Station 10 gives you deep a deep nose of black currants, dark berry and strawberries with just a hint of cedar. Bringing the black fruit forward onto the palate, add spice, cinnamon-cherry, bramble and stone fruit. It is this collection of flavors that makes Station 10 so amazingly versatile.  The winemaker says pair it with everything from grilled red meats to tomato sauce. We, The Metro Wines Tasting Panel, say the winery accomplished its mission in the quest for a wine to "pair with a wide range of dishes." Station 10 has already earned a place on our list of "go to" wines when a customer needs a bottle for a potluck, that is to say, when the customer is headed to dinner with no idea what will be on the table! You can go in confidence with Station 10.

** Bottom line: The Metro Wines Tasting Panel is ALL agreed that "Station 10 is front loaded with flavor, no warm up, no waiting for the whole taste to kick in, a present on the palate that remains stable with no drop off or holes through to the lasting finish." Gary, says Station 10 is "da bomb." At $14.99, this is buy BY the case.

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Hook&Ladder Cabernet Franc 2010

We love this grape but let's face it, if a 100% Franc is not done well, it's a flabby, royal disaaaaaaster. This one IS done well. Picked from a single vineyard, the grapes are gently de-skinned and left to sit in the skins to extract as much color and flavor as possible. After pressing, the wine is aged in Hungarian and American Oak. Dark and intense purple to almost black in color, this viscous wine has legs, literally. When swirled, you will see slow forming, fat legs that hold on. Spiced (there's that spice again) dark fruit with hints of wild anise, bittersweet chocolate, green herbs and tobacco on the nose. Yes. All that. Plush and full on the palate, Hook&Ladder Cabernet Franc goes on smoothly with flavors of dark fruit, ripe cherry, soft earth, mocha, dark, dark chocolate and tobacco while picking up finely grained tannins mid palate together with a balanced acidity. You might find a subtle but noticeable mineral foundation under the fruit. The wine is well structured through the finish. A finish you won't want to see coming!

 

 

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"The AMBROZIA Plan"

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This looks to be a very special evening as Ambrozia Bar and Bistro teams up Metro Wines for a lively tasting of small production , family owned wines paired with a very special menu designed by Chef Sam Etheridge. We will be starting with a sparkling wine for our meet and greet , followed by four wines and a specially prepared menu that will bring out the very best of both food and wines.

 

              Kermit Lynch began his wine career in 1972 as a retailer in Berkeley , California

and soon after began importing small production , family owned wines that represent the very best and most traditional of winemaking values. In 2000 he was awarded a James Beard award signifying him as “Wine Professional of the Year” . He was awarded , in 1998 , by the French Government ,the “ Order de Merite  Agricole” award and in 2005 named him “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneure”

 

The cost for this event is  $35.00

For more info and reservations please contact the restaurant at

828.350.3033

or

you can contact the good folks at

828.575.9525

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2300 Hits

Grove Park House Tour

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This is our friend, Franque (pronounced "Frank -KAY") whatever. Anyway, this is Franque last year at the Grove Park Neighborhood House Tour trying to break in on the tour. Of course, he failed. Rather than trying to look the part, Franque just went for it straight on. We are working on a plan now to get in those doors! But even if we don't you can. Buy tickets on line at www.gpsmna.org or stop in our shop to pay cold, hard cash. Your Shop Dogs

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Seriously? Really? This is Bill. We met him on vacation last year. THIS is his idea of how to break in on the tour. Look like a tourist. Really? This is exactly why we cannot gain admittance to Ivy League Schools not to mention the door know principle. Really Bill?

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OK. That's what I talkin' about. This is Hammish. He knows how to drive a deal.

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But in the end, thoughtfulness and kindness (read kissin' up) won the day. Preston came up with the idea of giving Suzanne, the Grove Park Neighborhood House Tour Master Planner! a gift. I think he might just get inside! In any case, kudos Preston. 

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