Owner of Metro Wines

Sofia Coppola


"Lost in Translation." That was Sofia Coppola. Sparkling wine, Blanc de Blancs, in a way too cute single serve cans, each with a straw!  That is Sofia Coppola too. Made in Monterey on the California Central Coast, Sofia says this pop top is for "the impetuous," "the impromptu." In essence, this sparkle in a can is for "the kind of person who lives like there is no tomorrow." With aromas of pear, honeysuckle and passion fruit, the aromas palate continue on to the palate adding crisp apple, melon and juicy tangerine. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel says the Prosecco like Blanc de Blancs is mouth tingling and, although the adjective is overused in wine lingo, downright refreshing.  And, although this suggestion is overused in wine lingo, it really is true in this case: Perfect for a party or a gift. The can is well, uncanny. Look at it!

Continue reading
  2881 Hits
2881 Hits

The Saturday Pour!


Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvee 2012

Metro Wines Tasting Panel says you "cannot find a better Oregon Pinot Noir for this price."

Blended from an assemblage of 8 different vineyards from around the Willamette Valley, The Commuter Cuvee is the first wine produced every year, that is to say, first dibs in the vineyard! This wine is concentrated, dark in color and fruit. Raspberry and cherry with hints of violets on the nose and palate. Only 15% new French Oak used to make this wine with 85% of the barrels used at least twice before. 

John Grochau says this wine is "bright, fresh, vibrant, perfumed." Of the production, John tell us: "I sacrificed some of my high end Pinots to make this vintage of the "Bike" especially good." John recommends serving his wine with herb and chèvre stuffed baked chicken, grilled salmon, and dishes made with wild mushrooms. With a sweet spice foundation, the wine is soft and balanced.

A portion of proceeds from sale of this wine will go to the Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund, created in honor of cyclist Brett Jarolimek, and in a joint venture between the Bike Gallery and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to promote bicycle safety and awareness throughout Oregon.

Ready to drink now but has 2 to 3 years left in bottle.


Continue reading
  2446 Hits
2446 Hits

Almost FREE Friday


2012 Altes Garnatxa Negra, Catalunya, Spain
Another incredible value and full-throttle wine made from 100% Grenache, Herencia Altes’s vineyards are situated high on the hillside above the village of Batea, where grapes have been grown since the 15th century. This offering, from very old vines and aged completely in concrete, is a naked, unadulterated, unmanipulated effort with great minerality (from the chalky, limestone soils) and an intensity and richness (from the old vines) that are normally found in $50+ wines. Bright crimson in color, the wine is very expressive with notes of red fruits and minerals that "leap from the glass." Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add that the wine presents an earthy quality with hints of tobacco and leather. With good body, you will find plenty of fruit on the palate with a touch of complexity and sweet tannins. Pairs well with grilled meats and lamb.  
Imported by Eric Solomon. 91 points for 2011, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
La Meriggia Trebbiano D'Abruzzo 2011
This white wine is pale yellow in color with a pleasant delicately perfumed nose. On the palate, you will find the wine to be delicate yet velvety with pronounced but pleasant acidity. Trebbiano d'Abruzzo is a perfect aperitif as well as a partner for salad, fish and white meats. At $8.99, this is an extremely good value.
Continue reading
  2636 Hits
2636 Hits


b2ap3_thumbnail_gamay.jpg    b2ap3_thumbnail_gamay.jpg    b2ap3_thumbnail_gamay.jpg    b2ap3_thumbnail_gamay.jpg

This is the Gamay grape. And this is a "Kendal Pick." Our 2011 Domaine Pral Cuvee Terroir Beaujolais is 100% Gamay. A family domaine for several generations, Domaine Pral is located on the Southwest Burgundy hillside vineyards made of granite soil. Domaine Pral practices ecological farming on their 45 acres of vines. Hand harvested, temperature controlled fermentation, semi-carbonic, the wine is aged in concrete tanks for 8 to 12 months before bottling. 

Loaded with sweetly-ripe blackberry and peach fruit, it's fruit forward, soft and exquisite. Its tang and brightness of tart fruit skin and saline mineral notes give this insistency on the palate and it finishes with cleansing refreshment and no superficial sweetness.

The winemakers, husband Pascal and wife Marion say: "This is a convivial wine to be relished that is the perfect accent for all occasions." Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add to start thinking holidays. This wine will be great with turkey, cranberry dressing, rosemary potatoes, sweet potatoes, haricot vert, and any seasoned carb or starch you can imagine!

Really well priced at $16.49. This is a good choice to buy by the case. Save 15% on 12, 10% on 6. Call us! 828-575-9525.

Continue reading
  2585 Hits
2585 Hits

Big Meal Kale and Mushroom Quiche

Recipe from Asheville Citizen Times: Kale and Mushroom Quiche. This is not really a light summer afternoon tea time quiche! This is a big meal quiche. A lot of different flavor profiles going on here. The bite of the kale, the creaminess of the eggs and butter and the heartiness of the mushrooms. There are reds that would work but we are favoring a white. Zagra Gillo from Valle dell"Acate can handle it. Calling Zagra "stunning" Wine Advocate gave this wine 91 points. Page down on the Wine Blog to read the particulars of this versatile wine by Gaetana Jacono. And join us tonight for The Hope Chest Benefit to taste it, LIKE it, and pick up a bottle to pair with your Kale and Mushroom Quiche. Oh yeah, and pair it with a slug of htary bread from Strada!



This is a really good winter supper option and smells great while it’s baking. Kale, along with other dark leafy greens, is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C and K.

4 teaspoons olive oil 
1 bunch fresh kale, stems removed, thinly sliced 
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme 
5 large eggs 
1 cup sour cream 
1/4 cup water 
2/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated 
1 prepared pie crust, unbaked 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and reduced in volume by half, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil to the saute pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released their water and are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Add kale back to the pan, stir in salt, pepper, dry mustard and thyme.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream and water. Sprinkle the grated cheese into the pie crust. Top with kale-mushroom mixture and pour egg mixture over the top.

Place in oven, reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Continue reading
  2897 Hits
2897 Hits

Hope Chest Wine Tasting Wine Notes

We will be pouring wines made by women wine makers! 

Here are a few notes about the wine maker and the wine they made:


To the question why are Sicilian wines hitting their stride in a big way, Eric Asimov says: "Partly, it's a result of a new, energetic generation of wine producers who embraced the island's indigenous grapes at a time when many regions were looking past their heritages to capitalize on the world's taste for international grapes like chardonnay,merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. As a result, Sicily's new wave wines immediately stood out as distinctive cultural emblems."


Gaetana Jacono: Grillo Zagra 

Valle dell'Acate has a long and storied history among the top estates in Sicily, as the Jacono family can trace back their winemaking roots here to the nineteenth century. It is located in the southeastern corner of Sicily. Under the direction of the current head of the family winery, the elegant Gaetana Jacono, many of the vineyards have been replanted to the great traditional grapes of Sicily, farmed organically. 

Tasting Notes: Zagra is 70% Grillo and 30% Inzolia, both grapes indigenous to Sicily. Aged four months in steel tanks rather than oak gives this wine an unparalleled crispness. light in color, Zagra presents a white flower bouquet of citrus fruit and wild rose on the nose.  On the palate, the wine offers juicy apricots, peaches and jasmine. Fresh and dry, the wine is well structured with notable acidity and balance and a sting multi dimensional finish. Wine Advocate, calling this wine "stunning" awarded 91 points


Zolo Viognier

"Best Buy" says "Wine and Spirits." This accolaide follows a long line of praise for ZOLO Torrontes. "Wine Enthusiast" called the 2008, 2009 an 2011 a "Best Buy." And over the years, ZOLO Torrontes has received praise from critics across the wine world including "The Wall Street Journal" and Robert Parker.  Medium straw in color, the nose is an array of citrus including lime, white flowers and tropical fruit. The taste is ripe, dry and restrained, with notes of pear and dried orange peel. The finish is crisp! 



"Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world," Eric Asimov, August 14, 2013

Gaetana Jacono: 2012 Vittoria Frappato, Valle dell'Acate

Another Gaetana Jacono Wine! Valle dell'Acate Il Frappato is a beautiful new red wine gem from Sicily made from 100% Frappato. 

Best Value at $19 !! says Eric Asimov of The New York Times. $16.49 @MetroWines. Eric describes the wine this way: "Bright, floral and harmonious, with an attractive tension between bitter and sweet flavors."

Tasting Notes: Valle dell'Acate Il Frappato is light-medium in body. It is light ruby in color with a fragrant, exuberant bouquet of intense blueberry, blackberry and raspberry notes. Its flavors are bright and fresh, with strawberries lingering on the palate. The wine was fermented in stainless steel to retain this varietal's lively red-fruited, highly-aromatic and floral profile, then aged for 6 months in steel tanks followed by 3 months in bottle. It is rich and smooth with a long, polished finish. Suggested retail is $19 and we sell it for $16.49!


Daniella Rocca: Rosso di Rocca

The Italian estate used to be run the grandfather and then the dad, who passed away a few years back. Since that time the three Rocca daughters have taken over all the duties.  

Tasting Notes: A blend of the traditional Northwestern Italian grapes Nebbiolo (80%), Barbera (10%) and the less traditional Cabernet, this table wine doesn't qualify for a vintage label, but the back label discreetly discloses "2004 harvest." Clear dark garnet in color, it shows dried-fruit and floral notes, a combination oddly but pleasantly reminiscent of hard candies. Simple and fresh on the palate, red fruit is shaped by tart acidity; 


Continue reading
  2970 Hits
2970 Hits

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay


92 Points, The Wine Advocate: "Chardonnay is quite a bit fresher and more linear than the 2009, partly because of the length of the growing season, partly because it is a year younger. Slate, minerals, crushed rocks and grapefruit linger on the precise, crystalline finish. This is a very Chablis-like Napa Valley Chardonnay."

91 Points, International Wine Cellar: "Pale bright yellow with a hint of green in the glass. With complex, brisk aromas of musky pineapple, medicinal herbs, white pepper and licorice; hardly your typical California Chardonnay. At once dense and penetrating, with a strong spine of acidity. This rather uncompromising no-malolactic Chardonnay displays a serious structure for aging, and will probably need five to seven years to soften up and come into harmony. Assistant winemaker Matthew Crafton noted that in the cool growing season of 2010 it was a challenge to ripen Chardonnay in cooler sites in Napa Valley."

The Metro Wines Tasting Panel lemon and lime leaf with citrus flowers on the nose and that plus honey on the palate. The mouth feel is almost creamy contrasted with a flinty finish that offers an ever so slight marzipan nuttiness.

Continue reading
  2317 Hits
2317 Hits

Gruet Brut

b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png      b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png     b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png     b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png     b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png     b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png    b2ap3_thumbnail_gruet-brut.png

Gruet Brut, New Mexico

Rated 89, Wine Spectator "Focused and richly styled with spicy tropical fruit aromas and appealing baked apple, cinnamon and herb notes."

The Gruet Winery in France dates back to 1952 where generation after generation made champagne. Some of the children, as children do!, departed France and chose New Mexico to replicate and carry forth the family art of wine making. This Gruet Brut is made in the traditional champagne method, patience rather than process, with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. New mexico has high altitudes and wildly divergent temperatures in a 24 hour period. Grapes for Gruet Brut are grown at said high altitudes where they must, much like the skybound grapes in Argentina, struggle to keep their paycheck. The winemaker calls this brut "brilliant with ultra fine bubbles." Of course, he would! But in this case, the winemaker does not just give us puffery. This non-vintage sparkling wine presents a fine bouquet of green apples and grapefruit. But wait, not too much grapefruit! (The Metro Wines Tasting Panel has become quite sensitive to wines that rely too much on grapefruit on the palate or perhaps default into grapefruit for lack of other flavors that should be present in a quality wine and then say WOW, this wine has flavors of grapefruit as if it is unique or a requirement. Clearly  we digress into a wine peeve here....) Gruet Brut is good to go. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel also likes the smooth blending of both a rich complexity with crispiness and snappiness on the palate as well as the easily discernable toasty finish.

We offer both full and half bottles of Gruet Brut.


Continue reading
  2550 Hits
2550 Hits


Valle dell'Acate 2010 "Zagra" Grillo


Gaetana Jacono runs the wine estate representing the 6th generation of wine makers at Valle dell'Acate. With the same love, attention to detail and tradition that tied her ancestors to the Sicilian hillside vines, Gaetana has devoted herself to the production of World class Sicilian wines. She has earned the respect and recognition of the international wine community. 

From Sicily, this white wine is 100% Grillo, a lovely varietal that is indigenous to Sicily. Aged four months in steel tanks rather than oak gives this wine an unparalleled crispness. light in color, Zagra presents a white flower bouquet of citrus fruit and wild rose on the nose.  On the palate, the wine offers juicy apricots, peaches and jasmine. Fresh and dry, the wine is well structured with notable acidity and balance and a sting multi dimensional finish. The wine is palate rolling and can even take on a bit of the hot!

Continue reading
  2965 Hits
2965 Hits

French. Red. Loire.

Cheverny, Domaine de Montcy Red 2010


Domaine de Montcy was born from the agricultural background of Laura Semeria who grew up in Italy amidst the olive groves. After moving with her husband to his home country of France, Laura was drawn to the grapes. In the far corner of the Upper Loire, she found a vineyard. Some of the vines still bearing fruit were over 100 years old. Laura is striving for total biodynamic production. Grown in the sandy-limestone, the grapes express this mineral foundation. This rustic red table wine is a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Only native yeasts are used and temperatures are kept low to insure freshness remains inherent in the wine. With aromas of cherry and cranberry on the nose leading to raspberry and strawberry on the palate, this wine is simple, straightforward and, while it can stand alone, is abundantly food friendly.


Continue reading
  2473 Hits
2473 Hits

Shop Dogs Support Women Vintners!

Amador Foothill Katie's Cote. Rhone Blend 2007


Katie Quinn's job as winemaker is to transform what nature provides: "I want to make wines with an Amador sense of place, unique wines that reflect their origin the red granitic soils of our Shenandoah Valley Appellation." Katie's winemaking vision is that wines should be varietally true, tasting of their grape origins with a discrete use of oak for texture and complexity. Katie's red wines have concentrated fruit flavors backed with refined tannins. Inspired by Katie's love of cooking, this wine is food friendly. A blend of 51% Syrah and 49% Grenache, Katie's Cote comes to us from The Shenandoah Valley in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Plymouth California. full bodied but flexible, you will be intrigued by the lush blackberry fruit and exotic spices hit the nose and palate at once. 

Lumos Pinot Gris


Julia Cattrall, the 20 something rising star cellarmaster, adds the magic touch to this wine. A student of Anthropology at Reed University, Julia learned the art of winemaking at the Lumos family vineyard, dating back to 1972, in Eola Hills, Oregon. This Pinot Gris was named Best Buy in Wine and Spirits Magazine and was the Gold Medal Winner at The Oregon Awards scoring a 92.

Light straw in color, ripe grapefruit on the nose and soft nectarines and peach with citrus and a tart zestiness on the palate, this wine is a warm weather classic but can stand up to a Thanksgiving Dinner.

Cheverny, Domaine de Montcy Red 2010


Domaine de Montcy was born from the agricultural background of Laura Semeria who grew up in Italy amidst the olive groves. After moving with her husband to his home country of France, Laura was drawn to the grapes. In the far corner of the Upper Loire, she found a vineyard. Some of the vines still bearing fruit were over 100 years old. Laura is striving for total biodynamic production. Grown in the sandy-limestone, the grapes express this mineral foundation. This rustic red table wine is a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Only native yeasts are used and temperatures are kept low to insure freshness remains inherent in the wine. With aromas of cherry and cranberry on the nose leading to raspberry and strawberry on the palate, this wine is simple, straightforward and, while it can stand alone, is abundantly food friendly.


Continue reading
  2555 Hits
2555 Hits

Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell


Update: December 4, 2014  Wines go in waves. While the Silver Label sat relatively quietly for months with mostly only long term devotees taking it home, the bottle is rolling and rolling rapidly off the shelf again. And well it should. There is absolutely nothing like it. To taste it is to dream.

Both calling this bottle an "outstanding value," Steven Tanzer of International Wine Cellar awarded 90 points and Cellar Tracker gave 89 points to Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain. The wine is opaque like black tights with a rosy nose, a bit of cherry and black tea laced with licorice on the palate. Tanzer echos our description calling this wine "sexy." It just IS. No matter what your definition of "is" is, Juan Gil IS.  

Tanzer describes this French oak aged wine as brilliant ruby in color with a floral nose accented by dark berries. Rolling across his palate, he says he found blackberry and lavender pastille enhanced by smoky oak, vanilla nuances with a hint of peppery spices. The finish trails off with lingering florality and smooth even tannins. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel generally agrees with our friend, Steven, and his review of this Juan Gil is no exception. 

Well structured and balanced, the wine is lively with spicy high notes, and, some say, a touch of violet. But this is the thing with this wine: Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell has a lingering soft sweetness reminiscent of port. Wait! Come back! It works. It really works. Granted, to go there, to bravely go where no man has gone before by adding the "port like", is a high wire act. You really must do it right. Bodegas Juan Gil did it, not just right, but spectacularly. Winning the Bronze at the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards, this wine lives up to it's accolades and your expectations.




Continue reading
  3156 Hits
3156 Hits

Gone Italian


Tonight is the Strada Event at the shop. First, there is a very real chance of scraps. Can you imagine, scraps from Strada? YOWZER We feel the earth move just thinking about it!  Pasta!! Anyway, we thought we would pay homage to the Italian greyhound on this day. A small, but stately beast. 

What wiki says:

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest[2] of the sighthounds, typically weighing about 8 to 18 lb (3.6 to 8.2 kg) and standing about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall at the withers.[3] Though they are in the "toy" group based on their weight, they are larger than other dogs in the category due to their slender bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.

The Italian Greyhound's chest is deep, with a tucked up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. The face is long and pointed, like a full sized greyhound. Overall, they look like "miniature" Greyhounds, though many Italian Greyhound owners dispute the use of the term "miniature Greyhound", in reference to the breed itself. By definition of the American Kennel Club[4] - they are true genetic greyhounds, with a bloodline extending back over 2000 years. Their current small stature is a function of selective breeding. Their gait is distinctive and should be high stepping and free, rather like that of a horse. They are able to run at top speed with a double suspension gallop,[5] and can achieve a top speed of up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h).

The color of the coat is a subject of much discussion. For The Kennel Club (UK), the American Kennel Club, and the Australian National Kennel Councilparti coloredItalian Greyhounds are accepted, while the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard for international shows allows white only on the chest and feet.[6]

The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout Europe, particularly AustrianGermanItalianFrench and British breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this breed. The Italian Greyhound should resemble a small Greyhound, or rather a Sloughi, though they are in appearance more elegant and graceful.


Continue reading
  2406 Hits
2406 Hits

Barrel Tasting!


OK. OK. That is a little bit of puffery. Agreed We are not actually tasting from the barrel but we are tasting around the barrel and, possibly, some of the grapes that came from the barrel. Anyone who has shopped @MetroWines knows that we stand behind the wines of Hook & Ladder for quality, price and character. We have been very fortunate to have been chosen to receive one of the coveted American Oak Wine Barrels from the Hook and Ladder Winery!! This is beyond exciting. Way beyond. To have had the door @MetroWines open for only 3 months and see a Hook & Ladder Barrel roll through it is just flat out mind boggling. It's beautiful. 

Come see it! And to celebrate we pour The Tillerman, a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and here's the twist, Sangiovese, on Wednesday to the music of Brad Earnhardt, President of the Classical Guitar Society and a big fan of Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir

Wine Maker notes on The Tillerman here. Page down for our review on the Wine Blog.


The Russian River Valley is an appellation with varying climates and soils. Hook & Ladder’s Los Amigos Vineyard sits in the warmer northeastern section of the appellation, just south of the town of Healdsburg, where the days are slightly warmer. Here the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sangiovese develop strong, bold flavors.


The 2010 growing season was filled with uneven weather. An overall cold summer gave way to heat spikes in late August, right before harvest. Some crop was damaged by sun burn, and would never be picked. The cold summer lead to a later harvest than normal. The threat of rain at the very end of the season dictated our harvest dates.


With The Tillerman we strive for a boldly flavored, balanced, and well-structured red wine. To achieve this we evaluate various lots and varietals produced from the Los Amigos Ranch. The 2010 vintage yielded ripe, richly flavored Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese. We decided to blend these grapes with our Merlot to soften the palate. The varietals were fermented and aged separately in European and American Oak for 17 months before blending and bottling.


The Tillerman steers the back of the Hook & Ladder truck, a position our founder, Cecil, held for many years in San Francisco. Tillerman, the wine, is deep red-violet in color, possessing complex aromas of black stone fruit with hints of cinnamon and dry herbs. On the palate flavors of cherries and cassis are followed by a lingering currant and ripe cranberry finish, allowing this blend to show well through rich meals, yet not overpower lighter dishes. 

Continue reading
  2332 Hits
2332 Hits

Young Professionals of Asheville Wine Tasting Notes

Young Professionals of Asheville at Metro Wines

Wine Tasting Notes


Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting Notes:

Light, crisp and highly aromatic, the warmer climate Alexander Valley fruit gives this wine ripe peach, tangerine and pineapple character, while the ocean cooled Russian river valley fruit offers citrus, lemon grass and slightly herbaceous qualities together, the two valleys make a classic Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc that is fresh, lively and will drink beautifully over the next one to two years.

Food Pairings:

Grilled fish, chicken, or lamb, Greek and Mexican food, Fresh plates with avocados, tomatoes, and olives



Massimo Malbec

Tasting Notes:

The deep hue and rich texture of Massimo Malbec exemplifies Argentina's hallmark grape, grown in the country's famed Valle de Uco region of Mendoza. This wine is made from grapes grown in one of he world's highest vineyards; nearly 4,000 feet in altitude on the slopes of the majestic Andes Mountains. This Malbec is inky and full-bodied with powerful blueberry and plum notes framed by violets, spice and tobacco.

Food Pairings:

Enjoy with a classic mixed grill, spice-rubbed chicken, or juicy burgers.


Cigar Zinfandel

Tasting Notes:

The 2011 Cigar Zin has notes of deep black fruit, a punch of spice and crushed black pepper on the nose. The rich, lush and well-structured wine is hearty with exotic fruit characteristics. Hand harvested at peak season to ensure quality and flavor, the fruit for Cigar Zin was sorted then fermented for 7 days. We prepared the wine in French (50%) and American (50%) oak barrels for 11 months.

Food Pairings:

Pork, beef, lamb, Italian sausage, duck, turkey, pizza, and chili


Continue reading
  2220 Hits
2220 Hits

Papas Rellenas

Sheila is coming up today from Saluda to do some shop doggin' with us. We LOVE that. Sheila has a nose for good food. She loves SMASH BOX and will probably love Vinnie's too! But, while we have not tasted her recipe, we are told that Sheila makes the best Papas Rellenas ever. For lack of a better explanation, Papas Rellenas is a Cuban meat mix stuffed and rolled fried potato ball ! Sheila is Cuban. Maybe this time. The home version here:

Cuban Papas Rellenas recipe - How to Make Stuffed Potatoes


Cuban papas rellenas

photograph courtesy Annie Luong

Papas rellenas are perfect Cuban comfort food, especially for people with easy access to them at Florida restaurants and cafes.


Mashed potatoes are formed into balls, filled with seasoned beef, and fried until golden.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour

  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes



2 lbs large potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
1 lb picadillo (seasoned ground beef - recipe below)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 tsp salt



Add salt to a pot of cold water, and boil the potatoes until they are soft. Drain the potatoes, and then mash them, then set aside to allow them to cool.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites in two bowls. Mix the egg yolks into the mashed potato mixture, whisk the egg whites for a minute. 

Take a 1/4 of a cup of the mashed potatoes, and form it into a ball. Make a dent in the ball, to give it more of a bowl shape. Fill the indentation with a tablespoon of picadillo, and then reseal it. 

Reshape the potato as a ball again. Dip the ball in the egg whites, then roll the ball around in bread crumbs until it is coated. For a better coating, or for a crunchier texture, you may dip the ball into the egg whites again and coat it with another layer of bread crumbs. Refrigerate the potato balls for at least four hours before frying.

To fry, pour enough oil into a skillet or frying pan to cover half of the balls, the oil should be at least 350°. Place several balls into the frying pan and cook on each side until golden brown, usually 2-3 minutes, taking care not to overcook. Drain the stuffed potatoes on paper towels, do not stack them.

The other cooking method is to deep fry the papas rellenas at 375° until golden brown, they cook best deep-fried when they are frozen.

To Make the Picadillo

1 lb ground meat
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
Pimiento stuffed olives
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the ground meat, onions and garlic. If meat is not too lean, pour out whatever fat you render.

turn heat down to medium low. Add the tomato sauce and wine. While it simmers, chop up the pimiento stuffed olives and add to meat mixture, it is ok to add a little bit of the brine if you wish. Adjust the seasonings per taste. 

Continue reading
  2388 Hits
2388 Hits

Strada Event Wines. Work in Progress.



On Tuesday, August 6th at 6pm, Chef Anthony Cerratofrom Strada will being appetizers to Metro Wines representing 5 different regions of Italy and Metro Wines provides the wines! 

The Wines:

"Macrina" Verdicchio

This 100% Verdicchio is from the Marche Region of Italy. Think calf muscle of the boot. Marche is one of Italy's most underrated winemaking regions. While totally and unashamedly, shall we say, doing its own thing, the region itself is a virtual microcosm of most of what Italy has to offer winemaking wise. Verdicchio is a low yield grape unique to this region. To maintain its characteristic integrity, yield per hectare (yikes! metric talk) is kept low and harvesting slightly delayed. This Verdicchio is pale straw in color with green highlights.  On the nose, "Macrina" delivers pear, lemon, lime, fresh melon and apple flavors.  Well structured, flavors repeat aromas with an elegant core of freshness. Here, the Metro Wines Tasting Panel wants to make a distinction with a difference. Some wines claim freshness because of the lack of fruit or poor construction. Not so with "Macrina." Fermented in steel, the wine is richly complex and yet assuredly fresh with a discernable lift.  The winemaker promises, and we can verify, that "Macrina" has "substantial longevity," but the truth is, you won't need it. With 13% alcohol, you will, we know you will, recycle this bottle at the end of your meal! 


Belstar Prosecco

STOP! Some of you have already tuned out because we mentioned Prosecco. We know. Been there. Let us explain. Due to Prosecco popularity, producers can get away with producing a lower quality wine, something akin to sweetened up grape juice! When you hear someone say that they do not like Prosecco, and at least three of the Metro Wines Tasting Panel used to be there!, this is the kind of sweeeeeeeet Prosecco they are talking about. But Belstar remains a shining star in Prosecco using traditional methods and offering a high quality product. With great complexity in the mid-palate, you will find just a touch, seriously, just a touch of sweetness. But it is this sweetness that gives this wine, as compared to other versions of the grape, a little and well appreciated weight. This sparkling white wine offers white fruit and floral notes on the nose and a citrus taste on the palate.  Belstar is balanced with a solid, clean finish. A perfect aperitif for a cozy two, Belstar is also crowd pleaser at a party. Best Prosecco around town for the price.


Barbera d'Asti 2011, Piedmont, Italy. Nizza Montferrato

Barbera d’Asti is a red wine produced in and around the town of Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy. Grown for centuries in this region, Barbera is heartier than it's regional neighbor Nebbiolo. The scrappy Barbera caught a break being the first grape to be replanted when the Pylloxera crisis hit Piedmont in the late 1800s. The grape remains a contender!

Grown today throughout Italy, Barbera grapes from the Piedmont, including those grown on the slopes of Asti are considered the finest and the best representation of the unique characteristics of the varietal. While other grapes, Freisa, Grignolino and Dolcetto can be in the bottle, to be called a Barbera d’Asti, the wine must be a minimum of 75% Barbera. 

So why is this Barbara d'Asti only $9.99 if it is all that? Because many consumers are familiar with d'Alba in the Piedmont and, hence, the price for a Barbera from this area is higher. Some are convinced that wines from d'Alba are of higher quality. But, if you look for Barbera love in all the right places, you can find a treasure. This d'Asti from Nizza Montferrato at $9.99, is indeed, a treasure. This is d'Alba quality, if you subscribe to that position, at half the price. OK, this is similar to location, location, location in real estate. The house in the well known neighborhood is inflated. But if you are willing to go just over the line, you get all the same amenities for a better price. Dark fruit flavors including cherry. Well balanced. Pairing flexible. This bottle is one that the Metro Wines Tasting Panel calls "unobjectionable." It would be very difficult for a red wine consumer not to enjoy this wine or to question the quality. Bring on the potluck!


Valpolicella Ripasso 2010, Corte Majoli, Verona

Ripasso? Say what? This is the process of adding the grape skins left over from the fermentation of Amarone wine to the Valpolicella mix thus deepening the flavor of the wine to be labeled as Valpolicella. So, if you want the taste of Amarone but not the price, you want this wine. The grapes used to make Amarone are dried like raisins to concentrate the flavor. After this process, the grapes are placed with Vapolicella grapes offering an Amarone taste at a more reasonable price.  But it's not just price that should convince you to choose a Ripasso. This is a fine wine in its own right.

Winemaker's notes: Brilliant ruby red; scents of ripe blackberry, clove, tobacco, and liquorice; full-flavoured palate, velvety, crisp, and refreshing. 60% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella.

The Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add that this bottle is an good example of that which defines Valpolicella, the very fragrant cherry aroma. But, as is often the case, its strength is its weakness. The strong, fruit driven aroma and taste has caused many to call Valpolicella the Italian Beaujolais resulting in Valpolicella falling victim to the same image problem from which Beaujolais is just beginning to recover.  With all due respect, this may be limited to certain circles.  What's wrong with Beaujolais? Like any wine, the underlying vintage can be less than desirable or the process a flat mess.  But this writer can assure you that Beaujolais is proudly served at the French Embassy in Washington DC. Stand up for Valpolicella Ripasso!


Fontana Vecchia Aglianico del Taburno, Campania

The grape, Aglianico del Taburno, is grown on the slopes of Mount Taburno at altitudes of up to 1300 feet flourishing in the volcanic soil. This black skinned grape ripens late benefiting from the long growing season of hot days, moderately cool nights and the mountain breezes that moderate temperatures. The grape is full bodied and offers good aging potential thanks to the natural acid structure and tannins. Fontana Vecchia presents a musky berry flavor with blackberry and bitter chocolate on the palate. This is a food wine. Heavier than a Sangiovese, Aglianico is naturally bold.


Continue reading
  2604 Hits
2604 Hits

Oh Three Legged Red, Wherefore Art Thou?

b2ap3_thumbnail_three_legged_red_new.jpg       b2ap3_thumbnail_three_legged_red_new.jpg

We wait. We wonder. Why no delivery? Why? Word is that our shop is the only shop in Asheville where you can buy Three Legged Red. My people want their Three Legged Red!! We also like the fact that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Susan G Komen Foundation. But hey, not going to be any proceeds if we cannot get our stash! we wait. We wonder. why?

Anyway, the winemaker, Eric Dunham, who named this, I am told, Bordeaux like blend after his dog, his THREE LEGGED DOG, said this of his Columbia Valley well respected red blend: Each year, Dunham Cellars blends a portion of its wines into this red table wine. Using fruit from all of our estate vineyards and using the same barrels in which our finest Cabernet, Merlots and Syrahs are aged, we are able to maintain the consistent high quality of our top wine, as well as create a great everyday wine that is price-friendly. 


Continue reading
  2516 Hits
2516 Hits

Who's This Guy?


Who's this guy? May I introduce to you Eric Scheffer. You know Eric as the owner of Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant on Merrimon in Asheville. But Eric is also a partner in the Bodega Gratia Winery in Argentina. We will be serving Bodega Gratia Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc at movie night on Thursday, August 1st at 6pm. In addition to serving Eric's fine wines, Eric will be bringing lasagna and salad to complement these two wines. WOW!

But wait, there's more! Eric will also be introducing the movie for the evening, "Big Night." The movie tells the story of two Italian brothers, played by Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub, who are trying desperately to save the integrity and the livelihood of their neighborhood Italian restaurant betting it all on one Big Night. What the brothers do is make one big meal on this one Big Night. And guess what? Eric has made that exact meal for an event he hosted! How cool is that? So, in addition to talking about the trials, tribulations and joys of operating a neighborhood Italian restaurant, Eric can talk about the exact meal that is the real star of the movie.

About the Bodega Gratia wines: Bodega Gratia is located in Mendoza where the grapes have the longest "hang time" in the world. This time on the vine creates a good balance between ripe fruit flavors and smooth tannins.

The Malbec: First, let me say that this wine offers a consistency that Metro Wines Tasting Panel appreciated.  Too often, a wine offers a good nose but one that is totally distinct, not necessarily bad just noticeably different, from the palate causing a jarring rather than smooth experience. Not this one. One for all and all for one here. The nose, the palate, the finish, all blended and balanced. A very intense purple in color, this 100% Malbec offers strawberries, cherries and blueberries, vanilla and white chocolate on the nose. The aroma translates to the palate and through to the finish. Solid. Real.

The Sauvignon Blanc: This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is light to medium bodied. Clear passion fruit on the nose, then focusing the palate on herbal and citrus flavors with just a hint of the passion fruit aroma turned tropical taste.

It would be really easy to make some wine analogy here but it would be beneath the dignity of the occasion and company. Suffice it to say that, all in all, the wine, the food, the movie, the company and well, of course, Eric, promise a unique, interesting and enjoyable Thursday Night in the neighborhood.

Continue reading
  2399 Hits
2399 Hits

Meet the Parents

$10 a glass at Grove Park Inn. $8 a BOTTLE @Metro Wines! Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot, 2010, California

$10.99 at GreenLife. $9.99 (and free hassle free parking)! @Metro Wines. Bastille Chardonnay

Tasting today and Tuesday

These are both respectable wines that you can take home to meet the parents. Will they be on Robert Parker's 100 Wines Not to Miss List? No. Grace the cover of Wine Spectator? No. Be presented it to a foreign dignitary? No. But do these wines do what they promise, serve as a solid everyday table wines at an affordable price? Yes. 

Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot

Served at Grove Park Inn, the Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from multiple California vineyards. Founded in 1982 Chateau Julien, a family owned winery in Monterey, offers Emerald Bay as an entry level wine. This sustainably produced wine is fermented in stainless steel and has just enough barrel aging to give the wine a hint of oak. Emerald Bay Merlot does not shy away from tannins but uses them wisely to create a good mid palate experience.

Candy apple red, the wine presents a fruit forward aroma of raspberry and dried currants on the nose and then this fruit with a touch of soft vanilla on the palate.  With a subdued and appropriate acidity, the finish is smooth, starting strongly and fading slowly.  Write home about this wine? Maybe not. But good? Yes. Or why else would Grove Park Inn put their spendy stamp of approval on it?


Bastille Chardonnay, imported by Bourgeois Family Selections, Asheville, NC

We have talked about this wine before on this blog and served it at our Bastille Day Celebration.  But you cannot repeat this mantra too often: a good, solid wine for the price. The winemaker says: "Wine is made from the soul, not a rulebook. Ours is made without restraint, without pretension, quite simply, it's time to experience the freedom of what great wine can be."

Bastille Chardonnay is made in Languedoc from 100% Chardonnay. Aged for 6 months in steel tanks, this wine is round and crisp with nice flavors of exotic fruit, green apple and white flower.



Continue reading
  2685 Hits
2685 Hits