Owner of Metro Wines

ROCO Pinot Noir 2011

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ROCO Willamete Valley AVA Pinot Noir 2011, Winemaker Rollin Soles

Wine Spectator: 90 Points *** Wine Advocate: 91 Points

Winemaker, Rollin Soles was here to pour his wines in person. To be honest, sometimes you feel a little obligated to buy a few bottles when the winemaker has made the trip to Asheville! Not so in this case. It was more like we were pleading for more bottles! This Pinot Noir is a smooth oeprator. Lush, beautiful, complex, cherries and violets on the nose and palate, well blended. I realize that those are all the standard operating wine terms but, in this case, the description is more than true.  The label is a replica of a petroglyph located in the Columbia River Gorge.

About the winemaker from www.rocowinery.com:  America's premiere Pinot Noir growing region. Now, with more than three decades of winemaking under his belt, Rollin produces some of Oregon's top Pinot noirs, Chardonnays, and Sparkling wines. As a result, his wines have been listed in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the World twelve times (but who's counting?). 

Rollin's private winery, ROCO, began in 2003 with 100 cases of Private Stash Pinot Noir from his estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains. Along with his wife, Corby, they built their new winery in 2009 and added a tasting room in 2012.Since their first Stash, ROCO has been served in the White House, praised by Robert Parker, the Wine Enthusiast, and most recently received a 95 score from the Wine Spectator.

Still, Rollin feels passionately that there is much to learn and achieve in his art."If the wine was made in the vineyard, as many claim, then there wouldn't be much reason for me to keep honing my craft. For me, great wine is the compilation of nature nurtured, and a personal vision and desire to finesse the juice to reveal its best. That's why I'm still pursuing the grape. Wine is a revelator." ~ Rollin Soles, Winemaker/Proprietor

Winery Tasting notes from www.rocowinery.com:  Can’t fault this wine for its color. It is deep ruby garnet in tone. The nose reminds you of cherry pie and vanilla ice cream. The deep red fruit flavors prevail along with a hint of rich Nubian leather and possibly plum and cherry preserve. There’s also a shake of white pepper in the back palate with a plump finish that continues to roll around your mouth smiling.

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Win a Wine Tasting

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Win a Wine Tasting

for 8 guests at your home or office!

Just drop your card in the champagne chiller @MetroWines.

The contest continues every month with the drawing on

the last Friday of the month at 5pm.  

You don't have to be present to win

but you must enter in person.

This month, join us for the drawing

on Friday, March 28th at 5pm @MetroWines.

 

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Colorado Bans Greyhound Racing!

The State of Colorado

BANNED

Greyhound Racing

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Everybody is smiling!

                                    Your Shop Dogs

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Why Our Blind Tasting League?

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Because our own Andy Hale was trained by the best!  Andy's blind tasting mentor, Garth Herr, just won Top Sommelier  competition in South Carolina. That's why!

From the Charleston Post Courier:

The Sanctuary’s Garth Herr wins title Rookie wine drinkers are constantly being coached to plunge their noses in their glasses. At Thursday morning’s Top Sommelier competition, dozens of the city’s leading wine professionals were reminded that they need to do the same during tasting exams.“Smell all three of the same color before you start talking about any of them,” urged Richard Betts, one of three master sommeliers leading the 25-minute blind tasting, which is fashioned after the notoriously difficult master sommelier exam. According to Betts, many test takers make the mistake of declaring a Chardonnay before thoroughly investigating the lineup.“And then they pick up the next glass, and it’s actually Chardonnay, and their whole life melts down,” Betts said. “It’s so sad.”While determining which Charleston area sommelier has the most developed tasting skills is the overriding goal of the 7-year-old Charleston Wine + Food Festival program, the session also gives local sommeliers an opportunity to collect blind tasting advice from fellow wine professionals who’ve achieved their industry’s highest honor.Betts, Devon Brogile and Sara Floyd counseled the competitors to smell more, drink more and drink beyond the esoteric varietals that have lately become popular with restaurant-goers.“It may not be hip to drink that amount of Cabernet, but you need to know it,” Floyd said.Floyd’s wisdom became clear after the judges graded the entries: None of the tasters correctly identified all six wines, and many of them were tripped up by a Zinfandel.“I think that’s because none of you drink Zinfandel,” Floyd said.Brogile added, “I was shocked by how many people called Chablis new world.”Winner Garth Herr of The Sanctuary at Kiawah slipped up on an Australian Riesling.“I won a bottle (of Australian Riesling) for third place last year, and I’m still not getting it,” said Herr, who also won the title in 2010 and calls himself a Riseling fan. “That’s what I’ll be drinking this year.”Patrick Panella of Bin 152 claimed second place, followed by Brad Ball of Social.

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Govino

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We just had our first look at Spring today and I'm thinking that some of you are thinking that it's time to start thinking about having a glass of wine outside. Maybe you're thinking a bike ride to a park, maybe you're thinking just ouside the kitchen door on the patio, maybe you're thinking a hike, or maybe you're just thinking that a swishy tail on a four legged family member has swished your glass off the table for the last time.

In any case, you're thinking shatterproof! Add stemless, reusable and reclyclable and you have GOVINO.  Have you ever heard a storm forecast and raced over to the store for candles, matches, provisions? And you wish you had just keep a few simple storm staples around? Same here. Prepare for Spring now. Pick up GOVINO glasses and wine in shaterproof, recylcable boxes that remains fresh for a solid 3 weeks and be ready to pedal or hike or party or just avoid the inevitable summer swishy tail!  

Govino says: Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. govino was originally created as a trade tool to help professional salespeople showcase their wines whenever and wherever proper stemware isn't accessible – which as we learned firsthand, is often! Once we began testing the market, we realized there was an even bigger need for govino in the consumer sector, particularly at settings where breakable glass is an issue. After all, how many times have we all had to endure drinking good wine from bad glasses?

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Domaine Pral Cuvee Terroir

Like so many small French wineries, the operation is a husband wife team with the husband generally doing the heavy lifting in the field and the wife making wine. Marion Pral is greatly responsible for what goes into a bottle of Domaine Pral. We have loved this bottle since it arrived in the store. On the day it was presented to us, one of our customers had a small taste and bought a case. The wine is immediately engaging. Few people buy Domaine Pral and don't come back for more. In fact, I cannot think of one! Pleasant fruit aromas followed by a medium body and velvety palate. When we "taste" Domaine Pral at the shop, customers tend to be surprised that a gamay can be so bold. You go Marion, your 100% Gamay made in Beaujolais is loved world wide! Witness: 

 

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From the Importer's Website: Upon hearing the word Beaujolais, many think of the large celebration for wine that comes out the 3rd week of November, that year's vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau. But the region of Beaujolais, situated at the bottom of the Burgundy AOC, is more than just the nouveau. Some Beaujolais wines can be kept (gasp!) for up to 10 years! A 50 acre Family organic estate for several generations, located in the heart of the Pierres Dorees country, 10 miles from Villefranche, capital of the Beaujolais The Domaine Pral vineyard is planted on granite soils with a South East exposition in the Beaujolais region. Harvest  grape picking Once fully matured the grapes are hand-picked; selected and sorted with great care. Aging The wines are stored with great care. They are aged over 8 to 12 months before bottling at the Estate (Domaine). Sustainable Farming Estate Winemakers: Marion and Pascal Chatelus 

Gamay - Cuvee Terroir
In the heart of the Pays des Pierres Dorees, Domaine Marion Pral practices ecological farming on their 45 acres of vines. This cuvee Terroir is made of 100% Gamay from Southwest hillside vineyards located on granite soils. Hand harvested, temperature controlled fermentation, semi-carbonic. Aged in concrete tanks for 8 months before bottling -not your mama's Beaujolais! Loaded with sweetly-ripe blackberry and peach fruit, 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. Wine Advocate 87 Pts (2009): Marion Prals 2009 Beaujolais Cuvee Terroir  from chalky southern Beaujolais perpetuates the virtues of her 2008, albeit in a predictably riper context. Ripe cherry and strawberry dominate in the nose and on an exuberantly ripe palate with hints of fruit pit bitterness offering counterpoint. There is a bit less cut and minerality here than in the 2008 but still attractive suggestions of salt and stone, while the texture is a bit more caressing.

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Omero Pinot Noir, Sarah Cabot, Winemaker

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Winemaker – Sarah Cabot
Sarah first became interested in winemaking after working for many years in fine dining restaurants. After undergraduate school, she returned to her hometown of Seattle and after becoming certified as a Sommelier to further her fine dining career she went in search of a more comprehensive industry education. Meanwhile, as she studied at the Northwest Wine Academy, she began considering the opportunity to move to the idyllic Willamette Valley where she could really surround herself with Pinot Noir. On a getaway to the Valley just after Sarah finished school, she serendipitously found a position as assistant winemaker at Belle Pente Winery in Carlton, OR. The passion for Pinot Noir came easily for Sarah and after working at Belle Pente for three years and a harvest at Akarua in Central Otago, NZ she took the job of assistant winemaker at Willakenzie Estate for two years before coming on as our winemaker. She is constantly excited for the lessons and achievements that each vintage brings.

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Omero offers red currant, strawberry-rhubarb and elderflower on the nose and a palate of rasberry and honeycomb with a bright acidity and silky tannins. This is no standard operating Pinot noir. Different in color, aromas and taste, Omero has almost a dreamlike quality that washes over the evening.  Andy Hale adds that: "I love this wine. It is totally biodynamic and organic. The grapes are 100% foot stomped, a la I Love Lucy style. This Pinot Noir is also whole cluster fermented, that is, some of the grapes are fermented inside their skins. Sarah Cabot, the winwemaker, leaves sticks and stems in the mix resulting in more and different flavors going into the bottle. This winery is also located in Ribbon Ridge, highly regard for producing high quality, distictive Pinot Noirs."  At 12.5% alcohol, this is a MetroWine Tasting Panel Bottle for Dinner.

Served at Edisons in The Grove Park Inn, play the home version! Shop us.

 

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Little James' Basket Press 2012

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Little James' Basket Press, Pays d'Oc 2012, Saint-Cosme

From the Label: "The Viognier is a "selection massale" (ancient kind of Viognier) from Gondrieu rootstock and cuttings and was planted in 1982 in the Minervois: it's every year magnificent and fresh with a real soul and finesse...The sauvignon brings the crispy freshness and some tropical aromas. These grapes are very rarely blended: it's bizarre because they go so well together! Tropical fruits, grapefruit, water melon, apricot, liquorice...To discover!"

From the Winemaker: "Energy, freshness and aromatics are generated by the mountains close to the Minervois and our sélection massale of Viognier takes a huge benefit of this micro-climate. Little James has become very important at Saint Cosme. It allows me to propose an aromatic white full of joy for the summer. I pay a lot of attention to this wine. Blending Viognier with Sauvignon Blanc is not common and maybe iconoclast? But these two grapes work so well together by doing the splits. From one side the freshness, the aromatics and the acidity; from the other side the ripeness, the meatiness and the depth."

From Andy Hale: "This wine is medium bodied showing characteristics of a cooler climate Rhone  Viognier. The Sauvignon Blanc brings a crispness to the belend. a 100% Viognier can be thick and monotone.little James presents a lovely floral nose with white peach that continues to the palate. Nice finish. I love this wine!"

From John: "A consultant to other wineries, the winemker here does his own blend which is remarkably distinctive. Don't let the unusal label fool you! This wine drinks way above the shelf price of $11.99."

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From Gina:  Metro Wines Customers know that White Rhones are favorites here. Dauvergne Ranvier, a wine I have recommeded to many of you, has been a personal favorite of mine. Based on the success of Dauvergne Ranvier and your collective comments, I can say with confidence that if you like Dauvergne Ranvier, and I know you do!, you will undoubtedly enjoy Little James' Basket Press. A lot of history, old vines and solid winemaking in that basket. A winery since 1575, all that knowledge, expertise, terroir, vineyards, all that is in this bottle! At $11.99 on the shelf, with 6 and 12 bottle discounts, this is a buy by the case wine.

Presentation & History

In the heart of the appellation Gigondas, the Château de Saint Cosme is an exceptio- nal estate, with its Gallo-Roman fermentation vats perfectly preserved. This fantastic historical site gives a good idea how our ancesters the gallo-romans were living. The property has been in our family since 1490 and we have been vignerons for 14 generations.

We have 15 has of old vines (average 60 years old) with a yield of around 27Hos/Ha. The terroir is apparently homogeneous but it’s actually geologically very diverse as the Dentelles de Montmirail makes it very complicated. Saint Cosme is exceptionally located at the crossing of two geological faults, which is very rare. This gives us an extraordinary diversity of soils. Our microclimate is cool and late ripening. Our Gigon- das have the ability to be powerful and refined at the same time. The Saint Cosme’s Chapel, located in the heart of our vineyard is a pure example of roman art. It was built at the XI and XII century. Purity, balance and beauty: the Chapel is a witness of the medieval times and it gives an intense and special atmosphere to our vineyard. Everyone should take five minutes to climb the little hill and visit it.

Our dedication to Saint Cosme is total. We want to express at their best the extraordi- nary potential of the terroirs combinated with the old vines. The ancient know-how, the organic viticulture and the understanding of the terroirs are part of our strong ideas.

It was with the "savoir-faire" of a vigneron we created in 1997 a negociant activity that one could call a "Negociant-Vigneron". During my various travels and tastings in the Rhône Valley, I often thought that many great terroirs were under-exploited. I really liked some locations and I wanted to try. My wish was to become a negociant which would work with the spirit of a vigneron using ancient methods. This was mea- ning: being and remaining a small producer, be followed by winemakers having the same ambition, transport my wines in casks to avoid to rack them and kill their fruit, trying to do only nice things every day.

At Saint Cosme we usually work “à la main”. I want to make wines which express their terroir with purity and personality. I want to make balanced wines with a great ability to age. 

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Movie Night with Wine

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After extensive research, this is why you should you see

a movie @Metro Wines over the other guys.

Movie Theater Prices:

Average Ticket Price: $10.50

1 Large Popcorn: $5.00

A glass of “Airplane” bottle wine: $6.00

A Glass of “Local” Beer (if even available): $5

Total for just one person is $21.50. But don’t forget your date, now you are paying over $40!! So don’t even think about having another glass of wine!

Metro Wines Prices:

Average Ticket Price: $10 ticket, which INCLUDES:

-A glass of quality wine or a local beer,

-Endless popcorn, and

-A classic movie.

And either our Sales Representative, Importer or Staff will be behind the counter to discuss the wine and why it was chosen for this movie. Join our email list thorugh this site to stay tuned to the movie schedule and wine selection.

Oh wait, did you want another glass of wine or beer?!

-A glass of wine:$5

-A bottle of local beer: $3.

With seconds, $13 to $15 TOPS.  With seconds for two: $28.

In an economy where it is hard to save money and still have fun, Metro Wines is the answer.  Choose MetroWines!

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Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month. What's it all about?

March is Women’s History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

About Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week."  Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as "Women’s History Week."  In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month."  Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.  Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”  

From the Law Library of Congress' guide to the legislative history of Women's History Month.

Executive and Legislative Documents

The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Women’s History Month.

In celebration, we suggest Frappato from Valle Dell'Acate,                             Gaetana Jacono Gola, Winemaker.

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     "Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world," Eric Asimov, August 14, 2013  "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. $16.99 @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.

     Gaetana Jacono runs the wine estate representing the 6th generation of wine makers at Valle dell'Arcate. 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.

 

 

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Almost FREE Friday, March 7th

THE WHITE:

YELLOW BLUE WINES

Founded by Matthew Cain, Yellow Blue Wines is a leader in the new way of the wine world. After 15 years in the wine industry including a decade working with renowned wine importer Kermit Lynch, Cain decided the wine business was in need of an overhaul. With financial and environmental costs of wine making increasing by the day, Cain embarked on a plan to bring top quality organic wines to market at reasonable prices and with minimal negative impact on the environment. The result is Yellow Blue Wines. Why the name? Because, Cain says, when you mix the two together, you get green, as in, he says, "environmentally conscious, forward thinking and committed to positive change."

With the high cost of fuel driving up shipping charges, Cain solved the problem by partnering with organic wineries and packaging wines in light weight, recyclable, unbreakable boxes. Cain says he hopes to change the world "one box at a time." 

Sustainable Chardonnay

The color is golden yellow. The aroma is mineral, apple and lime. The taste is full yet elegant with fine acidity and a lingering complex finish. And the region is Lodi, between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With a classic Mediterranean climate, the break out wine star Lodi makes for wines that are full bodied and balanced.

There is no better choice for traveling!  But the truth is, this wine can be served at the table anytime. The bottom line is that this is good wine "screaming good" according to Klimpton Hotels Wine Director, in a box.

Les Terrasses d'Eole, Cotes du Ventoux Red Rhone Wine

A deep purple color, this wine presents blackberry, cracked pepper and will take you on a walk through a wet forest. Like most Rhone Wines, it would be hard to find a dish Ventoux did not like!

Ventoux?  According to Wine-Searcher:

Ventoux Wine

Cotes du Ventoux is a large wine appellation of south-eastern France, renamed simply Ventoux in October 2009.

Located 25 miles (40km) northeast of Avignon, in the far southeast of the country, Mont Ventoux looks down over the wine-producing areas of the Rhone Valley to the west and Provence to the south and east. The mountain (often referred to as 'The Giant of Provence') stands alone from the Alps mountain range, of which it is technically a part, and towers over the landscape for miles around. On the western slopes and foothills of this iconic mountain, in an area roughly 30 miles (50km) from north to south and covering 51 parishes, are the vineyards of the Cotes du Ventoux appellation.

Mont Ventoux – an iconic Rhone landmark
(© Christophe Grilhé)

Wines have been made here since the 1st Century AD and have been consumed (and written about) by popes and kings throughout the centuries. The official AOC Cotes du Ventoux appellation was created just before the harvest of 1973, for the red, white and rosé wines of the area.

The wines made under the Cotes du Ventoux appellation are very similar to those of the Cotes du Rhone title and employ much the same combination of grape varieties. The classic southern Rhone red varieties of GrenacheSyrahand Mourvedre are used in the production of most of these wines, with Cinsaut andCarignan also used to a smaller extent. The area does produce some white wines (from ClairetteBourboulenc and Grenache Blanc, with the occasional use ofRoussanne) but these are far outweighed by reds and rosés.

The style of these wines varies according to their encépagement (the French term for a specific combination of grape varieties) and the terroir from which they originate. The style is overall one of lighter, fruit-driven wines, reflecting the increased altitudeand slightly cooler mesoclimates that the Ventoux slopes provide. The intense southern French sunshine that covers the south- and west-facing slopes of Ventoux helps the wines to achieve a good level of phenolic ripeness, while the cooler temperatures moderate this effect and grant the grapes extended hang time. Grapes grow so well here that the Muscat produced for table grapes has its own AOC Muscat du Ventoux appellation.

As with appellations and regions all over France, there has been a recent increase in investment and experimentation in the area, resulting in wines of higher quality from several Cotes du Ventoux producers.

 

COMEDY Friday

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March 7th  Headliner is Knoxville's Matthew Chadourne, winner of 2013 Rocky Top Comedy Contest.  Justin Blackburn of Greenville, SC will also bring his comedy to  MetroWines on Friday. 7pm. $10. Plenty of free parking.

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Galea Schiava 2011 Red

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Galea is from way UP yonder in Italy, so far way UP that the area is called SudTirol. This is a German speaking Italian red wine from Alto Adige, where we find Kofferhoff Pinot Grigio You will recall that this area, protected by the Alps in the north and warmed by the Mediterranean from the south, offers cooler climate grapes. Why do we care?  Because cooler climate reds make great food wines. The characteristic lighter body and higher acidity works it! The acidity acts as a natural palate cleanser preparng your palate for the next bite. This version of the Schiava grape drinks just a bit like a cold climate Pinot Noir. Lighter in color and body, Galea offers raspberry, tart cherries, rose petals and something earthy (your call !!) on the palate.  Oak barrel aging tames the chill of the vineyard and brings us a red that can work salmon or chicken, any Meditteranean fare and plays well with hebs that talk back. At 13% alcohol, this is a MetroWines Bottle for Dinner.

 

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White Bordeaux, Chateau Magneau 2012

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With all due respect to the varietal, a White Bordeaux can be a little, shall we say, light, flavorless, pedestrian, boring, thin, limp, deceptive...OK we went too far there but you get the point. To summarize, White Bordeaux can be why bother. Chateau Magneau is one of only three versions of White Bordeaux we carry for all the aforementioned reasons! Imported by highly regarded Wine Traditions, this bottle is in the classic style. Intense aromas of wet stone, citrus, juniper and rosemary go palate in a creamier way than most bottles of White Bordeaux. Why? Come on by the shop. We have to have some secrets!
 
From Chateau Magneau:

Graves wines, like the region, are seldom obvious, they tend to be undramatic, undemanding and gentle; with much that may be revealed to the discriminating.  -  Wines of the Graves, Pamela Vandyke Price

Today, Graves is one of Bordeaux’s most dynamic areas. The biggest revolution has occurred in the quality of Graves dry white wines. Graves white are now more aromatic, fresh and well made; some of them with a distinctly exotic edge, with tropical fruit and a New World tang. -  The Bordeaux Atlas, H. Duijker & M. Broadbent

The Graves region is often referred to as ‘the cradle of Bordeaux wine’ and has been described as a beauty asleep in her woods and forests. Since the Middle Ages, the city of Bordeaux and its outlying areas have had vineyards and these areas are today part of the Graves appellation. The appellation’s reputation owes much to Chateau Haut Brion which was well known by the early 17th century. Our own Thomas Jefferson, speaking of the Graves white wines, wrote in the late 18th century “those made in the canton of Graves are most esteemed at Bordeaux”. Since then the fame and fortune of the Graves has been eclipsed by the Medoc region with which it shares its geological origin, namely beds of gravel soil washed upstream from the Pyrenees. To the west, the forests of the Landes shelter the Graves region from the Atlantic Ocean. It is, though, to the eastern shore along the Garonne river that the world’s attention turns. It is here, on a fairly narrow strip of land between the river bank and the encroaching forest that one finds vineyards that for centuries have supplied wines to popes, kings, presidents and more importantly, now to us all.

Château Magneau is an ancient property that has been run by the Ardurat family since before the reign of Henri IV. It is located in the historic commune of La Brède, a mile from the historic moated castle where Montesquieu was born. Today, Chateau Magneau is run by Henri Ardurats and his two sons Jean-Louis and Bruno along with Jean-Louis’ wife, Brigitte, who is responsible for the sales. Jean-Louis is in charge of the vineyards as well as the winemaking. He continually works on the expression of his wines by farming parcels of land individually and then vinifying each separately according to its intrinsic character. A modern winery was built in 1980 and a new barrel cellar in 1996. From one generation to the next, the Ardurats have passed on the philosophy of “quality before profit" and they have been recognized by an exhaustive list of awards. In 2002, they received the Trophée des Crus de Graves, an award which is given by colleagues and which recognizes only a few chateaux from the entire appellation. The Ardurats farm 41 hectares of land with deep gravelly soil in the heart of the Graves appellation. Farming is done without the use of chemical insecticides and harvesting is done both by hand and by machine. Before entering the winery all grape bunches are hand sorted to insure the highest quality of fruit. The Ardurats are a member of Terra Vitis, an organization that certifies the practice of sustainable agriculture as well as high standards for the wine’s vinification.

Graves Blanc

Generally, Bordeaux wines, both white and red, illustrate the art of blending and the Chateau Magneau Graves Blanc is a fine example of this. The wine is made from 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The Muscadelle used in a small proportion gives the wine an extroverted and inviting bouquet. The Semillon offers both ripe stone fruit flavors and a rich texture on the palate. The Sauvignon Blanc adds melon and citric flavors and provides a clean citric finish to the wine. Not one of these varieties on their own could create such a progression of flavors or balance of textures. Each variety is fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to preserve the grapes’ aromatic qualities. The wine is blended and bottled before the spring of the following year. The Chateau Magneau succeeds particularly because it obtains complexity without sacrificing subtlety or elegance.

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Mardi Gras!

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Last year in DC just before the Mystic Krewe of Biscuits

rolled around my block. 

That's my Mardi Gras hat. Versatile.

You can wear it or shread it!

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Sail On Sasha

We lost one of ours today. Sasha, (Roof Top Silvey) the pretty girl with the the red collar, passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Sasha was rescued and LOVED by Rich and Jerrie in Chicago. Gone too soon but she could not have had a better life or a fmaily who loved her more. Sail on Sasha. You will be missed everyday. Cate and Bandit

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Tessellae Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2011

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From Eric Solomon Selections, Wine Spectator gave Tessellae  91 points. A  deep rose color with an ever so slight bluish cast, layers of dark blue fruit on the palate finishing with a wild taste reminicient of Dean and DeLucca prosciutto.  The label will call to mind the pointillism style of French artist Georges Seurat. Class act, inside and out. 

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91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

  The 2011 Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Cotes Catalanes is 100% Carignan aged in concrete tanks (80%) and demi-muids (20%). From 70-year-old Carignan vines planted in schist soils, it displays copious notes of blueberries, raspberries, spring flowers and damp forest floor. The fragrant aromatics are followed by a lush, gorgeously textured, medium-bodied, elegant, complex wine that should provide plenty of pleasure over the next 3-4 years. Jean-Marc Lafage and importer Eric Solomon fashioned these special cuvees, which are only available through European Cellars in the United States. 

Wine Advocate 91
"Lafage’s 2011 Carignan Vieilles Vignes Tessellae – like the corresponding pure Grenache, grown in Les Aspres – offers ripe scents and palate-staining intensity and persistence of blackberry and mulberry on a polished palate, yet one with crunch of berry seeds and a nutty-vegetal ping akin to lentil sprouts administering welcome invigoration and counterpoint. Like so many of Lafage’s reds, this manages to combine fullness and sweet ripeness with vivacity, buoyancy and downright refreshment not to mention its offering sensational value. It should remain delightful through at least 2016."~DS

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3124 Hits

Lillet, James Bond and You

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Before we go to Bond, James Bond, lets just talk Lillet. A few years back, some publication decided that Sean Connery was not just the best looking man of 19?? or the decade, or the century for that matter, but the best looking man ever EVER in the world. Now that is heavy. So, it makes sense that this guy, even in character as Bond, James Bond would drink Lillet. The publication said most men want to BE Bond, James Bond, this Sean Connery James Bond, and most women want to be with him. Hmmmmm. The sheer elegance of this seemless blend of floral aromas and citrus flavors with noticeable lemon and orange peel, is so much more than a taste apart, it is an experience. Lillet cannot change the facts on the ground, as they say, but Lillet can and does  surround you in glamor.

Since 1887, Lillet has been made in the village of Podensac just 20 miles south of Bordeaux. The carefully selected wines are blended together with fruits and herbs to make this fortified wine. To bring up the bouquet, serve Lillet chilled in a traditional Bordeaux glass. Most often served as an aperitif, discover, as the label says, "the versatility of Lillet." Dry. Stunning. Elegant. Glamorous.

 From wiki:

The drink was invented and named by fictional secret agent James Bond in the 1953 novel Casino Royale.

"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'm...er...concentrating," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
Ian FlemingCasino Royale, Chapter 7, "Rouge et Noir'

Fleming continues with Bond telling the barman, after taking a long sip, "Excellent ... but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better," and then adds in an aside, "Mais n'enculons pas des mouches"[1] (English: But let's not bugger flies—a vulgar French expression meaning "let's not split hairs").

Bond in the next chapter, "Pink Lights and Champagne", names it the Vesper. At the time of his first introduction to the beautiful Vesper Lynd, he obtains her name in a perfect «interrogation indirecte», "I was born in the evening,..on a very stormy evening..," and asks to borrow it.

Vesper differs from Bond's usual cocktail of choice, the martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of the usual dry vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive. Although there is a lot of discussion on the Vesper, it is only ordered once throughout Fleming's novels - although Bond drinks the Vesper ("six of them") in the film Quantum of Solace - and by later books Bond is ordering regular vodka martinis, though he also drinks regular gin martinis. It may be that Fleming decided not to have Bond order a Vesper again due to the way in which 'Casino Royale' ends.

In actuality the book version of the Vesper was created by Fleming's friend Ivar Bryce. In Bryce's copy of Casino Royale Fleming inscribed "For Ivar, who mixed the first Vesper and said the good word." In his book You Only Live Once, Bryce details that Fleming was first served a Vesper, a drink of a frozen rum concoction with fruit and herbs, at evening drinks by the butler of an elderly couple in Jamaica, the Duncans, the butler commenting, "'Vespers' are served." Vespers or evensong is the sixth of the seven canonical hours of the divine office and are observed at sunset, the 'violet hour', Bond's later chosen hour of fame for his martini Vesper.[2]

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Roaring Meg, New Zealand Pinot Noir

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Before we go to the winery notes, let's talk Roaring Meg on location @MetroWines. To be honest, and we strive to do that!!, Yours Truly was last to taste Roaring Meg. It was an early "Kendal's Pick" and John also raved about it. We tasted Roaring Meg at the shop during our BIG blow out Pinot Noir sale last month. Of all the Pinot Noirs on the shelf (and, as you know, we have quite the collection) Roaring Meg was a clear favorite.

On the nose, you find what I would call rolling cherry and plum aromas. The palate is intense, but not stinging, with red and black fruit and a touch of oak spice and something just a little different from the French, Oregon and California Pinot Noirs. That is to say, the taste is a true reflection of the New Zealand terroir. All this plus soft tannins, balanced acidity and a fruit driven finish earned Roaring Meg 88 Points from Wine Spectator.

OK. Rave reviews and a staff favorite. But it was not until about two weeks ago that I opened the bottle for the Mixed Leftovers Meal Test. Roaring Meg pulled the dishes which ranged from sesame pasta to brussels sprouts to an Indian fish wrap comfortably together. Majestic Wine in Great Britain says: "This is a crackling, complex wine to be enjoyed over the next 5 years. Enjoy with pork loin and peach chutney or rabbit cassarole." Without debating the culinary skills of the British, I rest my case, Roaring Meg goes with just about everything, inluding a soft chair by the fire and a good book!

ROARING MEG
PINOT NOIR 2012

This wine highlights the slightly cooler season with lovely perfumed dark red forest berries and cherry fruits along with a hint of dried herb, adding complexity. The wine has a sweet berry entry which displays these same characters in abundance. Lovely ripe textural tannins rise gracefully out of the mid-palate to finish the wine. These are balanced by the wine’s acidity and fruit, to produce a long fruit-driven finish.

CELLARING POTENTIAL

Roaring Meg Pinot Noir will improve for 3-5 years given optimal vintage and cellaring conditions.

VINTAGE 2012

After an ideal dry winter and a cool wet early spring, the only significant blemish on the 2012 vintage was the advection frost that hit our higher elevation Lowburn blocks in early November and dramatically impacted their crop levels. However, the season from that point on was nigh on a perfect cool season. Later in summer is traditionally our warmest period, but this year the extreme heat happened through Christmas and January, and then the weather cooled to merely ‘pleasantly warm’. It was dry for the most part; interspersed with short rain events happening at times where the moisture posed little threat. Early autumn was not looking auspicious with cooler temperatures and more rainfall than normal when a fantastic Indian summer finished the season off beautifully. Harvest came in two weeks later than usual due to the cooler overall temperatures, which brought a focused flavour profile with good natural acidity levels. It was a normal yielding year, and we have some very interesting wines in the cellar.

WINEMAKING CONSIDERATIONS

The grapes for this wine come from Cromwell basin vineyards managed by our viticultural team. Our harvest this year was later than usual with our first fruit harvested on the 12th April and finishing up on the 5th May. The fruit was all destemmed to enhance the natural fruit characters of the Cromwell Basin. The grapes stayed in the fermentor on average for a total of 26 days, with temperatures peaking at 29-300C. The wine was plunged once daily during pre-fermentation and twice daily during fermentation. When the wine tasted in harmony it was pressed off to French oak where it resided on lees for 10 months. It underwent malolactic fermentation during early spring, was racked out of barrel in mid-summer with filtration prior to bottling.

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Poggio Anima Uriel 2012

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Been to Coquete in New Orleans? Cafe Murano on St. James Street in London? Ciao in Houston, The Robin Hood Hotel in Australia, The Spread in Norwalk, Connecticut, winner of 2014 Best New Restaurant? How about Bocca di Lupo at Picadilly Circus, winner of the 2013 Tatler Restaurant Award for "Best Wine List" in London? Well if you had been to any of these fine establishments lately, you would have seen Poggio Anima URIEL on the wine list. There's a reason why URIEL is in demand across Europe, in this country and points beyond!! This is Sicilian. This is Grillo. This is a dry white grape. This is a white wine to write home about!

Grillo, the most important white grape in Sicily is made URIEL using the vertical trellis system in sandy and clay rich soil on the western slopes of Sicily. The grape can stand the heat and wind at the vineyard sitting 1600 feet above sea level. Grillo characteristically prodcues a wine that is light and crisp rich in peach and apricot aromas and flavors. URIEL is no exception to this wine rule but it distinquishes itself with extraordinary balanced acidity and a full, round palate. With a light perfume that surrounds you, URIEL drifts beyond the table offering an all encompassing experience. $15.99.

Winemaker's Notes:

Uriel, the archangel of repentance. Uriel played a very important role in ancient texts as the rescuer of Jesus' cousin John the Baptist from the Massacre of the Innocents ordered by King Herod. The translation of Uriel is ‘God of Light.’ Uriel was the angel who checked each of the doors during the Passover in order to ensure safety for God’s people. Grillo, also known as Riddu, is a very resilient grape and one that withstands a lot of heat and wind on Sicily. It is probably best known as the foundation for Marsala but in its ‘dry’ form has many interesting characteristics. It is the most important white grape on Sicilty and therefore the ‘principal light.’

The vineyards are located in Western Sicily, in the Salemi area at about 25 miles from Marsala. They are planted east facing following the vertical trellis system on sandy and clay rich soil, using guyot pruning. At an altitude of around 1,600 feet above sea level, they are about 15 years old.

After de-stemming and maceration for a few hours, the grapes are subject to soft-press before fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. The wine is then left on its lees for about a couple of weeks before being bottled.

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4045 Hits

ASINEL 2012

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ASINEL 2012 Piemonte D.O.C. Bianco

The winery says: "the Piedmont Wine Project is a new approach to interpreting the classic appeal of the Italian region's indigenous varietals in a blend with great potential."

Tech Sheet

APPELLATION:
Piedmont D.O.C.

VARIETALS:
Cortese 50% – Arneis 35% – Moscato d’Asti secco 15%

VINIFICATION:
Lots of wine carefully selected from various producers in diverse areas of Piedmont, vinified entirely in stainless steel and aged on the lees for around 4 months.

ORGANOLEPTIC PROFILE:
Bright straw yellow with light greenish reflections. Intense aromas of peach, apricot, orange blossoms, chamomile and sage.

Delicate taste, not “hot”, slightly sweet with a good fresh acidity.

PAIRING AND DRINKING RECOMMENDATIONS:
Perfect to pair with hors d’oeuvres, cold appetizers and fish dishes.

Best to drink young (within the first 2-3 years) at 10°C /50°F.

OK. So, there you have the philosophy and winemaker details. Now, the bottom, most drinkable line. The truth is that Yours Truly wanted to buy this wine for the shop, initially, initially I say!!!! because of the label. The shock of seeing a chatreuse green donkey on the label of an Italian wine and, even more, seeing this almost 60's mod looking image next to the standard operating oh so traditional family crests and stately labels that front the rest of the Italian wine section is jarring. Yours Truly was outvoted. No sale. We did, we confess, me too, in the end, hesitate to bring ASINEL into the shop despite the high quality and engaging flavor profile. We were wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Don't let the label get you to thinking that this is anything less than serious wine business. 

From his centuries old winery, highly regarded winemaker, Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo went his own way on this one defying the restrictive protocols and the weight of tradition that IS Italian winemaking to produce this most pleasant, drinkable and unusual, off the grid blend. And this is what the label is all about, recognition of this avant garde approach. Straw yellow in the glass, the MetroWines Tasting Panel found very discernible peach and apricot on the nose and palate. Andy Hale, our in house sommelier, says: "Because of the nose which brought to mind Sauterne, I thought the wine might be sweet, but it is decidedly dry. Aromatic, yes. But dry." This is a medium bodied wine with good fruit, a delightful and consistent floral presence, and dry to the finish. This wine exceeds the cost and, admit it, we did!!!, your expectations. And, of course, the name:

title-asinel

(pronounced phonetically “azee – nel”)
The origin of the wine’s name and the imagine on the label play on several aspects. The literal meaning of asinel is two-fold: in the Piedmont dialect “asinel” means both “donkey” and “grape”.
Obviously without grapes, we cannot produce wine, but we chose the face of a cute donkey to illustrate the historical and traditional importance the animal had to the farmers’ work in the vineyards.

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3845 Hits