Owner of Metro Wines

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Hey, Shop Dogs want to celebrate The Beatles and Valentines Day. One of our favorite songs, "I Want to Hold your Hand." Perfect. What's better. OK. Maybe a biscuit. But in the end........

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Happy Valentine's Day Week,

                          Your Shop Dogs, Cate and Bandit

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Almost FREE Friday Red, 1/7

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Pepper Pot

From the Western Cape in South Africa, this wine is 72% Syrah, 7% Mourvedre, 7% Tannat, 7% Grenache,7% Cinsault and is our Lonely Grape Red today. Seriously, this blend has at least 3 lonely grapes! 

"Five robust components - imaginatively blended to create one gutsy wine. The Pepper Pot. Inspired by the unique culinary traditions of our rainbow nation to bring you a heady yet harmonious blend of plucky pepper, piquant spice and radiant red berry flavors. Proving that in wine, as it is in life, the whole is far greater than the sum of parts. Sealed under a screw cap to insure quality." $14.99

And critical acclaim from our favorite reviewer: 89 Points - International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013  "Bright ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of black raspberry, smoke and game are lifted by a peppery quality. Fat, sweet and rich, but with sound acidity giving shape and verve to the concentrated black fruit and gunflint flavors. Finishes with a solid tannic spine. This makes the 2011 seem a bit dry by comparison. An excellent value." -Stephen Tanzer

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Almost FREE Friday 2/7

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Mondavi Chardonnay

Say what you want about Mondavi but it was Robert Mondavi who broke ground in Napa blending the best of modern and traditonal wine making methods from France revolutionizing California winemaking. Mondavi has maintained a consistent quality for decades. Just because Mondavi is BIG, and he is, does not mean the wines are bad.  Many years ago, yours truly met Michael Mondavi at a lunch in Baltimore. Besdies his striking good looks and charm, he was clearly passionate about winemaking and the family name. Read: we won't put "Mondavi" on just any bottle. On the lighter side, he also said that being a Mondavi is the best of all celebrity worlds. No one knows him on sight on the street but call for a restaurant reservation under the name Mondavi, well, you get the point. Gina

Kendal says this about this Chardonnay: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay is grown in the cool climate of the southern Napa Valley. It delights the palate with fresh pear and ferment in barrel as well as in stainless steel to maintain brightness. French oak-barrel-gaing, including sur lie aging, creates a memorable creamy texture. 

Bright, enticing fruity aromas-Juicy Honeycrisp apple, citrus-laced Asian pear, ripe melon and fresh quince- are intermingles with vanilla scented creme brulee, subtle minterality, and traces of warm hazelnut and clove. These elements segue seamlessly to the palate, offering a lush creamy mouth feel impeccably balanced by crisp, mouthwatering acidity.

Over $20 elsewhere in town, we offer this bottle of Napa Valley Chardonnay from Mondavi at $10 on Almost FREE Friday. THIS is Mondavi!!! Say what you want about Mondavi but say it with respect.

 

 

 

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Noble Hill Winery Bloem White 2013

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From the Western Cape of South Africa, this wine is an engaging blend of 65% Chenin Blanc, 24% Viognier and 11% Sauvignon Blanc. The Winemaker says: The South African Winelands lie at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest, most biodiverse of the world's six floral kingdoms. Bloem, which is derived from the Dutch word for "flower," captures the essence of this unique and dynamic ecosystem with crisp, refreshing fruit aromas and clean, creamy flavors.

If you recall from last week's epidisode, we discussed how it is often that 10% of a varietal blended in  that makes all the difference. And so it is here. The 11% Sauvigonon Blanc blended into Bloem offers just the right herbal touch. I know. I know. Even at just 11%, Sauvignon Blanc must be approached with skepticism. It can take over! But not here. Here, it served up just a hint of chamomile that made this blend sing. The Chenin Blanc is the backbone here providing the body and structure and the Viognier gives us the floral quality of which the name speaks. Crisp and clean, this dry white wine presents apple, spice, and chamomile on the palate.  Nice. Just nothing to dislike here including the price at $11.99. Served at Asheville's hottest new restaurant, LEX18!!

 

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Shop Dogs SuperBowl Message

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Game Day!!! Beer and wine bottles all over the floor! The licking is good today. Nancho plates left abandoned! Chicken wings between the cushions! Chips. Chips. Chips just everywhere! It is a scavenger's paradise. It's game day, baby. This is a picture of our friend, Buster, taken last year. We suspect you will see him again this way this year.

 We are monitoring the big sellers for this year. Looks like Green Man in bottles, Shania Monastrell in a box, and Pillar Box Red Shiraz Blend from Australia are leading the pack. But, this pitiful photo of Buster reminds us to remind you that a great game day is based on safety first. Please drink responsibly. And secure your four legged family members. And as much as we don't like to say it: be careful not to leave too much around that they can get into. Be safe everyone. Happy Game Day!

Your Shop Dogs, Cate and Bandit

PS: We Are open noon to 5pm today!!

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Educated Guess 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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"Educated Guess" 2011 is 100% Napa with 90% of the grapes grown in Rutherford and St. Helena. the blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 % Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The label is meant to suggest the thought process that goes into making wine and selecting wine.

From the winery Roots Run Deep with some commentary by us.

Why "Educated Guess?"  Have you ever found yourself in a wine shop or restaurant persuing the wines and owndering...how do I shoose the best wine for the money? (Two things here: First, shop Metro Wines and our knowledgable staff will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. But in the case where you are off campus and must "guess," we suggest that you choose a wine from a winery or an importer that you like. Chances are if you like a wine imported by Kermit Lynch, you will probably like other wines in his porfolio and if you like red wines from ZOLO, there is a good chance you will like the white wines.) You may admire a label or regonize a name, or recall a great review...in essence you're making an "Educated Guess." That is exactly what goes in on the vineyards and wineries around the world. When should we pick the grapes? should we barrel age in French Oak?  Will our customers like the package? We use our knowledge, intuition and years of experience to make the best decisions; however, at the end of the day, it still remains an "Educated Guess." At Roots Run Deep Winery, we have done the Guesswork for you. (Ditto: At Metro Wines, we have done the Educated Guesswork in stocking our shelves and can be further specific for your particular interests.) This Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the richest, ripest and most complex Cabernet you can buy for the money. So, don't settle for less, buy the "Educated Guess."  (Smartly built, serious, with ripe black fruit and a bit of sweet oak with an easy finish all made to be food friendly, we agree. And that is NOT a guess!)

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Game Day Wines and Recipes

Three great GameDay Wines that will pair with most football food fests! And just because we can, we thought it would be great to add a beer in there too! And if you don't already have your GameDay Reicpes, page down for a few from the Asheville Citizen Times.

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Woop Woop

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. 

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.

 

Pillar Box Red

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From the Padthaway region of Australia “The 2010 Pillar Box Red has Brooding, blackberry fruit and dried mint aromas intermingle with dark chocolate, licorice spice, hints of pepper and cedary oak on the nose. The palate exhibits flavors of fresh black and blueberry fruit, toasted dark spice and hints of spearmint. A seamless wine; displaying balance and a fine, long tannin structure.”

This wine is matured for a period of 12 months, 30% of the volume with oak using 90% French & 10% American Oak. Ideally served at room temperature, it matches well with a variety of full flavored dishes - it is a great everyday wine. Wine spectator says “Velvety and ripe, offering dark berry and licorice flavors that glide smoothly through the finish. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2015.”

And got 89 points from Wine Advocate! 

AND NOW FOR METRO WINES FUN FACT OF THE DAY!!

Pillar Box Red is named after the 19th-century mail coach service that ran through the pastoral property in Padthaway on which the large vineyard is situated.

 

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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.

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.

Greenman ESB

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And to be on the safe side we chose to add a beer on our Super Bowl List. We decided to include Greenman ESB because this beer is a local FAVORITE and you cannot find anywhere, except for here at Metro Wines and Fresh Market. 

A malty amber ale boasting rich toasted and caramel flavors, Green Man ESB is one of our award-winning signature brews. Our blend of authentic British malts and hops creates a nutty aroma, full body, and a sweet finish. Prepare yourself for a truly exceptional interpretation of a traditional English style

Asheville Citizen Times Recipes 

BEST GUACAMOLE RECIPE EVER: Courtesy of the California Avocado Council.4 ripe Haas avocados seeded and peeled 
3 limes, juice only 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
1 medium white onion, chopped fine 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 
1/8 teaspoon cumin 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
Pinch sugar 
1 serrano chile, chopped fine 
1 bunch cilantro, chopped. Place avocados in a bowl and mash with a fork. Immediately mix in remaining ingredients; serve immediately.

SWEET AND SPICY GRILLING SAUCE: A sweet sauce for chicken wings, beef skewers or pork ribs. Makes 1 3/4 cups. 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil) 
2 small shallots, peeled and minced (about 3 tablespoons) 
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced 
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger root 
1 cup dry sherry 
2/3 cup buckwheat honey 
1/2 cup soy sauce 
2 tablespoon water 
2 tablespoon cornstarch 
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan; add shallots and garlic; cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add ginger and cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Add honey and sherry and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Combine the soy, water and cornstarch in a small bowl; add to pan with hoisin sauce. Cook and stir for several minutes more until slightly thickened. Remove half of the sauce to a small bowl and set aside. Brush remaining sauce over pork ribs, beef skewers or chicken during last 5 minutes of grilling. Place reserved bowl of sauce on the table to drizzle over the cooked meat.

GAME-DAY RIBS: 1/2 cup salt 
1/4 cup paprika 
2 tablespoons black pepper 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2 tablespoons white pepper 
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated or powdered onion 
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated or powdered garlic 
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional) 
4 full racks of baby back or spareribs 
Barbecue sauce (recipe at right). Combine all ingredients except ribs in mixing bowl. Rub ribs with mixture of all other ingredients generously and place in refrigerator overnight. In a preheated, 300-degree oven, cook seasoned ribs in a tightly covered baking pan for 2 1/2 or until you can poke your finger through the meat. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut ribs into individual portions and place in refrigerator until it's time to cook. Makes 12 servings. At game time, coat ribs with Game-Day Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows) and place on hot grill to reheat and caramelize sauce. Source: Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, and www.footballtownusa.com.

BARBECUE SAUCE: 1 1/2 cups ketchup 
1 cup Coca-Cola Classic 
1/4 pound butter (1 stick) 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed 
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
Salt, pepper, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper and garlic to taste 
Combine all ingredients in saucepan; simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in a jar and refrigerate for next time. Can be served with beef, chicken, pork or just about any other kind of meat. It also works well as a dipping sauce for bread. Source: Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, and www.footballtownusa.com.

LUELLA'S PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD: 1 pound grated Hoop Cheddar cheese 
1 1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise 
1/4 cup roasted red pepper diced, or 3-ounce jar pimento 
1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce 
Pinch Salt 
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours before serving. This recipe can adapted for a hot dip by whipping 6 ounces cream cheese together with chilled pimento cheese. Heat in a shallow baking dish. Stir well before serving.

MOE'S BROCCOLI CASSEROLE: 5 eggs 
2 pounds fresh broccoli florets (or one 2-pound bag of frozen) 
1 small onion, batonette cut (thick matchstick) 
1 can cream of mushroom soup 
3 cups blended cheese 
1 tablespoon spoon kosher salt 
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Add cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper. Whisk thoroughly. Cut broccoli into 1/2 inch pieces. Add broccoli, onions, and cheese into mixture. Place mixture into greased pan. Press broccoli into mixture until wet ingredients rise to the top of the broccoli. Cover with foil. Bake at 400 until casserole sets up. Remove foil, and top with 1 cups of cheese and cook an additional 15 minutes until cheese melts.

 

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Almost FREE Friday January 31st

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This wine, at $10.49 and 12.5% alcohol, can sit on your table everyday. Cetamura is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo. Sometimes, it is that 10% Merlot that makes Cabernet Sauvignon sing, or that 10% Syrah that makes Grenache sing or 10% Marsanne that makes Viognier sing, or...you get the point. And in this case, it is the 10% Canaiolo that sets this Sangiovese apart.  But just what is Canaiolo? Credit to wine-searcher.com for this discussion:

Canaiolo is a black-skinned Tuscan grape variety that was the main constituent of the Chianti blend up until the late 19th Century. It is still grown today throughout central Italy, and used as a blending grape in a wide range of Sangiovese-based wines. Just a handful of varietal Canaiolo wines are produced, although interest in the largely-forgotten variety is increasing.

Canaiolo was once extensively planted in Tuscany, LazioMarche and Sardinia, and it still exists, to a limited extent, in these regions. Canaiolo’s downfall was largely due to its resistance to grafting to American rootstock, so it was not commonly replanted after Tuscany’s vines were decimated by the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th Century.

Canaiolo
Canaiolo Grapes
© MIPAAF

However, Canaiolo has been of considerable importance historically inChianti. In the days before electricity and temperature-controlled fermentation, winemakers were much more vulnerable to inclement weather; if external temperatures plummeted during the crucial fermentation phase then the winemaker risked losing the entire production of wine.

One of Canaiolo’s great strengths is its ability to dry without rotting, and winemakers in Chianti soon learned that a ferment that had been prematurely arrested by cold weather could be reinvigorated by adding a portion of semi-dried grapes to the tank. The extra sugar of the semi-dried Canaiolo grapes would kick-start the ferment again and save the harvest. Some even argue that Canaiolo is the grape responsible for the development of Chianti wine.

Canaiolo makes for soft and mellow wine with elegant aromatics and gentle tannins. It blends exceptionally well with Sangiovese and can accent herbaceous flavors found in the Chianti blend.

A white wine sub-variety called Canaiolo Bianco is grown in Umbria, where it is known as Drupeggio and used in the Orvieto blend.

Winemaker's Notes:

Cetamura is the name of an Etruscan settlement on the Badia a Coltibuono property. This wine was conceived with the intention of creating a young, pleasant wine, perfect for every day. With this objective in mind, we select the best Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes from various sub-zones of Chianti to express the typical freshness and accessibility of these varieties.

The wine is a bright, intense red color with the essence of cherries and ripe wild berries in the nose. A soft, balanced, full-flavored wine with good structure. Well-balanced acidity accompanied by a long clean finish.

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From the winery:

Made from grapes grown in some of California's finest cool-climate vineyards, Monevina Chardonnay is rich, golden hued wine with seductive aormas of tart apples and figs. Crisp flavors of tropical fruit and ripe pear are layered with hints of vanilla bean and toasted almonds for added dimension. Bright acidity balances the rich flavors and makes our Chardonnay food friendly.

You will find an intense nose or, as the winery says, "seductive," of apples and citrus with oak and melon on the palate. But mostly, you will be taken in by the creaminess that give the wine a depth and come hither quality. Add a taste of vanilla bean and toasted almonds and you have an exceptional bottle for $10.99.

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Masciarelli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2012

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This wine, like the Montepulciano, is so very Italian, so real, so high quality, you can almost hear Pavarotti.  From Abruzzo east of Rome, this most drinkable, dry white Trebbiano presents the characteristics of the varietal on both the nose and palate: stone fruits and flowers. In the glass, the wine is a straw yellow with a greenish cast. The aroma is intense and enveloping offering apple, apricot and iris. Some of you may be thinking that Trebbiano is dull, bland, nothing to write home about. And, in all honesty, some could be so described. But this is Masciarelli!  Fermented and aged in controlled stainless steel casks, this Trebbiano is crisp, cool and worthy. Popular in London and throughout Europe and sold only by the case at many online retailers, this wine is a steal at $11.99. Buy a case! Hurry! the British are coming!

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The Whole Story from Masciarelli:

"Et però credo che molta felicità sia agli uomini che nascono dove si trovano i vini buoni." Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

The Azienda Agricola Masciarelli is estabilished in San Martino in 1978 by Gianni Masciarelli and starts producing wines in 1981. Today the Masciarelli winery is active in producing Wine, Extravirgin Olive Oil and it is also dedicated to Wine_Tourism tanks to the purchase and careful restauration of the Masciarelli Palace “Castello di Semivicoli”.

Gianni Masciarelli inherited from is grandfather Giovanni the passion for the vineyards and for wine. In the old cellar of his grandfather, who was producing small quantities of wine for his passion, Gianni Masciarelli started creating his wines. 

In 1987 Gianni met Marina Cvetic. From that meeting a personal and professional bond was born, and Marina by being side by side to Gianni soon impressed her personality to the winery, also participating to the creation of one of the most representative lines of Masciarelli, dedicate to her: the Marina Cvetic line, which today is part of the 4 wine lines, for total 14 labels: Masciarelli Classico (Montepulciano, Rosato, Trebbiano), Villa Gemma (Montepulciano, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Bianco), Marina Cvetić (Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon), Castello di Semivicoli (Trebbiano, Rosso Terre Aquilane) and Iskra (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo), for a total yearly production of more than 2 million bottles. 

Marina Cvetic is today the main representative of the winery. From the marriage of Gianni and Marina Miriam, Chiara e Riccardo were born. 

From the 2.5 initial hectares, today the Masciarelli winery owns around 320 hectares, all cultivated with wineyards, scattered in 14 different towns in the 4 Abruzzo provinces: Chieti, Teramo, Pescara e L’Aquila. They are wineyards with very specific characteristic, rich in minerals, set at different altitudes (from 200 to 500 meters), grown either with the traditional ‘pergola abruzzese’ cultivation system, and the guyot raws; they are vineyards exposed to the different weather conditions and with different soils (chalky, clayey, sandy, rock layers, pebbly, etc.) which therefore are producing specific and different expressions of the wine varieties and exalting their specific features. 

The heart of the winery is San Martino sulla Marrucina, a small village in Chieti province, located at 420 meters altitude, 20 kilometer distant from the Adriatic see and 20 kilometers distant from the peaks of the Majella mountain.

The village of San Martino is also known to be the ‘gun powder makers’ town. Its proud inhabitants were holding for generations the secret recipe of gun powder (made from sulphur, saltpetre and remains of vine stocks), thanks to which at the end of 1700 they were able to resist the assault from the Napoleon troups, who were trying to conquer the village.

Since the very beginning, Masciarelli was focusing on the potentials of the native wine varieties speaking the language of his people: Montepulciano and Trebbiano. In Masciarelli productive philosophy a great importance is given to the land and to its wine culture and tradition. The main passion of Gianni is Abruzzo, an extraordinary region, with intense flavours, tastes and scents that you can find in all its typical products: from pasta to wine, from extra-virgin olive oil to cheese, from meat to saffron, from truffles to pastries, to ventricina salami, to confetti. A land of artists and poets, (D’Annunzio, Tosti, Michetti, Cascella, Flaiano, Palizzi), in which the modern industrial area is coexisting with craftmanship and old traditions, still untouched.

- See more at: http://www.masciarelli.it/en/chisiamo/chisiamo.html?PHPSESSID=f49m59sbojqbvq7o8o6aq5mle6#sthash.qrrd8gxB.dpuf

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Masciarelli Montepulciano 2011

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Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2011

This wine will take you to Italy. This is about food, friends and family. This is what you might find in a pitcher on a blue and white checked table cloth in a small and warm trattoria with stone exposed walls off the beaten path. This is what should be on your table! While a new world wine, there is a bit of old world earthiness, bold color but soft flavor and gentle tannins. This medium bodied Montepulciano presents cherries and a smoky aroma that speaks of black tea. The palate blends concentrated flavors of ripe raspberry, strawberry, a little dark fruit and chocolate buried way down deep. This is a simple wine and simply Italian! 

The estate was founded in 1981 by Gianni Masciarelli, a pioneer wine producer in his native region of Abruzzo who raised the quality and reputation of the local grape varieties -the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. Masciarelli's wines, hich have earned numerous Gambero Rosso awards, appeal to expert and novice alike. The wines are worthy of the memory of Gianni, who worked tirelessly to secure his legacy as one of the true innovators in the Italian wine industry before his untimely passing in summer of 2008. Today, Masciarelli is the largest organically farmed estate in Italy.

 

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Scarpetta 2012 Barbera del Monferrato

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This ain't no disco! Don't let the, let's face it, adorable, label fool you. This is serious business. Scarpetta Winery is owned and operated by Bobby Stuckly, M.S. and Chef Lachan Patterson who are also the owners and creators of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Stuckly was the sommelier and Patterson the chef at the highly rated, internationally known, very difficult to get a reservation at, delicioso, Napa Valley French Laundry. The two teamed up and headed to Boulder to start their own place. Frasca is a restaurant inspired by the culture and cuisine of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy. Read all the above to say:  Stuckly and Patterson know their wine and food stuff!

Stuckly and Patterson worked with acclaimed winemaker Fabrizio Luli in Monferrato, Piedmonte to  give life to this Barbera which balance beam perfectly blends fruit, earth and acidity. Some of the best wines for the price come to us from the northwestern part of Italy, The Piedmont.  This Monferrato zone is well known and well regarded for Barbera, in fact, the grape may have its origin there. References to Barbera date back to the 13th century.  Style wise, compared to a Barbera from Asti or Alba, Monferrato Barbera is more aromatic and fruit-forward.

The grapes are fermented in stainless steel and then aged 12 months in neutral oak. Stuckly and Patterson say, and we agree, that this process results "in a wine that shows fruit and earth without bieng marked by wood." Bright plum red in color, the nose is crushed berries and plums with a hint of earth and, get this, porcini mushrooms. On the palate, expect black cherry with discenible stone and clay leading into a lingering finish.  Medium bodied with low tannins and bright acidity, Scarpetta Barbera is all about food from a thick pasta sauce to beef but also cuddling up to pork and duck very nicely. 

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Kofererhof Pinot Grigio, Eric Asimov and Me, Again

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Kofererhof Alto Adige Valle isarco Pinot Grigio 2012: LIMITED SUPPLY!!

Bone to pick with you Eric Asimov! Eric writes in The Pour, his NYT column this week, that "...pinot grigio, the best selling imported white, according to Nielsen, is barely tolerated by many of those whose job it is to sell it." OUCH. True, as we learned from previous postings here, pinot grigio was made popular through a mass marketing campaign which resulted in snuffing Soave as the best selling and most appreciated Italian White Wine in this country. But, that does not in and of itself make pinot grigio bad wine. Any grape can be mass produced. That said, at the end of the day, quality is about production. On the postive side, and might we say 'fair shake" side, Eric does like one of our top shelf pinot grigio wines, Kofererhof. Eric finds the wine has ripe, round fruit flavors with deep presence.

Just south of Germany at the northernmost point of Italy, the wine is made in South Tyrol.  Entirely located in The Alps, the area is mountainous. Very, very mountainous.  Kofererhof Pinot Grigio is farmed at 700 meters above sea level.  Here, in the Alto Adige, the blend of soils and climate is quite perfect for wine.  The Alpine continental climate is relatively mild and hosts over 300 days of sun each year.  The Alps to the north offer protection to the Alto Adige vineyards from the cold winds. To the south, the land is open allowing the warm air currents from Lake Garda and the Meditteranean to work their wine magic on the vineyards. Large temperature differentials between day and night, an average temperature of 64° during the growing phase, and sufficient precipitation additionally create the ideal conditions for high quality grapes...... And then the quality Kofererhof produciton kicks in.

The broad spectrum of soils in Alto Adige ranges from volcanic porphyry in Merano, Bolzano, and Kaltern to weathered primitive rock soils composed of quartz and mica in the Isarco Valley where Kofererhof Pinot Grigio is grown, to limestone and dolomite in the Bassa Atesina, to sandy marl south of Kurtatsch, offering just the right underlayer to each grape variety. Bravo.

The wine is fruit driven with a huge amount of minerality. With perfect acidity, Kofererhof is well balanced and incredibly complex. Reflecting its native cool climate, the wine is itself cool and crisp yet warm by virtue of its full body and intense fruit. To be honest, some of the Metro Wines Tasting Panel questioned the $27 price, questioned why people demand this wine. At least one of us thought the allure was about prestige or even a cult kind of calling! But that was then and this is now, a tasted it, recognized the extraordinary balance of it, contemplated it now. 

Winemaker's Notes:

Color: Straw yellow with green hints
Nose: Very intense and persistent, fruity, flowery, banana, citrus, acacia flowers, mineral notes
Flavor: Dry, fresh, full-bodied, quite intense, persistent, very long and fruity finish

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Merlot is a Lonely Grape

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Letter to the Editor, Wine Blog, Metro Wines,

Dear Editor:

What happened to me? I am from Bordeaux. I am Merlot. Hear me roar! Because of my flexibility, my softness, my fleshiness,  amiable personality, I have always been a bit of a blender, perhaps more often than I might have liked, but I was also always a powerful varietal performing solo all over the world. I am a runway model, a beautiful inky purple color living glamorously and stunningly beautifully amidst a chaise lounge of leaves. Even my name is gorgeous. According to many, "Merlot" is a derivative "merle," French for blackbird. And yes, I know what you are thinking, Cabernet Sauvignon always had more star power, more clout than me. I accept that. I know who I am. I was happy to stand back and let Cabernet go through the door first, take credit. I could do that because I always knew who was really in charge. I am the most widely grown grape in France!  And in Bordeaux, Cabernet is nobody, nowhere without me. I am Merlot. Hear me roar!

So, life was good. In fact, very good. Until that day in 2004. I just didn't see it coming. Who would have thought that a movie, an indie movie at that, could derail an extraordinary, centuries old career? How could a simple movie with an unknown lead actor turn me into a has been overnight?  Damn you "Sideways!" You sent me swirling through space like Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."  I lost my status, my name on the A-list, my name at the top of the A-list!, lost ground, lost my own gravity. Not so much in sales, I maintained my audienece but I lost prestige. You know it and I know it. But no more. Tis a new day. I am the the Joan d' Arc, the Harriet Tubman, the Susan B. Anthony, the Audrey Hepburn, the Sacajawea, the Serena Williams, Wonder Woman! of the wine world. I am Merlot. And I am back. Hear me roar! 

Merlot

(Credit to Kendal Klein for selecting Merlot as the Lonely Grape. Credit to Andy Hale for his thoughts on "Sideways." Writing on behalf of Merlot, Gina Trippi)

THIS JUST IN: USA Today: October 7, 2014

"Sideways at 10: Anybody for a nice glass of merlot?"

The article discusses the line that stirred controersy and many say, shot a hole in the merlot market. Movie wine snob, Miles, played by Paul Giamatti responded to to the offer of a glass of merlot: "If anyone orders merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any xxxx merlot!" So we visit the issue again. And today we offer a twist on merlot, a bottle of the varietal from Spain with a touch of petite verdot. USA Today article here: 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/10/06/sideways-killed-merlot/15901489/

Our Merlot Standard Bearer today is Hyatt:

 

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Hyatt Vineyards Merlot 2010 $12.75

 

Rattlesnake Hills is located in the northern part of the Yakima Valley in Washington State. All estate grown, this blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon opens with cherry, chocolate and cinnamon on the nose with a richly balanced mouthfeel, medium tannins and flavors of caramel, cedar oak and spice. 


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Cuvee Elisabeth, Il Padrone delle Vigne, and Robert Burns

 On the day we celebrate the poet Robert Burns, we speak of love. No wine says it better than the smooth, red, French Cuvee Elisabeth and the Italian ruby red Il Padrone delle Vigne. And much like a great date, both of these knockouts can go from picnic to party. Tasting Cuvee Elisabeth and Il Padrone on Saturday, January, 25th. So where does wine of love really come from?? France or Italy? You choose. 

From Philippe Bourgeois: Costieres de Nimes Cuvee Elisabeth

Made from a carfeul selection of 20 years old vines growing on chalky and clay soil with round pebbles ("galets") . This wine is aged for 8 months on stainless steel tanks. Parker notes: While this Syrah-Grenache blend from Patrick Bech does not represent one of the more remarkable among so many values of its appellation, the Domaine Bahourat Costieres de Nimes certainly more than justifies its small price, with scents of rhubarb, cherry and scrubby herbs, a faintly tart and bitter but well-concentrated and sappy palate, and a resin-tinged, faintly warm finish. Enjoy it with grilled meats and other hearty fare. 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache

 

Posted by Wine Mule: Domaine Bahourat Cuvée Elisabeth 2009: With its 80/20 syrah/grenache blend and gamey, herbal nose, this is definitely Rhone-like. I got a hint of blueberry and black tea, as well. In the mouth, this is very soft and round, with pretty black fruit, mild tannins, good acidity, and a little jolt of black pepper at the finish. Like many of its counterparts, it will benefit from 10-15 minutes in the fridge. We had it with grilled steak (recommended by the importer, Bourgeois Family Selections) but I think it really wants pork ribs or grilled lamb to really show itself off. 

 

Il Padrone Delle Vigne

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Il Padrone Delle Vigne from Montefalco, Italy is a Sangiovese blend, with small quantities of Sagrantino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes grown from muddy and clay soil with great density. There is soaking on the skins for over a month and then one month aging in French oak and three months in stainless steel. The winemaker describes Il Padrone dell Vigne as a “ruby red wine with purple tinges has a fresh bouquet that recalls the small fruits of the forest. Soft, balanced and with a lasting flavour, it is both easy to drink and incredibly pleasant on the palate.” This red wine goes great with foods with elaborate sauces, medium cheeses, and meats such as salami.

Robert Burns:

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Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Robbie Burns,[1] Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard)[2][3] was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.

As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne" is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and "Scots Wha Hae" served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include "A Red, Red Rose"; "A Man's a Man for A' That"; "To a Louse"; "To a Mouse"; "The Battle of Sherramuir"; "Tam o' Shanter"; and "Ae Fond Kiss".

 

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The Pepper Pot, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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"Five robust components - imaginatively blended to create one gutsy wine. The Pepper Pot. Inspired by the unique culinary traditions of our rainbow nation to bring you a heady yet harmonious blend of plucky pepper, piquant spice and radiant red berry flavors. Proving that in wine, as it is in life, the whole is far greater than the sum of parts. Sealed under a screw cap to insure quality." $14.99

Metro Wines Kendal, says: "Really easy drinking with any type of meat or all by itself. If you like Black Slate, you will enjoy this wine." Her beer loving Dad liked it too!

And critical acclaim from our favorite reviewer89 Points - International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013  "Bright ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of black raspberry, smoke and game are lifted by a peppery quality. Fat, sweet and rich, but with sound acidity giving shape and verve to the concentrated black fruit and gunflint flavors. Finishes with a solid tannic spine. This makes the 2011 seem a bit dry by comparison. An excellent value." -Stephen Tanzer

Tasting notes from wine.co South Africa:

 

type Red style Dry

taste Herbaceous body Medium

producer Edgebaston winemaker David Finlayson

wine of origin Western Capepage1image5424

tasting notes

Made from grown grapes in the Stellenbosch, Paarl and Elgin regions, this wine is created to show the fresh, fruity and spice driven flavours of these Rhone varietals. The colour is youthful and purple/red. The nose is one of crushed black pepper, dark mulberry and mixed berry coulis. 

blend information

72% Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsaut, 7% Grenache, 7% Tannat

food suggestions

Pure, clean dark red berry flavours flow onto a smooth palate with sufficient structure to warrant enjoyment with food such as Gourmet Pizza with Carpaccio and rocket salad.

in the vineyard

Origin: Stellenbosch, Paarl and Elgin regions Soil type: Malmesbury Shale on deep red clay

about the harvest

All grapes were hand picked between February - March 2012.

in the cellar

All grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks. Soft pressed to allow fruit dominant characteristics.

Wood Elevation:
2nd and 3nd Fill French and American oak barrels for 10 months as well as 6500 litre vats. 

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TURNBULL Old Bull 2010, Napa Valley

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We want to be straight up here with you. About 5 years ago, I saw an exhibition of work by women photographers about women at TURNBULL. At the time, and perhaps I was being a little harsh but, based on the wines being poured that day, it seemed like the photographs might be the best product they had to offer. But TURNBULL has turned a corner and stepped on the gas hard. This bottle of Old Bull 2010 represents what they can do. True, this is California so this is big fruit but here, the fruit is well balanced and the wine presents itself like a much more expensive bottle. So TURNBULL today is much more than a host for exhibitions BUT if anyone finds the photograph of Charlotte Rampling that was on display, call me!!!!

 

Winemaker's Notes: The 2010 Old Bull blends the power and richness of Cabernet Sauvignon (51%), with the bold fruit of Syrah (26%) and Petite Sirah (12%), highlighted with the enticing spice of Cabernet Franc (11%). This artful blend achieves amazing complexity and decadent richness while detailing the great vineyard sites and viticultural work that is at the core of all Turnbull wines. Rich with aromas of plums, berries, dried cherries and a touch of mocha, in the glass the dense dark flavors of black cherry and cola dominate.

Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah, 12% Petite Syrah, 11% Cabernet Franc

Ahhh yes, the name. From the label:  The TURNBULL name goes back to the early 1300s when a gamekeeper of Robert the Bruce saved the king's life by turning away a ferocious bull which had threatened to gore the king. The grateful king knighted his subject "Turnbull" and awarded him a crest featuring a bull's head twisted back that has adorned our wines grown in the Napa Valley since 1979.

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Faithful Hound

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Hey, we want IN on this Eric Asimov deal. It is our understanding that Eric Asimov chose the Faithful Hound as one of his 20 wines under $20. FYI Eric, our shop has Faithful Hound.

This is what the winery, Mulderbosch, has to say about their winemaking and philosophy in general (FYI, Your Shop Dogs love philosophy!):

FAITHFUL HOUND

Despite the poignant raison d’etre for this wine, the Mulderbosch Faithful Hound celebrates the virtues of Bordeaux’s great tradition of blending by being one of the first 5 varietal blends in the Cape. Aside from investing considerable effort in our own vineyards in close proximity to False Bay, our quest to find the perfect terroirs for each variety used in the blend leads us from the cool mountain plateau of Elgin to the rich, shale soils of Bottelary, and many places in between. The goal with each bottling of Faithful Hound is to produce a rich, complex wine that comfortably expresses old world class and the generosity of fruit associated with the Cape.

And Faithful Hound in particular:

FAITHFUL HOUND 2011

The grapes were handpicked and crushed into stainless steel fermenters where the must was cold soaked overnight and allowed to begin fermentation spontaneously as the grapes gradually warmed up. Once alcoholic fermentation was complete, the grapes remained on skins for a further period of maceration before being pressed to tank for the remainder of malolactic fermentation. The various batches were then racked and transferred to French oak barrels for maturation.

And winemaker's tasting notes. Here we would like to say that we would if we could! Dark ruby in appearance, with bright plummy hues. The nose shows spicy aromatics of cedar wood, anise and pencil shavings punctuated by intense cassis and mulberry notes. The palate is firm with a chalky tannin structure and pronounced savoury character. Subtle oak flavours perfume the palate providing balanced tone and length. 

PS: We are told to tell you that the MetroWines Tasting Panel agrees with Eric and the winery or, hey, Faithful Hound would not be finding a home on our shop shelves. Only the best!                                                                               Most sincerely, Your Shop Dogs

 

 

 

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Dinastia Vivanco Crianza 2008

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Four generations of winemaking are in this bottle of 100% handpicked Tempranillo. Aged for 16 months in new French and American Oak and then bottle aged for another 6 months. Well structured, this wine can sit on your table now but will cellar 5 to 10 years. On the nose, expect red berries with characteristic spice rolling on over the palate.

In 1915 Pedro Vivanco Gonzalez started to make wine for his own family's table in what we know now as the winemaking district of Alberite, La Rioja. And then, in 1940, Gonzalez bought a small wine cellar business in Alberite and the rest is, as they say, history. The unique shape of the bottle is a recreation of a shape crafted when each bottle was individually made by a skilled glass blower. You can see this wine work of art on display at the Dinastia Vineyard Museum of Wine Culture in Briones, Spain. Or you can put this beautiful and most engaging reproduction on your table now! And this is why you should:

.90 Points from Wine Spectator: "Velvety and voluptuous, this generous red delivers plum, blackberry, chocolate and toast flavors, with broad, soft tannins and just enough acidity to stay lively. The finish is graceful. Drink now through 2016. 55,000 cases made." This bottle sits proudly on the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011, one of only 7 Spanish wines to be at the top of the list.

90 Points from The Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Dinastia Vivanco Crianza is made from 100% Tempranillo and aged for 16 months in French and American oak. Balsam wood, tobacco, cinnamon, clove, violets, and black fruit aromas lead to a ripe, sweetly-fruited, nicely proportioned Crianza that is likely to blossom for another 1-2 years and drink well through 2020. "

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Bacchus Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

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Bacchus has a glamorous history. Originally, David Gordon, the Wine Director at Tribeca Grill in NYC since 1990, drew upon his California contacts, specifically Napa and Sonoma, to produce wine under the Bacchus and Jeanne Marie  labels. Wine under the Bacchus label was made in small batches and sold only at Tribeca Grill, Nobu and Montrachet. Wine appreciating consumers soon demanded greater availability and, hence, other  restaurants and then retailers began to offer Bacchus to an anxiously awaiting public. It had to happen! In his own words, David Gordon says: "I sourced grapes from the best vineyard in California for Bacchus. The result is a ripe, elegant wine that offers great value." The winemaker describes Bacchus as "Medium bodied with ripe plum, black currant, and blackberry flavors with a touch of mint. Cedar and dusty earth emerge on the long layered finish." Read: good fruit but not over the top.

Bacchus, at 90% Cabernet and 10% Merlot presents something of a Left Bank Bordeaux style and, by this, we mean this is a California Cabernet that will not overpower your mushroom ragout.  This blend, sourced 75% from Paso Robles, 15% from Central Coast and 10% from Napa, is made wine in 50% stainless steel and 50% neutral oak barrel aging spending 10 months in oak. At 13% alcohol, this is a Metro Wines "bottle for dinner." $14.99.

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Les Heretiques

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Les Hérétiques 2011, Pays d'Hérault, Mis en bouteille par Familie ICHE

Before we turn to the words of the winery, this is our story. When you taste Les Heretiques, the WOW factor hits you hard, solid and fast. We bought two cases, offered it on a Friday tasting, and found ourselves re-ordering on Monday. Truth be told, I have not seen anyone buy Les Heritiques who did not return for seconds! So, we bought six cases of this well done Carignan, Syrah and Grenache blend. Truth be told, part deux, this wine is fairly widely distributed, at least in this area. But that in no way diminishes its quality. Les Heretiques is widely distributed for a reason. If customers weren't buying, the distributor wouldn't be selling! But if it is not in your area, this is one you really should try. We are a small shop and work to find wines that deserve shelf space. To give a wine a home that can be found in other shops is a tough call. But this one earns its place on the shelf every day. Some wines are not for everyone, but this woman winemaker wine crosses all lines.  

The story from the winery: Everyone talks about the new quality of wines from the Languedoc. For us, this doesn't mean the ubiquitous varietal bottlings from irrigated flat vineyards but the wonderful wines coming from the best hillside vineyard sites in AOCs like Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux-du-Languedoc. The Château d'Oupia is one of the best.

André Iché inherited an impressive 13th century castle and a large estate in the barren Minervois region. Iché, now in his mid sixties and never a member of his village coop, tended his very old vines and made his wines but sold everything in bulk to local négociants. Fifteen years ago, a Burgundian winemaker happened to be in Oupia, tasted Iché's wines, and was so enthused that he convinced Iché to bottle and market his production. Since then, Iché has become an eternal twenty-year-old.

He has expanded his vineyard holdings and now also vinifies several cuvées of Minervois with the best production, the Cuvée des Barons and Nobilis, aged in new oak barrels. He has rebuilt a cellar, and is now contemplating buying and cleaning up some overgrown and steep terraces that have been abandoned since the late 19th century.

The Minervois Tradition is 60% Carignan (from vineyards up to 100 years old), 30% Syrah and 10% Grenache. It is aromatic, full and densely colored, with a long finish of dark fruits. The wine is elegant and balanced — it is both enjoyable to drink young and can age 5-7 years. Cuvée des Barons and Nobilis are 60% Syrah and 40% Carignan, from a selection of old vines in the best plots, and are aged in Bordeaux barriques for 20 months. They are slower to evolve than the cuvée Tradition, and exhibit more elegance and restraint, but similar dark berries and spicy aromas.

Robert Parker has consistently praised this estate and rated the wine a "best buy." He wrote:

"Château d'Oupia has produced the ideal bistro wine. Dark, ruby-colored, the wine is wonderfully clean and pure, with an exuberant personality, and gobs of rich, peppery, red and black fruit...Bravo to proprietor André Iché!"

André passed away in late 2007. His daugher, Marie-Pierre, currently runs the estate. She's been working with oenologist Laurent Batlle since 2008, who continues to make the wine -in his own words- "André's way." 

Ah yes, the name. Well, the story goes, Les Heretiques pays homage to a Pacifist Chrisitian group, known as Cathars, massacred in Minervois in 1208. 

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