Owner of Metro Wines

Cueto Tendencia Rioja 2009


From 45 year old vines, Cueto Tendencia is a blend of 60% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 15% Garnacha and 5% Graciano.  This vineyard sits at one of the highest elevations in Rioja. Highly regard winemaker, Ruben Saenz, hand harvested the grapes and aged the wine 5 months in French (80%) and American Oak (20%). Dark ruby in color, this medium bodied Rioja Red opens with fresh berry and well integrated oak. You will find the palate smooth and balanced with silky dark cherries providing the high note. $14.99

Why lonely? The Metro Wines Tasting Panel says this Rioja "just tastes different," "an unexpected presentation." from other Riojas. You know how Alta Roses is just a different Garnacha? Different than what you have come to think of as Garnacha? But it is oh such a great bottle? Well, that's how Cueto sits in the Rioja field. And so, while Cueto Tendencia has its following, sold out at Schneiders on Capitol Hill in Washington! Ahhh, we cracked the case! Now you know why this whole government shut down thing took so long. Blame it on the Rioja! Anyway... Being different is always difficult. Even for Rioja. So, sometimes Cueto sits a bit lonely. Come taste. See what you think.

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Animal Legal Defense Fund Benefit

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Jumping up and down. Steve Wells is coming!! Oh yeah. Steve is the Executive Director of The Animal Legal Defense Fund! Take THAT. "Abuse an animal. Go to jail." The ALDF is the organization who is primarily responsible for aiding dog fighting to the RICO Act (racketeering, like mob stuff) in Virginia. And that is just one of their many accomplishments. And we love Steve. Way cool. Come meet him at our shop on December 4th and support the work of The Animal Legal Defense Fund! Details to follow. Oh boy! Oh boy! We can tell you right now, right now, that guests will be tasting  3 Legged Red from Dunham Cellars in Washington. Oh boy! Oh boy! Out of breath, Your Shop Dogs.


Stephen Wells is the executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. For six years (until 2006), Steve founded and served as the director of ALDF’s successful Animal Law Program, which provides support and resources to ALDF’s law professional and law student members and pro bono opportunities for attorneys and firms to assist ALDF with its mission.

Prior to joining ALDF in 1999, Steve served as the executive director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance in Anchorage where he became known for his work to protect Alaska’s wildlife, particularly wolves and bears, and its unique wild places. He has committed himself to animal and environmental protection and over the years, in addition to his full-time work, he has continued to volunteer his time for local organizations and projects.

Steve has managed several successful businesses. In his native Chicago, right out of high school he started his own business called “Precise Instrument Repair Co.,” a repair and calibration business for industrial measuring equipment, which he later sold. In Alaska, Steve worked to clean up the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and was so horrified by what he saw he decided his life path included working for positive change for the environment and wildlife. He was awed by the wilderness and natural beauty of Alaska. His first year there, he lived in a cabin through the winter without running water or electricity. He even missed an interview one day by being trapped by grizzly bear cubs and their mom. He began going to school and volunteering for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, a nonprofit wilderness protection agency, and was eventually hired there.

After eight months traveling in Africa, Steve returned for a full time position with the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. He threw himself into that with his natural entrepreneurial spirit and leadership abilities. He knows how to run a business and has a background in all aspects of business management, including the nuts and bolts of accounting and eventually became executive director. As executive director, he grew that organization by more than doubling its staff and activism. Steve was a primary leader in the successful ballot initiative banning “same-day airborne wolf hunting” (which allowed the use of airplanes to kill wolves). From this trial-by-fire lesson, Steve learned how to be the lone voice speaking for wildlife at community and state meetings amidst intense opposition. He also ran a successful construction business in Alaska with major contracts.

He left Alaska to start an animal sanctuary in California, but instead went to work for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Meanwhile, he opened a vegan restaurant called “Sparks” in Guerneville, California which included a highly successful retailing market of packaged goods sold across the Bay Area.

At the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Steve saw an opportunity to expand into law schools and involving attorneys directly–providing additional resources and pro bono connections. He helped stop wild animal trainers in Los Angeles from abusing primates in a landmark lawsuit. He helped to set up a sanctuary for hundreds of animals in the infamous North Carolina Woodley hoarding case. Steve has also raised significant funds to create the ALDF Fellowship program and helps ALDF fund an expanding vision for the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School.

When Steve started, ALDF had no litigation staff–so he created an in-house litigation program which, with the help of his new litigation director, Carter Dillard, allowed ALDF to quadruple its caseload. Steve expanded the Animal Law Program and helped to exponentially expand the student chapters (SALDF) of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. When he started SALDF had 6 chapters. That number is now at 184. There were 12 animal law classes offered in the United States and Canada–and now there are more than 140. Steve’s leadership also led him to create an ALDF pro bono program–and ALDF now has 1.2 million in donated legal services. When Steve began, ALDF’s revenue was at 3.7 million. In 2011, it was at 5.7 million, despite the economic hardships facing the US economy. As the leader at ALDF, Steve has been interviewed by CNN, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and ESPN.

Steve has created a highly efficient, passionate, and talented team at ALDF. As he says, it is his job to create an environment where egos are out the door and everyone works together for one end–to end the exploitation and suffering of animals. And that is just what he has done. He lives in the western woodlands of Sonoma County, California with his rascally cat Johnny Rotten and two dogs, Eve and Jam.


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Herbs&Wine. Chocolate&Wine: 2 Events

"Herbal Overtones"
Wednesday, October 16th, 6 to 7pm, $10.
Cheri Wagner, one of only 16 academically and clinically trained herbologists in America, will discuss how herbs play a role in wines. To accompany the presentation, we will be tasting
Juan Gil Monastrell and Josh Sauvignon Blanc.

Chocolate. Fruit. Wine
Thursday, October 17th, 5:30 to 7:30, $15
Metro Wines pairs wines with Chocolate Covered Fruit from Edible Arrangements. Tasting Woop Woop Shiraz, Stillman Chardonnay and Ramos Pinto White Port. An Edible Arrangement with a perfectly paired bottle of wine makes an extraordinary gift for any occasion.
RSVP to 575-9525 or buy tickets through
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Grovewood Cafe Pairing Event

GROVEWOOD CAFE WINE PAIRING on Sunday, October 13th from 3:30 to 5:30                                                                                                   at the Grovewood Cafe located at 111 Grovewood, Asheville 28804                                                                                                      just next to the Grovewood Gallery in Grove Park. 828-258-8956

**  The Menu. Page down or search this blog for full reviews of the wines  **

Eggplant Caviar and Egg Salad Canopies paired with Joseph Cattin Pinot Noir


Baked Lobster Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Vegetables paired with Macrina Verdicchio


Hickory Nut Gap Bratwurst with a Corn Muffin, Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise and Grilled Fennel with Roasted New Potatoes paired with Hook&Ladder Station 10 Zinfandel Blend


Fillet of Beef with Amish Bread, Herb Butter with Watercress and Endive and Gorgonzola paired with Pezat Bordeaux Superieur.


$35 RSVP to 575-9525

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Secateur's Red Blend 2011


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64% Shiraz, 26% Cinsault, 6% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre and 2% Pinotage. That's why they call it a blend! Selected from old bushvine vineyards on granite slopes, the organically farmed grapes are hand harvested. The Cinsault (see this pretty grape above) insures for the potential of aging but, paradoxically, allows for drinking right now. Traditional winemaking methods are followed including natural fermentation in old casks and concrete vats. It is this time and tradition that makes for a bottle that pours a fine complexity and unique character. Pour now or cellar for 2 to 3 more years.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what does it taste like? In terms of construction, you have the sense that there was a definite game plan here. Aromas and flavors roll out all in good time. This medium bodied Shiraz blend opens with red ripe strawberry and raspberry on the nose. Then, on the palate, spice is rolled into the fruit with pure smooth tannins blanketing the way down to a silky finish.  OK, that sounded like wine speak but, in this case, it's the best description of this very nice wine for the price. This wine is a dry red that drinks way above its $14.49 shelf price.

What the Critics Say:

"The palate is "The palate is medium-bodied with fresh, ripe redcurrant and wild strawberry fruit. It is very pure with supple tannins and a refined, natural finish. This is beautifully crafted courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Badenhorst."

91 Points The Wine Advocate

"Good full red. Musky strawberry and candied raspberry aromas are complemented by spices, minerals and tree bark, plus a smoky, saline quality. Suave and seamless in the mouth, with insidious smoky minerality giving shape to the almost liqueur-like red berry and saline flavors. Finishes silky and long, with dusty tannins and lingering sweetness. Distinctly Old World in the best sense."

90 Points International Wine Cellar bodied with fresh, ripe redcurrant and wild strawberry fruit. It is very pure with supple tannins and a refined, natural finish. This is beautifully crafted courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Badenhorst."

I know. I know. What about the name? Secateurs are the pruning shears that shape the vines. This is, according to the Badenhorst Family Winery, a tribute to the workers who are already crafting the wine during the cold winters of the Cape.

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Castillo de Monseran, LeLapin SV on Almost FREE Friday


BEST BUY says Wine Enthusiast Magazine! Castillo de Monseran Garnacha is $7.99 on the shelf. Do we need to say anymore? Probably not but we are verbose so here we go. Sitting lushly in Carinena in the heart of Aragon, the vineyards are located in the higher mountains where the cooler temperatures make for juicy fruit flavors. An INTENSE ruby color, aromas of ripe blackberry, plum and anise grab you fast and hard and pull you into a palate that rides the big fruit wave adding a touch of chocolate, mint and spice. Medium body with appropriate tannins all dressed up in herbal overtones, this is an easy drinking bottle that can "work the room."

At 12% alcohol, Castillo de Monseran is great for a party and falls into our "bottle for dinner" selections. And with a case discount of 15%, you take home 12 bottles for $81.50 and tax. Are you kidding me?


First, we know this is the red wine label BUT it was hard to find a good shot of the Sauvignon Blanc label and you so don't want to see my iphone photo. You would miss the intrigue and, let's face it, cuteness of the rabbit ears. Le Lapin is down label of Rabbit Ridge. This wine is made in the classic California Sauvignon Blanc style a la the "Sideways" region. From Paso Robles, you know the drill: the wine is crisp, clean, good body and fruit. But what you don't know is the inside information. We have a very good customer who has lived in California and tasted a lot of their SVs. So, he comes in one day for a value bottle to pair with a basic sandwich while he is hunched over his computer. He takes Le Lapin. An hour later, he drives back to Metro Wines. Does not call. Drives! He is so thrilled with a bottle of this quality for $9.49, he wanted to tell us in person! See what you think.

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STAND UP COMEDY on Friday Night @Metro Wines, 7pm. Mo Alexander is the headliner. Awesome. This is serious and really funny business!

Your Shop Dogs are working on the funny. But some of the stuff we think is funny is not playing well in the house. For example, pulling a plastic bag out of a tote bag and ripping it up leaving pieces all over the house. Funny? We thought so. Apparently, NOT. Pulling down a loaf of bread from the kitchen counter and eating it until your belly almost pops. Now that is funny, right? WRONG. Chewing nice black and white trendy coasters and then hiding them under your bed. So NOT funny. But MO here, he IS, no matter how you define "IS," funny.

Come on over. $10 for a glass of wine or bottle of BEER, baby, and the show.

Mo Alexander is one of the most complete comics working in clubs and private events around today. Since 1995, his comedic skills have given way to bigger opportunities on television, such as appearances on ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Comedy Central’s Laugh Riot, the BET staple Comic View and has even made an appearance in Poison’s Bret Michael’s film, Letters from Death Row.
Mo Alexander is the product of Memphis, Tennessee, growing up mere yards from the World Famous Stax Records. Whether it was being raised by his grandmother, Memphis or his Catholic high school upbringing, Mo’s outlook on life is helping him to save the world in his jaded manner.
Growing up on comedy classics, like WC Fields, The Marx Bros., Bob Hope films, George Carlin and old Saturday Night Live were early influences. Mo’s realization of being a stand up comedian comes more from watching things like A&E’s Evening at the Improv, where he thought, “I’m better than these folks, I can do this!” and soon after, he got to a local open mic in Memphis starting with the likes of Kerry White, T.R. Degraw, Dennis Phillipe, and Tony Tone
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White Port, Ramos Pinto

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Founded in 1880, Ramos Pinot and winemaker Joao Nicolau de Almeida, offers estate grown and bottled grapes in this Porto White. Green gold in color, Porto White is perfect as an aperitif or with dessert.  Made from hand picked Malvasia Fina and Codega grapes picked quite ripe, this wine is then aged for three years in traditional port barrels called "pipes."  Because Porto White is fortified and has been barrel aged, the bottle stands good another month in the refrigerator after opening. We are serving Porto White with chocolate dipped oranges from Edible Arrangements here @ Metro Wines on October 17th at 5:30! $18.99 on the shelf.

Let's talk port for just a minute. Known predominantly for red or tawny port, Portugal is starting to send more and more white port our way. All port is fortified made so by adding brandy during fermentation. The addition of the spirits kills the yeast which in turn stops the fermentation process resulting in a wine that is high in alcohol and sweet. Ports, including white port can span the spectrum from sweet to dry, this Porto White is sweet. Porto White is made from white grapes: Malvasia Fina (see above) and Codega.  Originating from Greece, Malvasia was initially grown in Madeira and the mediterranean region but now can be found in vineyards around the world. The grape is suitable for planting on well drained sloping soils with dry climates. Prone to rot, yields are inconsistent and variable. wines blended with Malvasia Fina have subtle to moderate intensity, usually smoky with hints of nutmeg, beeswax and molasses.

Winemaker's Notes: Tasting Notes: Thanks to the extended skin contact and wood aging, Adriano Ramos-Pinto's white ports are richer and more complex than many white portos. A rich golden yellow, this distinctive port has wonderful primary aromas of pineapple, banana, balanced by mature secondary aromas. In the mouth it is light and smooth with a delicate sweetness. Fresh, fruity, slightly dry...delightful!

Serving Suggestions: Ramos-Pinto Fine White Porto must be drunk slightly cool (between 10-18C, 50-64F). During hot Portugal summers, the shippers enjoy it chilled over ice with a twist of lemon and/or splash of soda. Excellent as an apéritif or with sweeter desserts.

Ah yes, the name. Port is named for its home city, Oporto, Portugal.

Alcohol: 19.5% by volume


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Pezat Bordeaux, Jospeh Cattin Pinot Noir, Grovewood Cafe

Both the Pezat Bordeaux Superior 2011 and the Joseph Cattin pinot Noir 2012 will be served at the Grovewood Cafe Pairing Event on                       Sunday afternoon, October 13, 3:30-5:30. RSVP to 575-9525.



Pezat Bordeaux Superieur, 2011

OK. So this is the deal with Pezat. Once upon a wine time, the vines were planted three metres apart as is SOP in Entre-des-Mers. But, the vineyard has undergone what Pezat calls the "ultimate makeover" planting the vines pursuant to the practice in Saint Emilion, one and a half metres apart, resulting in increased fruit concentration. So, this tightening up and the fact that Pezat sits "a pace" away from the Saint Emilion border means this wine drinks way above its appellation and price. The new silver on black label speaks to the new found bold in the bottle wine. From Chateau Teyssier, this is, of course, a Jonathan Maltus wine.

Deep ruby, almost inky, in color, this blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc is unashamedly fruit forward, so say we all. Red cherry and raspberry on the nose and black fruit, some plum, on the palate. Soft yet powerful throughout leading to a sustained finish.

Reviews since at least 2006 have brought in high praise for Pezat with points consistently between 86 and 90. Still so, see the reviews for 2011:          86-89 Points, Wine Spectator*86-89 Points, Wine Enthusiast*87-88 Points, Robert Parker:  "Straightforward and powerful, this sleeper of the vintage will offer a serious mouthful of wine over the next 3-4 years."*86-89 Points, Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar: "Looks to be the best Pezat ever."

Our price: $19.49

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Joseph Cattin Pinot Noir, Alsace, France

In the traditional Alsatian bottle, this Pinot Noir is rich color. Medium bodied, the wine is appropriately cloaked in oak offering plentiful fruit on the palate. Well structured, joseph Cattin Pinot Noir has aging potential.

Winery Statement:
Owners: CATTIN Jacques and Jean Marie Located at 10 km in the south of Colmar, our field includes approximately 40 hectares of vines AOC. The vineyards are located on 7 different communes which allows us, to produce wines from almost any type a soils in Alsace. We produced the following wines: Sylvaner, Pinot White, Riesling, Muscatel, Tokay Pinot Gray, Gewurztraminer, Black and Rose Pinots. Developing manual grape harvest in September and October, Pressing with pneumatic press, followed by a decantation from 24 to 48 hours and Fermentation controlled in a new stainless room. We do our Racking at the end of the fermentation, and then Setting and aging take place in bottles starting in April. We make great wines even when is not a great year. We are a family of vintners dedicated to produce great wines and we hope you share that same 

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Carmine Granata Semillon 2012


Carmine Granata Estate Bottled Semillon 2012, Mendoza

The estate bottled 100% Semillon is yellow in color with touches of green and golden reflections. Delicate floral and fruit aromas roll in to a palate presenting fresh fruits including peach and apricot. The feel approaches a creaminess but is held in check by a crisp acidity. This wine is well structured and has a real weight for Semillon. Wheter you prefer chardonnay or Pinot Grigio or Viognier, you will like this bottle. A crowd pleaser. Perfect with lobster. From local Asheville Importer, Robert Walter Selections, bottle for up to 2 years. 

Shop it HERE!

From the Importer:

Carmine Granata Winery is located in the province of Mendoza, between latitudes 32°and 37°34′ south, and longitudes 66° and 70°35′ west approximately. The vineyards are 80 years old. Luján de Cuyo is considered by experts to be among the best winegrowing areas in the world and Mendoza has been appointed “The eighth wine capital of the world”.

At a height of 180 meters, this area is famous for its high quality grape production made possible by its ideal weather conditions and by the excellent characteristics of its soil. The training system used is low cordon. Furrows are used to bring melt water from the Andes Cordillera. The grapes are hand-picked, guarding the integrity of the grain berries. The fermentation process takes place in small glass-lined concrete vats and in stainless steel tanks.

The wines chosen to be cellared are kept in French oak barriques from 6 to 8 months. Our wines are considered “Wines of the New World”. Excellent quality cork toppings imported from Portugal are used to end the bottling process. The bottles are later stored, thus beginning the aging process. All the activities involving the preservation of the quality of this product are performed with all the care and respect that a product as noble as wine deserves.


Start to finish: 45 minutes (30 minutes active)
Servings: 2

1 1/4-pound live lobster
4 ounces fresh asparagus spears (12 to 16 spears, depending on thickness), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 8 cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
14 1/2-ounce can red beets with liquid
16 pumps butter spray
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
2/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

In a large stockpot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water nearby.

Submerge the lobster in the boiling water, then return the water to a boil. Cook the lobster for 4 minutes, adding the asparagus to the water for the last 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the ice water to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a kitchen towel to dry. Remove the lobster from the water and place on a sheet pan. Let cool until easy to handle.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over high.

Season the beef with salt and pepper, then spritz the pan with cooking spray and add the beef to the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the outsides are well browned and the centers are rare, turning once. Transfer the beef to a small plate and set aside.

Drain the beets, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Cut two-thirds of the drained beets (about 1 cup) into bite-size pieces (save the remaining beets for another use). Add half of the beet pieces to a blender along with the 1/4 cup of reserved liquid. Cover and blend until smooth.

Add the 16 pumps of butter spray and cover and blend again just until combined. Pour the pureed beets into a medium bowl and add the remaining chopped beets. Add the asparagus to the beet mixture along with the cooked beef cubes and fresh tarragon.

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Remove the meat from the lobster and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the beet mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly into a 1-quart oven-safe glass bowl or souffle dish.

In a medium bowl, mix the pancake mix and water. Drop the dough into 6 small mounds over the lobster mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the filling is heated through. Remove and top with horseradish.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 330 calories; 6 g fat (16 percent of calories from fat) (1 g saturated); 80 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 5 g fiber; 1,356 mg sodium.Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/articles/2012/01/23/20120123valentines-day-surf-turf-cobbler.html#ixzz2sSKkKFaQ




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Carmine Granata

Carmine Granata Malbec Oak Cask 2007


Grapes are grown at 3,000 feet in the Andes Mountains, Argentina, and aged for 12 months in, as the name says, oak. Deep ruby in color with no traces of aging, the nose is plums and cherries and, according to the winemaker, "touches of wood flavors." Robust on the palate, full bodied, the wine is fruit forward style presenting raspberry and cherry with noticeable vanilla, chocolate and nutmeg. Malolactic fermentation balances the fruit and tannins setting the stage for a smooth, in a James Bond sort of way, finish. This is definitely a meat wine. No root vegetable sampler platter will do. This wine can bottle in a dark, cool place for another 10 years.

In 1931, an Italian immigrant, Carlos Granata, started this family wine making business in Lujan de Cuyo. With new technology, the winery has evolved. Bust some wine things, the things that make this wine great, never change. The Malbec vines are irrigated with the melt water streaming down from the Andes Cordillera and the soil, sun exposure, night and day temperature differential at 3,000 feet, made and continue to make this region the most important wine making area in Argentina. 

Selling online for $22.00 and up, Metro Wines price is $14.50. Case discount brings bottle to $12.32.

About Lujan De Cuyo from wiki:

Lujan de Cuyo Wine


Lujan de Cuyo is a wine-producing sub-region of Argentina's largest viticultural area, Mendoza. Located in a valley just south of Mendoza City itself, the Lujan de Cuyo region is home to some of the most famous names in Argentinean wine, including Catena Zapata,Bodega Septima and Cheval des Andes. Unsurprisingly, Malbec is the region's most-important grape variety, producing bold, intensely flavored red wines.

The small town of Lujan de Cuyo is on the northern banks of the Mendoza River, and it is from here that the viticultural area of the same name stretches south for roughly 20 miles (32km) between the Andes Mountains in the west and the Lunlunta hills in the east. The region was the first in Argentina to be officially recognized as an appellation in 1993, and includes the wine-producing zones of VistalbaLas CompuertasPerdrielAgrelo and UgartecheMaipu lies directly east of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley is to the south. Located in the rain shadow of the Andes, the area experiences a dry, almost desert-like climate with intense sun during the day and lower temperatures at night made so by the alpine winds from the Andes.

The soils of Lujan de Cuyo are also heavily influenced by the proximity of the Andes Mountains. Alluvial soils have been deposited in the area by rivers over thousands of years. These rocky, sandy soils have little organic matter due to their origin high in the mountains, and their low fertility makes them perfect for viticulture because it stresses the vines. Stressed vines will produce less vegetation and smaller berries, which develop more-concentrated flavors due to the lack of water in the ground.



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SCAIA Corvina 2011


Tenuta Sant'Antonio, Scaia Rosso, Veneto, Italy 2011

Ever heard the expression that someone is not lonely, just alone? That is how it is with Corvina. That said, our "Lonely Grape Day" headliner today, this grape, Corvina, is not really lonely, just alone in the bottle. Corvina is usually one of the grapes used to add substance and complexity to Valpolicella but here in SCAIA, it is the only grape. And you know what, it, at least the way SCAIA does it, holds its own without going over the top! Farmed and bottled by the Castagnedi brothers in the hills of Valpolicella, Corvina grapes are grown and harvested from vines in the well regarded Tenuta Sant'Antonio Estate Vineyards.

Ruby red in color, the wine opens, and we do mean opens, with pure aromas of dark cherry and plum with hints of violet. Now here, we want to say that whenever we read notes from a winemaker that claims "hints of violet," we press hard on the review. But all good here. Nothing out of place, too much , too long, too pointed. Good. And not just good. Delightful! This medium bodied wine serves up intense but well balanced fruit, notice cherry and plum, black fruits, spice, peppercorns and black tea on the palate.

Bold but easy to drink, this could be your all year round "daily red." With the warm snap here in Asheville, take the advice of the Castagnedi Brothers and serve SCAIA a bit chilled.  And at 13% alcohol, SCAIA qualifies as a "bottle for dinner" selection. 

But let's talk about Sacia's home: The Veneto. The New York Times offered an article on sunday: "Navigating Like a Native." Turns out the Gondeliers must speak three languages!  The language of wine is not one of the options. Goes without saying! Get started on The New York Times here:


Photo Credit to New York Times

It was spring break, and we were going to Venice. Like so many who travel to this part of northeastern Italy, we were lured by the gondolas. My 5-year-old daughter, Meenakshi, was there for the ever-popular and touristy boat ride. I was there to explore the world of gondoliering beyond it.

One of the most romanticized images around might just be that of a gondolier in his trademark black pants and striped top, belting out Italian songs as he navigates love-struck couples through the canals of Venice. The experience, complete with the waterways and singing men, has even been replicated at the Venetian Resort and Casinos in Las Vegas and Macau and the Venice Water Town neighborhood near Hangzhou, China.

In Venice today gondolas might be employed to give visitors a pricey thrill (around 80 euros, or $100 at $1.25 to the euro, for a 45-minute ride), but they were used nearly a thousand years ago to transport wealthy citizens through the lagoons. The gondoliers were their chauffeurs, and before faster and cheaper motorboats became a mainstay in the mid-20th century, Venetians in the city used the flat-bottom boats to get around.

Entire Story from New York Times here!



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Italian Wines and Wolfdogs

Valle dell'Acate is operated by 6th generation winemaker Gaetana Jacono Gola. With the same love that tied her ancestors to the vines, along with marked entrepreneurial insight, Gaetana has devoted herself to the production of Sicilian DOC and IGT wines, a production that has earned great recognition, even on the international scene. Thanks to the nature of the place, the use of technologically advanced systems and the support of a century of experience, Valle dell'Acate is able to produce a range of prized, modern and radiant wines that are, as Eric Asimov of the NYT frequently notes, of extraordinary quality for the price. We POUR 4 of these wines to benefit Full Moon Wolfdog Farm and Sanctuary on October 9th at 6pm.

Il Frappato 2012


100% Frappato, this wine is aged 6 months in steel and 3 in the bottle. Light ruby in color, you can just see some waves of violet. Fragrant, fresh and literally bursting, the bouquet is an intense blend of bilberry, blackberry, and raspberry. The black and red fruit washes softly over the palate with an ever so slight swash of violet. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel does not mind telling you that we were skeptical of this one, even after the first taste. Different flavors were demanding attention! On the second sip, you will find yourself being softly drawn IN. And by the third taste, you are absolutely and gratefully IN. With good tension between, herbal, sweet and bitter flavors, this wine is quite versatile from cheese to meats to the occasional fish.

Nero D’Avola-2011


Tasting Notes:  A black skinned grape, Nero d'Avola has been grown in Sicily for hundred of years. Some say it produces wines similar to a light Shiraz. Maybe, but while so many other wine growing regions went with the fad of Chardonnay and Cabernet, Sicily stayed the course, continued to do what they do and this grape, this version of this grape, is one heck of an example of that fortitude, confidence and tradition. This grape is all its own. The wine is aged in steel and one year in the bottle to insure a roundness. In the glass, this medium bodied wine is a soothing ruby red color offering red flower perfume on the nose, red fruit flavors and a bit of black pepper on the palate. With pleasant tannins, the wine leaves you with a nice warmth. 

According to Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a superb set of wines from Valle dell'Acate. Not only are the wines delicious, the best bottles deliver incredible value as well. The estate uses only their best hillside plots for the Valle dell'Acate label, while the vineyards in the plains are used for the entry-level Case Ibidini range." (06/11) And suggesting that this grape, Nero d'Avola, might just be the "next Malbec." The Wall Street Journal Wine Critic, Lettie Teague, called the bottle offered by Valle dell" Acate one of the "three best" on the shelf. About Lettie:

About Lettie Teague

Lettie Teague

Before joining The Wall Street Journal in 2010, Lettie Teague was the executive wine editor at Food & Wine magazine, where she wrote the monthly column Wine Matters. She received the James Beard Foundation's M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award in 2003, won a 2005 James Beard Award for magazine columns and a 2012 James Beard Award for this On Wine column. She is the author of "Educating Peter: How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert" published by Scribner in 2007, and the illustrator and co-author of "Fear of Wine: An Introductory Guide to the Grape," published by Bantam in 1995.


About: The second label of Valle dell’Acate, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced ‘bidini) consists of varietal-labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated (Bidini) is named for the ancient settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. The wines of Case Ibidini provide a purity and authenticity reflective of the philosophy of the estate all at an affordable price. Frequent visitors to our Wine Blog know the two white wines discussed below. We totally stand behind both as wine that can go from everyday tables to special events and weddings, all year round.




 Case Ibidini (pronounced 'bidini), the second label for Valle dell'Acate, offers varietal specific wines from the estate intended for versatility and value. "Bidini," the name of the area where Valle dell' Acate sits pretty is drawn from the ancient root "Bidis," referring to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. Recognized for purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell' Acate cloaks the Inzolia grape in the quality production, tradition and dignity it so well deserves. From mineral rich soil vineyards in eastern Sicily, this 100% Inzolia is a crisp, unoaked, fruity dry white that highlights the citrus that comes naturally. Aged in steel for 4 months then in the bottle.



Aging: 4 months in steel tanks and at least 2-3 months in bottle

. Tasting Notes: Light yellow color. White flower bouquet of citrus fruit and wild rose. Fresh and dry with acidity and balance. Pair with starters, fish and vegetable dishes. Reminiscent of a very expressive Pinot Gris.

Production area :.C.da Bidini-Acate (RG) – Eastern Sicliy* Vine : 60% Grillo and 40% Insolia*Aging:  Steel tanks 4 months, and at least 2-3 months in bottle*Colour : Deep yellow*Bouquet: White flowers of citrus fruit, wild rose*Taste: fresh and dry, acidity in balance*Combination: starters and fish dishes, seafood, and vegetable dishes

Rating: 91 The 2010 Zagra is an unoaked blend of 70% Grillo and 30% Inzolia that totally conquers the palate with its finessed personality. Juicy apricots, peaches and jasmine are just some of the nuances that linger on the multi-dimensional finish. When Sicilian whites are on they can be stunning, as is the case here. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014. This is a superb set of wines from Valle dell'Acate. Not only are the wines delicious, the best bottles deliver incredible value as well. The estate uses only their best hillside plots for the Valle dell'Acate label, while the vineyards in the plains are used for the entry-level Case Ibidini range- The Wine Advocate (6/30/2011)


Metro Wines,
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Valle dell'Acate
Valle dell'Acate Sicilian Winery, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Il Frappato, Il Moro, Zagra, Bidis, #wine #winelover #vino #Sicily #frappato #Winery
Sicilia, Acate, Rg · http://www.valledellacate.net



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Aged 12 months in French barrels, BRAN CAIA TRE is a medium bodied blend of 80% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Well structured, the oak aging presents oak spice on the nose, red cherry and raspberry. You will be rewarded with easily detectable flavors of chocolate and berries, hints of licorice and smoke. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel agrees with the winemaker in describing this wine as "elegant." Regularly selling at online and brick and mortar retailers for about $22, our price is $14.99. When we get a deal, you get a deal! Over the years, BRAN CAIA has seen their wines named on the Wine Spectator list for top 100 wines in the year. Customers who select Super Tuscans, selling for much higher prices, find BRAN CAIA TRE to their liking.

Winemaker's Notes

BRAN CAIA TRE 2010, Rosso Toscana, is a wine full of character giving you drinking pleasure already at the moment of release. Tre stands for the three grape varieties (Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and for Brancaia's three Tuscan estates - the basis for this wine. This elegant and well structured wine ages in oak casks, is easily accessible and matches every cuisine. Tre is is also Brancaia's third label, so they have three good reasons to name it Brancaia Tre.

Wine Advocate, Rated 89
The 2010 Tre is laced with dark red berries, flowers, licorice and a hint of smoke. This is a decidedly medium-bodied wine built on length and energy rather than the richness for which Maremma generally is known. Floral notes reappear on the finish, adding lift and a sense of harmony. The 2010 is 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.

LA Times Wine of the Week

Here's a Tuscan red that will roll with any summer menu. "Tre" is a blend of three grapes (mostly Sangiovese, with 10% each Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) from Brancaia's three estates in Tuscany. The 2010, easygoing but with character and substance, conjures up the taste of blueberries and dark cherries and something darker and more earthy. Think of it as a strongly drawn secondary character. Maybe not the lead, but I'm happy to open a bottle for dinner at home with friends anytime.

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Master Sommelier

"This ain't no disco." This is serious business. The final exam for the title of Master Sommelier has the lowest pass rate in the world.
The Masters Sommeliers say the examination process was established in 1977 to promote excellence in hotel and beverage service. The members, they tell us, come from all over the world but share a knowledge of art, science, history that informs a sommelier's work.
Read on from the Master Sommelier website..........

Over the four decades since the Court's first examination was held, 211 candidates have earned the Master Sommelier Diploma. In the service of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages, the Master Sommelier Diploma is the ultimate professional credential anyone can attain worldwide.

Individuals who successfully complete all parts of the Master Sommelier Diploma will be expected to uphold the accepted ethics and standards of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Recipients of the Diploma will be required to sign an agreement binding them to the code of ethics and conduct of Master Sommeliers.

Candidates must be 21 years of age to participate or must be of legal drinking age in the country where they are taking the CMS program. All candidates should have been employed in wine service for a minimum of three years, although this is not mandatory to enter the Introductory Course. Admittance to the Advanced Course is via a selection process of the Court's academic admissions committee. It requires a successful completion of the Introductory Course and a mandatory five years in the wine/service industry. Each candidate must submit details of work in the trade, letters of recommendation, and answers to a brief questionnaire. Candidates also must be able to corroborate all claims and pay an entrance fee as stated on the entry form.
The letters "MS" after your name will reassure an employer that you are a professional beverage manager and can control an efficient, profitable beverage service.
If you have questions please call (707) 255-5056 or email Executive Director Kathleen Lewis atklewis@mastersommeliers.org or Administrative Assistant Kady Domingos at kdomingos@mastersommeliers.org.
Take the test?
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Italian Wine and Wolfdogs



This is River. He is an Ambassadog for the Full Moon Wolfdog Farm and Sanctuary. If you think it is difficult to find homes for long legged retired races like us, word is the wolfdog has it even tougher. There is talk that River might come to the shop for the "Italian Wine and Woldog Benefit" on October 9th at 6pm. AWESOME. 

You should come on over. Taste Great wines from Valle dell'Acate. Help the wolfdog. They really really really need you. Really.

Full Moon Bio on River: River came to Full Moon Farm via Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in 2009.  They had been trying to place him, but were having no luck finding a good home for a mid-content wolfdog puppy.  He had learned some basic skills, and had been well socialized.  As he is so handsome and outgoing, it was decided to see if he would work as an "ambassadog." It is a role in which he has excelled.  River enjoys going out and meeting people, and is a fantastic representative for wolfdogs.  When he's at "home," he shares his pen with Guenevere.

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Cooper Hill Pinot Noir


You say po-tay-to and we say...….read on. Estate grape grown and bottled in the Oregon Willamette Valley, Cooper Hill Pinot Noir is certified organic. Garnet in color, there is discernible cherry on the nose and palate. Add strawberry and a bit of tartness to the taste and start of the very long finish. Here is where the potato and the tell like it is portion of the program comes in. Some reviewers found the tart not to their liking. OK. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel believes that this wine, for ALL the aformentioned  characteristics is perfect with a wide variety of foods and, hence, especially perfect for any gathering where the table is, shall we say, a combination of cuisines. At the always low price, Cooper Hill is on the shelf for $14.99. 

Kevin of The Metro Wines Tasting Panel offers this review: Brisk fall afternoons are the time to put on a sweater and pour a fine glass of Pinot Noir. Cooper Hill Pinot, from the great Willamette Vally in Oregon, fits the bill perfectly. This delightful wine that's light with florals, subtle in color, and flavors of young strawberries, balanced tart cherry, will invite you for another taste, and then another.  Would be wonderful, to  share the fun, with a  crumbly goat cheese topped with toasted almonds,  dried apricots, and cherries. At least for me!

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Food in the Shop!


Major Shop dog ALERT. Word is that there will be a food truck inside the shop tonight. What's up with that? One way or the other, it sounds like food to us. We are hoping, puleeeeeeease make it CiCi's empanadas. Puleeeeeeeeease. Maybe someone will take mercy on our so very sad eyes and give us just a bite of that flaky crust. hmmmmmmmm

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Stand Up Comedy meets Almost FREE Friday

Stand UP Comedy and Almost FREE FRiday Wines @Metro Wines.

Friday (tonight) 7 to 8pm! $10 buys you the show, a glass of wine and a lot of laughs.

Check out the show and page down for the Almost FREE Friday Wines: La Piuma Pecorino and Mureda Merlot

Cary Goff

Cary Goff is a long-time writer for the Asheville Disclaimer (most notably “Kid Care with Arnold”) and a very funny comedian. He has performed numerous times in the Laugh Your Asheville Off comedy festival, and has performed standup comedy weekly for the past two years at Asheville’s prestigious Grove Park Inn. Cary has opened for Comedy Central’s Joe Zimmerman, has been the featured comedian at shows around the Southeast and has produced literally hundreds of comedy shows here in WNC as a cofounder of Disclaimer Comedy. He enjoys nothing more than idly chatting away with brand-new friends on Facebook. He is also the editor of The Simpleton Review.



Minori Hinds 

Minori Hinds hails from the mountains of Osaka to Asheville, North Carolina. Growing up in Japan, California, Illinois, and Michigan, she delivers her droll, multicultural goofiness on every kind of stage available.

Matching a fondness for the rude and absurd with her irreverent insights, her jokes on topics ranging from drugs to sex, race to politics have delighted audiences in Denver, Atlanta, Greenville, and all over the Southeast.

Minori has opened for national headliners such as Kyle Kinane, Myq Kaplan, and Rory Scovel, and was voted third best comedian in western North Carolina by the Mountain Xpress readers’ poll in 2012. She hopes people enjoy her in the upcoming years enough to one day afford health insurance.


Justin Thompson

Justin Thompson is a young comedian and a South Carolina native. His biggest achievement is not moving back in with his parents.

 For information on this week’s featured wines at the Metro Show, please click here.

For questions or advance tickets (which will also be available at the door), please contact Gina Trippi at Metro Wines at (828) 273-5348.

Metro Wines is located at 169 Charlotte St., Asheville, NC, 28801. Owners John Kerr and Gina Trippi opened Metro Wines and celebrated their grand opening April 27, 2013. Metro Wines is in the space of the former Wine Studio, just down the street from City Bakery, The Chop Shop and a very pleasant walking distance to The Grove Park Inn. And there is plenty of parking!

Metro Wines offers a wide selection of wines focusing on pairing just the right wine with any dish or event. Metro Wines also offers Fentiman’s Tonic water, Rose Lemonade and Saratoga Water, the only sparkling water bottled in the U.S. giving this extraordinary water a low carbon footprint. Here you will find grape specific shelves as well as categories ranging “from $10 and under” to the “bucket list” to “a bad hair day.” John and Gina share the philosophy that wine is about friends, family and community. Both are always available to answer questions, offer suggestions, share stories and work with your caterer or event planner.  You can contact the store by calling (828) 575-9525 or visit them online at www.MetroWinesAsheville.com.

Metro Wines hours:

Tuesday – Saturday: Noon – 8 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.

Disclaimer Comedy presents top-notch stand-up comedy in venues such as Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB), the Grove Park Inn, The Southern, and Laugh Your Asheville Off comedy festival, among other places too dodgy to mention in public. Find out more at http://www.disclaimercomedy.com
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Mureda Merlot 2011

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Organic, complex with dark fruit on the nose and palate, this 100% Merlot comes from Castilla La Mancha just south and east of Madrid. Oak aged. The area is probably better known for its deep cultural history than wine. Famous for Manchego cheese and Don Quixote, the region is home to various World Heritage sites including medieval castles, stone age rock fences and noted cities of Toledo and Cuenca. Another bottle that just cannot be beat for the price.


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