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News Release: September 18th
RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE!
News Release: September 18th
Where is the Love? That is what we were asking at the last Focus Group ("Group"). We presented four wines that we thought were great for the price, that have either fallen out of favor or just never got there. As always, Group was spot on and provided invaluable information.
Group was concerend about blends that do not indicate what the heck is in the bottle on the label. And while a wine story is good, it is not a great sales tool. For example, a bottle that was made from a special clone might be of interest to wine geeks but not so much to most customers. Group did think an eye catching label was imoortant in a sea of wine. But of most importance is education. More classes on wines such as txakolina are necessary to insure customers know what is being offered. And more informational cards on the shelf so custoemrs can roam around by themselves and get the drift.
So, of the four wines reviewed by Group, only one survived! While two of the others were acceptable for now, don't reorder! And one was a flat out why bother. Here's the winner:
Winemaker's Notes: This Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon has all the hallmarks of a great, true-to-style Cabernet. Its structure is approachable, the fruit is juicy red with a hint of savory which is appropriate for this varietal. Oak is well integrated and lends spiciness on the palate. This wine is very fitting for a weekday wine and/or for more formal occasions.
Eva Luna 2016 Garda
Cabernet Suavignon & Csabernet Franc Blend
As a second generation producer in a region that her father Sergio Zenato put on the map, Nadia Zenato and her mother Carla Prospero created Evaluna out of a deep love but also deep knowledge of the area. Evaluna (Eve + Moon) evokes the passion and a long practice in the vineyard sites of Lake Garda by the Zenato family. Evaluna in name and intent endeavors to break the mold of what is considered possible in a land of diverse agricultural abundance.
Customers like that this wine would not only hold up to heavy flavors and cold weather foods but could also be chilled for a summer dinner. Eva Luna offers an opportunity to really taste the cabernet grape without the full throttle of a California bottle or the vegetal flavor, not always completely pleasant, this variety can show. This wine is very flavorfull yet light.
Some of our BEST Participant comments:
"Full bodied but light."
"Not too overwhelming for a red."
"Yes! So MF good. Summer."
Most participants guessed price to be between 1$18 and $20 or higher. Eva Luna is $15.99 @MetroWines.
WINNER: June Great Rose Tasting
Le Quattro Terre, Barbera, Piemonte Rosato, $14.99
The soil is calcareous-clay and silt with south exposure. Manual harvest. Direct pressing of grapes.
Static cold decantation, fermentation in stainless steel tanks on fine lees for 3 months at controlled temperature.
Brilliant rosé with light purple hues. Delicate but intense. Pleasant, with light hints of wild strawberry and sour cherry.
Medium body, good acidity and minerality. Provencal in style with Italian Grapes!
"Quattro Terre" Piemonte Rosato is Gianpiero's is an iconic rosé made of 100% Barbera grape,
This wine represents the Piemonte Region, specifically the Monferrato terroir.
The rosé is also made with grapes from four different types of soil at La Meridiana Estate;
hence the name, "QUATTRO TERRE" or "FOUR SOILS." Clay, sand, limestone, and iron.
The blend presents complexity and minerality. Elegant body and harmonious acidity.
And Le Quattro Terre Red will be "on the taste at Foucs Group on Wednesday!
And Katarina had a great time and has already agreed to return in October!
Extra Info: HERE!
Reserve Your Seat HERE!
News Release: Thursday, May 9th, 2019
Our 1939 Model M tractor has been a workhorse for three generations. Like this wine, it’s enjoyable, unassuming, and reliable for the long haul. Dusi has sold grapes to Turley! This wine reflectes that big, rich, lush style. A blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel from Central Coast of California. The Asheville Wine Focus Group found it to be a crowd pleaser. $14.99
News Release; Saturday, April 9th
Thursday, March 14th, 2019
Ser Passo was conceived as an attempt to surprise and delight the wine consumer with new flavors, tastes and aromas. The unique flavors are of intense, strong and ripe fruits, such as cherries and black cherries. A velvety structure on the palate leaves a graceful softness in the mouth which make it suitable for tasty pasta, red meats and game in general.
Focus Group Said:
"strong black cherry flavor
"touch of chocolate"
"could enjoy alone or with food"
"can handle meat"
Among Group last night was a sommelier from Italy, Roberto, who said "This wine is a good example of the great values coming out of Italy. You could definitely take this wine to a dinner or party with confidence."
We say: $11.99 !!
Over the past years Anne Pichon Wines acquired more old vineyards to bring the size of the domaine to 21 hectares. “The best vineyards in Ventoux are low-yielding and difficult to cultivate,” said Marc. “They’re the ones that people want to get rid of.” With organically farmed holdings that include 9ha Grenache, 5ha Syrah, 1ha Merlot, 0.8ha Carignan, 1.2ha Roussanne, 1.5ha Viognier, 0.7ha Grenache Blanc, 1.5ha Clairette and 0.3ha Bourboulenc, the micro-climate at Anne Pichon is dry, with cool, manually tilled soils that retain moisture when it rains. And because of the Mistral that sweeps up from the hills below, fruit is less susceptible to rot and disease, providing and ideal environment for organic viticulture.
Employing careful vineyard management, low yields and late harvesting, Pichon hand-harvests and destems all of the fruit. Reds are vinified in small 50 hL cement tanks or stainless steel, at low temperature to achieve a long maceration. For extraction Marc generally performed two gentle pump overs daily, with additional manual punch downs if necessary. The fermentations extend 3 to 4 weeks with a slow progressive increase in temperature to extract a very fine tannin structure. The malolactic fermentation and ageing take place partly in oak barrels but mostly in cements tanks. White wines are made from only a light pressing of first run juice and vinified in stainless steel tanks with strict temperature control to maintain a balance of ripe fruit and freshness.
News Release: Thursday, January 10th, 2019
45 customers gathered to consider the wines presented by Richard McKinney and Nick Demos of Tryon Distribution.
We talked wine, soil, biodynamic methods, Chile and Argentina, Bordeaux grapes, and herbaceous flavors!
We liked all of the 4 wines presented and thought they met the quality to price ratio challenge. But in the end, one was the most impressive to most of the group. While everyone has a different palate and preferences and every wine has a different best use, the fact that most people liked this one is a good indicator that most customers will like this wine. And in a small shop with limited space, that matters! And the winner is.......
“I don’t buy wine because of the label. “ But the research says some of us, actually many of us, do. Wineries want you to look. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And so it is for the wine label. Who can resist the lure of Kungfu Girl Riesling?
Labels were originally intended to provide legally required information. Wine Searcher, a service that posts information from online wine shops, says countries around the world have laws for both wines produced in country as well as imported wines. Labeling laws typically require name, region of origin, vintage, often the varietal or blend, volume and percentage of alcohol.
But fierce competition in the wine world has forced the label to become a marketing tool. “99 Bottles of Wine,” a new book by wine label designer David Schuemann, tells all in his book revealing the wine marketing strategy. The label, Schuemann says, is easier to remember than the taste of the wine.
Schuemann notes that at a wine tasting held at the Edinburgh Science Festival in Scotland showed that while people could not consistently differentiate wines, they were consistently drawn back to the label they knew. So, from a wine marketing perspective, wine consumers look for the label, the brand, just like with any other product. And, again, just like any other product, research shows that an eye catching label can encourage the consumer to buy a more expensive bottle.
Labels range from the traditional coat of arms style to animal portraits to high end design by artists whose works are seen in museums! Little did I know when I saw an exhibition by Mickalene Thomas at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, that her work might be sitting on my dining room table in the form of a wine label!
Label designs also carry subtle messages and invoke what might be called wine label prejudice. People associate minimalist, uncluttered design with high end vintages, says Schuemann. Wine connoisseurs are attracted to labels with cream or white backgrounds, a touch of gold or metal. Labels with “critters” are out. The wine neophyte, Schuemann says, are attracted to labels that “pop” and that means color, design and sometimes, “critters!”
Label prejudice can influence taste as well. An experiment conducted by Cornell University Professor of Marketing Brian Wansink, proved the point. Professor Wansink filled all the bottles with the same $2 wine, labeling half as wine from California and the other half as wine from North Dakota. Those drinking the wine with the California label stayed longer, drank more and rated the wine higher!
But, in the end, the label really tells the story of the winery, the philosophy, the history, how the winery wants to be seen. There is no better example than the label on the Washington State Red Blend by highly regarded winemaker Eric Dunham. One night, Dunham heard a dog fight. He ran out to find and rescue a badly wounded puppy. The puppy lost his leg that night but, as Dunham said, the puppy found a home and Dunham a best friend. With a drawing of the puppy on the label, Dunham named a wine for his new friend, “Three Legged Dog.”
When it comes to wine, make your own decisions and have the courage of yor convictions!
News Release: Thursday, December 13th, 2018
About: January Wine Focus Group
Join us on Wednesday, January 9th for the Asheville Wine Focus Group from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines. Our hosts will be Richard McKinney and Nick Demos from Tryon Distributing (https://tryondist.com/).
The event is "on the house" but you need to reserve a seat. Register by calling (828) 575-9525 or online: https://
What is "A Biltmore SmackDown"
Juniper Cooper of Mutual Distribution was our host for the evening. For consideration, Juniper submitted wines that would complement a Thanksgiving Table including an Pinot Blanc from Alsace, a French Minervois, California Red Blend and a California Zinfandel.