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Private Blind Tasting

These are the four wines we poured for a private Blind Tasting League event last night. If you are interested in a private event in the shop or in your home or office, call us at 828 575-9525. 



Scarpetta 2012 Pinot Grigio IGT delle Venezie

Pinot Grigio has taken a lot of hits, a lot of bad press, a lot of flat out mean talk. Some say it is weak, has no taste, has no body, has no reason to be bottled! No nothing. Eric Asimov of the New York Times has not been shy about expressing his  doubts. Truth be told, there may be some substance to what Eric and the rest of the Pinot Grigio critics say. Many versions of the varietal are poorly produced and just plain cheap. But not Scarpetta.

Voted one of the 25 most popular bottles of Pinot Grigio by Wine and Spirits Magazine, this bottle comes with a pedigree. Scarpetta Winery is owned and operated by Bobby Stuckly, M.S. (Master Sommelier) 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. That tells you two "known knowns." First, Stuckly and Patterson have a lot at stake here. It is unlikely they would put their names on any bottle short of the best. Second, they clearly have the know how to make great bottles. As a Master Sommelier, Stuckly can taste to perfection. And as a renowned chef, Patterson knows what works with food. Together, they oversee a winemaking process that brings about a Pinot Grigio that proves why this grape, properly brought to bottle, can be awesome.

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DESCRIPTION from Scarpetta
Scarpetta is a winery owned and operated by Bobby Stuckey, M.S. and Chef Lachlan Patterson who are the owners and creators of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Frasca is a restaurant inspired by the culture and cuisine of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy. We work with three of the best vineyards for Pinot Grigio in Friuli. The first vineyard is on the rolling banks of the Isonzo River, the second is in the hills of the Collio and the third is in the hills of the Collio Orientali del Friuli. Our grapes are planted in cooler sites resulting in a wine of balanced acidity and alcohol. The wine shows that Pinot Grigio can be light and dry with veins of minerality and floral aromatics. 
Pinot Grigio IGT delle Venezie 2012 
The grapes are fermented in stainless steel after being de-stemmed and left on the skins for approximately 12 hours, resulting in a wine with clear and bright aromas and flavors. 
Light straw color with just a hint of salmon. 
Aromas of white flowers, stone fruits such as apricots and peach and hints of minerality. 


This is a dry, strike that, bone dry, riesling. Dry, you ask? Here's what Eric Asimov had to say in NYT on the question of dry vs. sweet Riesling: "The subject now is dry German riesling, a notion that many people find confusing because they believe that riesling is inherently sweet....Yes, German rieslings can be sweet, gloriously so. These sweet wines at their best are fresh and refreshing and exhibit a thrilling tension, balance and grace unique among rieslings and white wines in general. Yet riesling can also be dry, as it has increasingly become in Germany and as most rieslings are in the rest of the world." 

Now, you are asking about this wine being 2011? Riesling is one of the white grapes that can and does age well, not indefinitely like a fine Bordeaux, but it can go years in the bottle and, as in this case, did itself proud. This wine has taken on a structure and a smoothness that did not exist in 2011.  Here's what Eric Asimov said in NYT on the subject: "Riesling also has the ability to age for decades, to make wines that are intense yet delicate and to express the intricate nuances of terroir so beloved by wine geeks, regardless of whether the wine is dry or sweet."  

And Kabinett? In essence, kabinett = reserve. The history of the term from wiki: 

The term Kabinett, also known as Cabinet, originally implied a wine of superior quality, set aside for later sale. It is essentially the German version of the wine term Reserve. The term originated with the cistercian monks at Eberbach Abbey in Rheingau, where the first recorded use of the term Cabinet occurred in 1712. The abbey's best wines were set aside to be stored in a special cellar built in 1245, and it was later known as the Cabinet cellar, orCabinet-Keller.

Before 1971, the term Cabinet or Kabinett often followed the name of the grape varietal, for example, a wine might be a "Trockenbeerenauslese Cabinet". The term is superfluous under current German wine law, although it can still be found on older bottles.[4]

In 1971, the term Kabinett was officially noted in German wine law, and it was given its current definition which applies to wines which are light and non-chaptalized. Kabinett's current definition differs greatly from its etymological implications of it being a reserve wine. Before 1971, the terms Naturwein (natural wine) or Natuerrein (naturally pure) were used in place of Kabinett. These terms designated non-chaptalized wine, where no other designations, such as Spätlese or Auslese, applied.

And finally, about the wine from the importer, Robert Walter Selections:

The region’s wine growing tradition can be traced back to Roman times. The town’s 1300 years of history are closely interwoven with that of the Order of St. John and its chapter house (manor). In the 19th century became known as a Mußbach Traminer region. In 1902, 54 vintners founded the wine club Mußbach (Mußbach Vintners’ Association). For the first time ever, the region’s vintners jointly marketed their grapes – which marked the beginning of the Mußbach vintners’ success story. Their wines have since become widely known and far beyond the region’s Recognised borders. Membership in the association that is benefited by the vintners single vineyard wines Ensuring that sufficient quantities are available in for year-round marketing.

Three cooperatives joined forces in 1968/71, forming the “WG-Weinbiet Mußbach Gimmeldingen eG”. The cooperative was named after the mountain that shelters the 554 m region, protecting it from storms and hail. As the cooperative decided to use available buildings, its grape and wine collection storage facilities are located at a different site than the bottling and sales facilities. They are, however, connected by an underground pipeline system With the merger of the cooperatives, membership numbers rose to 200 covering a total of 150 hectares of vineyards.

A highly effective organization was established in March 2002 when the neighboring Haardt vintners’ cooperative also joined the wine cooperative Weinbiet. Today, the cooperative ‘s 17 full-time and 129 part-time wine growers cultivate 300 hectares of vineyards.

- See more at: http://www.metrowinesa



Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvee 2012

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

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

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

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

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


Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this wine is unparalleled for the price, $13.99.  Located in Catamarca, Argentina, surrounded by the Andes Mountains, the Alto3 vineyard is one of the highest altitude vineyards in the world sitting at 4947 feet!  It is this high altitude and the characteristic dry, rocky soil combined with minimal rainfall and highly contrasting temperatures between day and night, that produce low yield, high quality grapes.  The altitude and weather facilitate organic practices. The vines are not treated with any chemicals.

The grapes that make Alto3 are hand picked and packed in small cases of 30 pounds.  Fermentation takes place in small concrete tanks and only native yeasts are used. After a 21 day maceration, the wine is aged in American and French oak casks for 6 months and then bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Alto3 presents a deep red, purple color in the glass. On the nose, you will find red currants, herbs, licorice and tobacco.  On the palate, the flavors mimic the nose and add a slightly minty quality to the mix. Alto3 is medium bodied with a smooth texture, solid structure and balanced fruit profile.

"The Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva is inky purple with an attractive bouquet of toasty black currants.  The wine has excellent depth with ample spicy red and black fruits, light tannin, and a very good depth.  Bodega Alto's Alto3 vineyard, consisting of 190 acres, is located in Catamarca, 515 miles north of Mendoza, at 4900+ feet of elevation. The vineyard is farmed organically." 

 Wine Advocate 88 points.

Metro Wines Tasting Panel ALL agreed, and this is not always the case!, that this wine is excellent. Being unfined and unfiltered, the true flavors of the grapes are strong, yet elegantly blended. Alto3 is a great food wine.

Online shippers are showing limited supply of this wine left.


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