11 minutes reading time (2197 words)

Talking Wine

*** Sparkling of The Week ***

Albet i Noya
Brut Rose Reserva 2017, Penedes 19.99

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Stone fruit and red apple aromas set up a punchy, fresh and citric palate.
This bright Penedès sparkler tastes of pink grapefruit and peach,
while the finish is fresh and forward.

Happy Holidays!

Your "Official Holiday Red Wines"

Casadei, Tuscany, Italy

"A Lighter Red"

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A blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.
This wine is powerful, yet supple and elegant. The nose opens with intense berry
and cassis fruit, highlighted by notes of dark chocolate and tobacco.
Firm and silky upon entry, the palate is equally intense with chewy and sweet tannins
and a very persistent finish with dark berries and sweet spices.

$26.99 at Ace online, $22.98 at Vintage online, $20.99 at wine.com
Back on Planet Earth, $18.99 @MetroWines

2016 Elderton Shiraz, Barossa, Australia

"A Heavier Red"

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A rich and vibrant dark purple. Black forest fruits, chocolate, vanilla on the nose.
The palate consists of flavors of plum and berries, chocolate and has a spice finish.
Full bodied, rich; a classic Barossa Shiraz.

Wine & Spirits, 91 Points
The Ashmead family farms 3 shiraz parcels in Barossa, most vines date to the 1940s.
2016 is typical of a powerful shiraz, a dense wine, thick up-front concentration,
lasting through an expansive finish, where detail in the tannins keeps yielding flavor,
from floral notes to salty edgesand tangy, tarry, cool freshness.

James Suckling, 91 Points
An impressive hearty Barossa shiraz with blackberry anddark-cherry aromas, 
feeing into a succulent, long palate. Plenty of hearty flavor here. Drink or hold.

$22.97 at Wine Chateau
$21 @MetroWines


"Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet’"
Review: Beautiful Contradictions

The Swiss artist is a study in opposites: bourgeois yet radical;
affecting yet chilly; straightforward yet mercurial."

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I am having trouble deciphering this review but it brings up a good point:
Things, people, ideas, stations in life, etc.
that seem like they won't work together, sometimes do!
Same is true in the wine world.
Sure, we are good with the Bordeaux Five but after that we start saying whaaaaaa? 
Think of varietals more as interlocking than intersecting!

We asked Brett Watson of The Asheville School of Wine
to translate the theory of this painting into wine.

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"Chateau Musar is one of the most revered and well respected winemakers
Europe.  Producing some of the most age-worthy wines from the base
of Mount Lebanon in Bekaa valley of Lebanon certified organic since 2006
and minimal sulphur added only at bottling.  Gaston Hochar's (winemaker) wines
are so unique because he uses the traditional French grape of Cabernet Sauvignon
from Bordeaux for structure and backbone.  Then Musar blends floral and perfumed grapes
such as Cinsault and Carignan from the Southern Rhone to round out
the gorgeous bouquet.  Extremely old vines lend themselves to producing
incredible vibrancy of fruit for 30+ years of bottle age.  

The premium red bottling is under the classic "Chateau Musar" label.
Current vintage is 2006 which is showing incredible right now and couldalso sit
for 10 more years and get even prettier.  Fermented in cement, aged in old french oak. 
Unfined and unfiltered.  Finished wines are released 7 years after harvest.  
2006 in store for $60. Back vintages available upon request.

The more "drink now" and for the table bottling is under the"Musar Jeune" label 
comes from younger vines of Cabernet, Syrah and Cinsault.  They are blended together
and fermented in steel and see no oak whatsoever.  Aging happens in cement lined vats
to showcase it's youthful minerality.  Unfined and unfiltered.  
Current vintage is 2017,
an extraordinary showcasing of Musar & Bekaa Valley for only $24."

In summary, Brett says: "Bordeaux mixed with Southern Rhone
has never worked and tasted so delicious."

Art Update: Yesterday morning, I was surprised to see this painting in Wall Street Journal
with the title "The Hunt for Red December" pairing a flower arrangement by Lindsey Taylor
with the work. You would find the link here but WSJ is notorious for not posting these arrangements! I will do the best I can to summarize.

Lindsey is not concerned with theory or contradictions but rather, in this case, mostly color.
She selected a deep brown earthenware vessel to match the brown wood of the chair.
The reds of the dress were represented by amaryllis, full roses, carnations
and a slightly pinker Heptacodium bracts. WOW. Whatever. 
Lindsey then adds a sprig of light blue Larkspur with its black centered flowers
highlighting the painting one the fireplace weaving in a little green to pick up the subject's sash. And to complete the picture, literally, Lindsey places seasonally appropriate sprigs of evergreen sequoia and a playful pink carnation to represent the little girl's dress. You get the idea!
So there you have the paining, the wine and the floral arrangement.

Go Forth!

"Sparkling RosTasting"

Saturday, December 28th
from 10am to 7pm @MetroWines

and, as always, on the house!

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Forbes Magazine Says: "Step up to sparklers. You get the same advantages,
since these wines are served chilled, and in many cases they pair even better with food,
rosé champagnes are one of the world’s great food wines. Well, when it comes to celebrating, there is no more time-honored beverage choice than sparkling wine.
Best of all, you don’t have to stop when summer ends, as sparkling wines are well suited
for many other occasions, holidays, brunches, and year-round enjoyment."

Midnight in Santorini

"Because when it's 6pm @MetroWines,
it's already Midnight in Santorini"

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Meanwhile, archaeologists have discovered two monumentally important 
royal tombs dating from about 3500 years ago in Greece shedding light 
on the Bronze Age Palace in Pylos and the Mycenaean culture.

OK. We don't have any archaeologic finds to reveal to you
but we promise a Greek Cafe, with friends food, fun, fireworks and wine!
This year, the evening is limited to 40 seated guests only!

Reserve your seat by calling (828) 575-9525
or online: 

From The MetroWines Book Department

James Beard Award-winning founder of Serious Eats, Ed Levine, 
finally tells the mouthwatering and heartstopping story of building
and, almost losing, one of the most acclaimed and beloved food sites in the world.

In 2005, Ed Levine was a freelance food writer with an unlikely dream:
to control his own fate and create a different kind of food publication:
 the world's best bagels, best burgers, best hot dogs--the best everything edible.
To build something for people like him who took everything edible seriously,
from the tasting menu at Per Se and omakase feasts at Nobu
down to mass-market candy, fast food burgers, and instant ramen.

This is the moving story of making a glorious, weird, and wonderful dream come true.
It's the story of one food obsessive who followed a passion to terrifying, thrilling,
and mouthwatering places--and all the serious eats along the way.

Your Read it With Bottle:

Image result for chehalem mountains pinot noir 2017

Winemaker Says:
Our 2017 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir reflects the diversity of our namesake AVA.
The variety of soil types across this region provide depth and complexity
to this approachable wine. Aromatics of blue and red fruits,
with a touch of brambly earth and spice. The palate shows ripe red fruit,
which is complemented by soft, silky tannins and a crisp finish. 

James Suckling Says 92 Points
This has quite ripe, creamed cherry and spice aromas with a very smooth,
supple and fleshy palate that offers good drinking right away.

The Book is at Malaprops

$32.99 at wine.com (They truly have NO shame!)

$24 @MetroWines

*** BIG RED of THE WEEK ***
2018 Phoenix from Penley Estate
Coonawarra, Australia 17.99

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James Suckling 92
“Pretty and aromatic with dried-rose, spearmint and currant aromas and flavors.
Medium body, soft and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish.” 

The Wine Advocate
Penley Estate is one of the finest Coonawarra producers,
fashioning wines of greater richness, nuance and aging potential than most of their peers.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program
for this urgent message:

100% Tariffs Under Consideration for European Wines


To the extent we can, we will work with importers and distributors to share the extra costs. Beware of online shippers. Many rely on "phantom inventory." This means the
.coms do not and never did actually have the bottle. The .coms order it when you do putting them smack under the tariff effect. We have been preparing and have a good European inventory bought and shipped before the onset of tariffs.

Nevertheless, this is a good time to expand your wine horizons and try wines
from countries excluded from tariffs. Consider wines from South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, Slovenia, Lebanon (see Chateau Musar above!)  
and, of course, this country. Finger Lakes?

From "The Wine Related News Department" @MetroWines
Winery Owner Agustin Huneeus is in the slammer for 5 months
for his part in the college admissions scandal, dubbed Varisty Blues"
actions brought by the US Attorney.

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Who is Agustin Huneeus?

Huneeus Vintners was founded by the elder Huneeus and his wife, Valeria.
Agustin C. built the Chilean winery Concha y Toro into an international success
before immigrating to the United States during political unrest and creating
a small empire around Franciscan Winery.

After his father sold Franciscan to Constellation Brands in 1999, 
Agustin F. stayed on the Board eventually becoming chief executive
of Constellation's fine-wine division before joining his father at the new family company.
The family had held onto 
Quintessa Estatethe foundation of Huneeus Vintners.

Today the company also owns Faust, Flowers Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma and Benton Lane in Oregon. Their biggest splash came when they bought 
The Prisoner from Dave Phinney in 2010, expanded it, and then sold it
in 2016
to Constellation for $285 million.

Meanwhile, Agustin F.  bought his daughter"s way into USC. 
The Justice Department presented evidence, including wiretapped phone calls,
that Huneeus paid $50,000 to Singer to have a proctor improve his daughter's SAT score by correcting some of her answers. Huneeus also agreed to pay both Singer's foundation and a coach at USC a total of $250,000 to secure his daughter a spot
on the school's water polo team, even though she was not a top athlete
and with the understanding she would not have to play.
Lis Neris Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Friuli

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At Lis Neris, while the winery offers excellent red wine, the focus is on white wines.
And well it should be as the conditions at the winery are perfect for white wines.

John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine says:
Grapes grow in gravel beds 150 feet deep covered in breezes off the Mediterranean
and glacial waters that roll down the mountains.

*** Teaching Moment ***
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge.
The wines produced here in Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures.
Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones,
including Friuli Grave, 
Colli Orientali del FriuliCollio Goriziano and Carso. $25

Last Minute Perfect Gift: Luggage!

Wall Street Journal says: "Buying luggage used to be about
as sexy as acquiring a refrigerator."
But we have entered into the "snap-suitcase culture"

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Floyd’s hard shell suitcases will excite even the most experienced travelers
with their supreme quality, clever packaging solutions and high attention to detail. 
Perfect travel companion for people who haven’t given up on their inner teenager
and their enthusiasm for good, honest, optimistic and authentic design. $420.

This looks Sturdy, Functional and Stylish
Pair it with a Powerful yet Elegant Wine

WHIPLASH 2017 Zinfandel, Lodi
"Like the powerful horse for which they are named, Whiplash wines
are commanding and elegant. Our winery and its California wines celebrate
the unbridled spirit of this hole and pay homage to the invaluable horses
that settled the once untamed American West.
Our Whiplash Lodi Zinfandel is full-bodied with a graceful touch of oak.
Dynamic fruit including dark cherry, plum and blueberry combine with captivating
hints of spice leading to a delightful finish. This wine is the perfect dinner companion.

Add a Wine Journal for the Traveler

Malaprops has this one and dozens more!

The Economic Case for Regifting

Don't "Gift" and Don't "Regift"

*** Go DIY ***
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Give a Gift Card to MetroWines!
Call (828) 575-9525 or come on in.

Operators are standing by.


From The MetroWines  "Upon Reconsideration Department"

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Last week, we suggested jeans and a bottle of CMS for a timeless and useful gift.
But, as it turns out, it takes an MIT doctorate in physics to determine the right size.


"Christopher Moore has a doctorate in physics from MIT and has worked on projects ranging from tracking the world's oil supply to searching for new cancer drugs. His latest gig is turning out to be the hardest: helping shippers find the correct size in clothing."

Bag the jeans. No reason to add more stress to your life.
So, unless you know the size for sure, don't even try.

But the CMS is still a great gift!

Bone and Broth Italian Dinner

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