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Metro Wines Asheville, NC

Almost FREE Friday, Laya

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Caya 2012, Wine Advocate 90 points, $9.49

This is a second label of Juan Gil. And if you have had that tight black dress of a wine, you can imagine what this wine offers. A blend of 70% Garnacha, 30% Monastrell, Laya are grown in the calcareous soils between 700 and 1,000 meters above sea level. The winemaker says the plan was to craft a "unique wine that combines complexity, structure and intense color with the explosion of fruit..." Mission accomplished, deep purple in color this easy drinking wine opens with dark cherries, blackberry and a waft of incense on the nose. Medium bodied with exploding black fruit on the palate, coffee and a little licorice all laced with subtle oak.

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Altes Herencia 2011, Garnatxa Blanca, $9.99

From the not yet famous, and hence, less expensive,Terra Alta region in the southeastern corner of the Catalonia border of Aragon and Valencia, this Eric Solomon Selection is, in a word, elegant. The winemaker says the Terra Alta region is "among the best in terms of quality and authenticity." The oh so conducive to grape growing hills and beauty have beckoned painters over the years and been the subject of many works. Pablo Picasso spent his summers in Terra Alta and may or may not have had Garnatxa from this vineyard but, since the vines are old, let's just say he did!. So, if Pablo had been sipping a glass of this bottle, he would find a floral nose with just a whisper of green apple and stone fruit. And he would no doubt be pleased with the almost creamy palate and long finish. Channel Picasso for only $9.99. 

 

 

 

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White Bordeaux, Kermit Lynch Style

This just in: Saturday, November 2, 2013

Asheville Citizen-Times reports  that cardoon is one of the seasonal surprises at area tailgate markets that you should test drive at your table. ACT says if you like artichokes, the cardoon is calling you. This thistle like plant has a similar flavor to the delicious and beloved but hard to pair with artichoke. To cook, trim off the leaves and thorns, peel the stalks, then braise or sauté. Remember when pairing, the secret is in the sauce. But for the most part, unless you are serving cardoon with big chunks of red meat or a heavy red sauce, then the answer is White Bordeaux and this one is magnifique!

The key to Chateau Graville success is the high proportion of Semillion in the bottle. This Graville Lacoste 2012 White Bordeaux is 75% Semillion, 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. Unfiltered, medium bodied and full flavored, this wine reflects the chalky, stony soil of the vineyard. We can say, without hesitation, that Chateau Graville White Bordeaux has all the precision expected of a Kermit Lynch Selection. Clear light yellow in color, the aroma is lemon citrus with a round palate serving up flavors of lemon, grapefruit and minerality. The wine is dry, earthy, balanced and food friendly. Serving smoothly with poultry as well as tough customers such as asparagus and curry and herbs including anise and fennel makes this a covered dish dinner wine. Selling on the internet for 21.99, our price is $17.99.

Château Graville-Lacoste

Hervé Dubourdieu’s easy charm and modest disposition are complemented by his focus and ferocious perfectionism. He prefers to keep to himself, spending most of his time with his family in his modest, tasteful home, surrounded by his vineyards in the Sauternes and Graves appellations. Roûmieu-Lacoste, situated in Haut Barsac, originates from his mother’s side of the family, dating back to 1890. He also owns Château Graville-Lacoste and Château Ducasse, where he grows grapes for his Graves Blanc and Bordeaux Blanc, respectively. In the words of Dixon Brooke, “Hervé is as meticulous a person as I have encountered in France’s vineyards and wineries. Everything is kept in absolutely perfect condition, and the wines showcase the results of this care – impeccable.” Hervé is incredibly hard on himself. Despite the pedigree and complexity of the terroir and the quality of the wines, he has never been quite satisfied to rest on his laurels, always striving to outdo himself. This is most evident in his grape-sorting process for the Sauternes. Since botrytis is paramount to making great Sauternes, he employs the best harvesters available, paying them double the average wage to discern between the “noble rot,” necessary to concentrate the sugars for Sauternes, and deleterious rot. Hervé is so fastidious that he will get rid of a whole basket of fruit if a single grape with the harmful rot makes it in with healthy ones to be absolutely sure to avoid even the slightest contamination. Another thing that we love about Hervé is that he would rather entrust the selling to us than be away from his vines, so he lets us buy the lion’s share of his production. This is an important factor in keeping wine of this quality at so low a price.


Roûmieu-Lacoste is in the climat of Haut Barsac, an area famous (and in fact more renowned historically than the Sauternes appellation as a whole) for its particularly robust, powerfully styled moelleux with pronounced acidity. The vineyards are just across the road from First Growth Château Climens on a similar soil: calcareous clay on fissured rock, peppered with red iron, white limestone, and grey flint gravel. The Graville-Lacoste property produces a Graves Blanc, known primarily for its stony soil composition and fresh minerality. This wine and the Bordeaux Blanc of Château Ducasse are very different from others from their appellations: Hervé blends a high proportion of Sémillon (60%) and a splash of Muscadelle (5%) with Sauvignon Blanc (35%), creating a rich, full, aromatic mid-palate to complement the clean finish. These are the perfect go-to whites that pair well with anything from fish to poultry, picnic fare to Indian curries.

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Lambrusco, Play Hard to Get

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Opera 02 Lambrusco Secco 2011, 85% Lambrusco Grasparossa and 15% Salamino, 19.49

Play hard to get Opera 02. They have been looking for love in all the wrong places. Don't let them come back around and pick you up when there is no deal on a Cava. Don't let them ignore your tiny persistent bubbles, beautiful ruby color with scintillating purple edging, black cherries on the nose and ripe and refreshing fruit but dry to the tongue. Demand that they step outside their comfort zone and see you for who you are, a well structured fresh, firm body made wine from organic grapes grown in limestone and sand, farmed with biodynamic principles. Let them know they are dealing with one sexy italian from Emilia-Romagna in the northern part of Italy, a grape growing area known for producing eccentric and unique characteristics. You are clean. You are sharp. You were raised in cool stainless steel tanks. And while you don't like to drop names, find a way to let them know who made you, baby:  superstar winemaker Luca d'Attoma. 

And if all else fails, tell them that you were featured on Martha Stewart Living TV Show. And while Martha herself was a prisoner, she doesn't take any. Read she does not recommend anything for the table that is not the right stuff!  Make clear up front that you are not a cheap date. But you are an extraordinarily good value for your price. Described as "lip smacking" and "Lambrusco for adults," let them know that you want to be the star! You are perfect for a traditional Thanksgiving or even a hefty four cheese lasagna. You can do it al. You don't play second string. Make them want you.

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They're following us on twitter!

#ReThinkLambrusco@LambruscoDay

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"@metrowines: Play hard to get Dry Lambrusco!
metrowinesasheville.com/blog/entry/lam…fb.me/6sDTwWGAh" .@opera02#ReThinkLambrusco

Roberto Ballestrazzi
@RobyBal79
Sales Manager @OPERA02 Cà Montanari Farm Organic Lambrusco Opera02 Dop http://t.co/2fIJWWCr
Modena, Italy · http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1284328745

Wine Spectator said Luca d'Attoma "gets results."

THE WINEMAKER: LUCA D’ATTOMA

l'aziendal'aziendaLuca D’Attoma was born in 1964 in Borgo San Lorenzo (Florence). He attended the Conegliano Veneto School of Enology and Viticulture on scholarship and graduated in 1985 having completed his thesis on the “Interruption of fermentation and its reactivation with the skin of yeast.”

After having completed his military service obligations Luca spent an apprenticeship period working with Azienda Agricola Bellavista in Franciacorta, in partnership with Sartorius Gmbh, where he was responsible for overseeing microfiltration and microbiological analysis.

Between 1989 and 1992 he continued to gather valuable industry experience working with such established wineries as Fattoria di Albola in Chianti Classico, Fattoria Ponte a Rondolino in San Gimignano and Fattoria Montellori in Chianti.

As early as 1991 Luca was taking on the role as an independent consultant by providing winemaking advice and guidance to, amongst others in Tuscany, Azienda Agricola Le Macchiole in Bolgheri and Tua Rita in Suvereto. By 1993 he had built a strong reputation and was able to focus exclusively on independent consulting activities. Several successful years working in this capacity eventually led to the creation of Wine Evolution Consulting (W.E.C.), founded in 1999. W.E.C. is a society of winegrowers and enologists involved in specialized professional collaborations and the exchange of information in the interest of the advancement of the industry.

At the W.E.C. headquarters, in an office/showroom specially equipped for the purpose, Luca D’Attoma organizes and hosts frequent technical meetings and tastings in an effort to keep both professional colleagues and clients informed and up to date with the latest industry developments.                                                                                 
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Vermentino, La Cala 2011

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La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna, 2011, Sella and Mosca, 13% alcohol, $12.75

First, let me say that Metro Wines has been both enthusiastic and proud to introduce you to new white grapes from Italy. While other countries gave in to the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon decades long marketing blitz, Italy stayed the course. Italy continued to do what Italy does. Continued to grow their indigenous grapes, caring for the already old vines, and maintaining traditional wine making methods. The result is centuries old white grapes you have tried here such as Inzolia, Grillo, Verdicchio and Soave. We ask you to step outside your comfort zone and try again. This is Vermentino!

And Metro Wines is not the only one asking. See the interview with Kermit Lynch in The New York Times Magazine today. When asked if there are grape varietals that he finds "Particularly interesting right now," Kermit Lynch replied: "I'm a big fan right now of vermentino. Probably 50 or 60 percent of the bottles I open at home for my own drinking are white burgundies or vermentinos." (sidebar: Metro Wines has a Kermit Lynch white burgundy on the shelf now.)

100% Vermentino grown and bottled in Sardegna (Sardinia) the wine reflects the very distinct and unique terroir of the island. The winemaker tells us that this varietal, quite at home in a warm climate, flat out thrives under the influence of mistral winds. Pale straw in color with a lemon peel green washing. The Vermentino does the spectacularly beautiful Sardegna proud. A feel good amber yellow in color, the leaves are dark green and pentagonal hanging in pyramidal bunches. The grapes are grown on slopes facing the sea where the bunches can benefit from the reflected light.

These beautiful grapes make wine at La Cala by being harvested early to increase the concentration of flavors. The result is a zesty apple and pear on the palate. The crisp finish is, as the winemaker says, characteristic of this versatile white grape, ahhhh, Vermentino! I know what you are saying. Light, crisp, sounds like summer. And you would be right. This wine is perfect for a hot day. But it is also a new idea for an aperitif and I am just guessing here but I bet the calendar does not stop you from having shellfish and seafood. Paging Vermentino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wild Boar Red 2009, Routas

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Routas Wild Boar Red, Vin de Pays Cabernet Sauvignon.

Named for the wild boars that roam the estate, Chateau Routas is a limited production, eco driven estate in the heart of Provence about midway between the French Riviera and The Alps. Funny story. Routas says that the wild boars sneak into the vineyards at the peak of the harvest and help themselves to some of the best grapes with an apparent preference for Cabernet Sauvignon. "Seduced by the flavors of blackberry, currants and the rich full bodied taste, they defy hunters and negotiate fences risking their lives to get their fill."  It is with great relief and confidence that I tell you that you don't have to fight for your right to this red!

Small by comparison to neighboring far as the eye can see vineyards, Chateau Routas does the different. The non-contiguous vineyards are interspersed in something of a scrubby, stony wilderness among trees and other natural features including truffle oak. But all that brings bold food friendly flavors to this wine. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah, the grapes are soaked for three days then fermented in closed top stainless steel tanks. During the fermentation process, the grapes are punched down and pumped over once a day, then aged six months in French Oak.

"Dried Plum and cherry flavors are firm and accented by plenty of herbal notes. Hints of hot spice mark the finish." Wine Spectator. 87 points

The Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add that since this wine is from a warmer part of France, you will find that while the wine is clearly in the French Style, the wine is a bit fuller in body and a bit more fruit forward making it a great choice for the increasingly cool weather and heavier foods. Every now and then, a wine comes along that is the whole package, baby: great wine in a great bottle, great value,makes a great gift, makes for conversation, makes drinking wine what it should be about, family and friends, and this is one of those wines.

$12.99.

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El Vinculo Featured Weekend Wine

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El Vinculo (translation: "the tie" or "the bond") 2005

From mature Tempranillo vines acquired by Alejandro Fernández in Castile-La Mancha, this 2005 vintage of El Vinculo meets the winemaker's goal "to create this highly personal LaMancha Red of noble character and extended agability."  Vinculo 2005 is a deep, rich, aromatic wine that lives up to the LaMancha reputation for world class wines.  Having won international acclaim in the DO Ribera del Duero, this experienced winemaker has proved that good quality grape vines grown in the extreme continental climatic conditions, "the bad lands" of La Mancha, give rise to exceptional wines. Although tricked out with all the modern wine gear, Alejandro Fernandez, known for consistency and constancy, stays the course of limited production wines.

 

El Vinculo is a product of being at the right place at the right time. Surrounded by mountains that shield the vineyards from harsh rains, the vineyards are planted on flat land subject to the dynamic duo of extreme climate conditions, freezing cold winters and blisteringly hot summers often paired with little or no rainfall. The old established vines that gave us this vintage had proved themselves survivors.

 

The nose comes for you with deep blackberry and currant flavors, tobacco, a little smoke and spices. On the palate, the feel of this 100% Tempranillo is velvety presenting the flavors that arise from the aromas. A lengthy time in oak followed by bottle rest gives this wine foundation, concentration and complexity. The wine can bottle for another five years. Before pouring, give this fruit filled and intense wine about 20 minutes to breath.

 

Selling at $23 (30% off list), this wine is a deal. Because when we get a deal, you get a deal. Where can you find a well aged bottle of red for this price? And here, this one at Metro Wines, is aged for you at no extra charge! This is a great bottle. But don't believe me. Witness the critical reviews:

 

91 Points | International Wine Cellar , September/October 2008

($33) Dark ruby. Wild, pungent dark berry and raw meat aromas are complemented by violet and tobacco. Smells vaguely rude, but on the palate this is all sweet berry fruit, with the supple blackberry and cassis flavors firmed by chewy tannins and picking up musky herbal and dried floral qualities with air. Finishes sweet, with firm, slightly bitter cherry and blackcurrant skin flavors and very good persistence..

90 Points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2005) - "Dark ruby. Wild, pungent dark berry and raw meat aromas are complemented by violet and tobacco. Smells vaguely rude, but on the palate this is all sweet berry fruit, with the supple blackberry and cassis flavors firmed by chewy tannins and picking up musky herbal and dried floral qualities with air. Finishes sweet, with firm, slightly bitter cherry and blackcurrant skin flavors and very good persistence."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2008

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Poggio Della Torre & Domaine de Montabech on Almost FREE Friday

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Poggio Della Torre Chianti 2011

Made with traditional wine making methods, the grapes are selected from very specific production areas of Chianti, particularly the vineyards from the province of Florence. To be even more specific, the grapes are born and raised in Vinci (Yes, the same as Leonardo) and Cerreto Guidi (the Medicis have a place there). Temperature control encourages good color and supple tannins. This 100% Sangiovese is a lovely purple red in color. The nose is full and fruity with notes of spice and the palate is wild strawberry and cherry. The feel and flavor are smooth and the lingering finish holds onto the fruit. the importer says that "this wine is harmonious from start to finish." Well structured and made the traditional way gives this wine, with proper storage, aging potential of 7 to 9 years. And at 12.5% alcohol, this is a Metro Wines Tasting Panel "bottle for dinner wine." Please remember to recycle!

All that is a lot for $10.99 (almost FREE) on the shelf. Holidays coming. Buy cases. But hurry. When it's gone (and it will be) it's gone.

And just for fun, Poggio is keeping good company. Check it out.

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Who wanted to build the villa of Carreto Guidi? It was commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici (1519-1574), who spent a lot of time in this area rich in forests and particularly suitable for the hunting expeditions of the court. The villa was built between 1564 and 1567. Construction work for the villa began in the winter of 1564 and continued until 1567, with an intermediate break of about a year.

In comparison with previous models, this villa has new elements in the volumetric solutions and in some formal details of the façades, characterized by sober decorative aspects, reduced to a few elements, ashlars around the front door, the frames and the small shelves of the windows, and worth as much as evocative codes of recognition of the design commissioned by princes, which insisted on the sober simplicity and traditional solutions: the hipped roof, plastered barrel or groin vaults, wooden floor slabs, terracotta floors, all elements placed side by side with the regularity and repetitiveness of the façades.

 

Domaine de Montrabech White, PAYS D'OC, 2011

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Even at $8.79, this is not your grocery store white! A blend of Grenache Blanc, Muscat Petits Grains, this wine is a DRY white wine. I put that in caps because I know what you were thinking when you heard "muscat." Come on. You know you were. The nose is floral and with some scents of the tropics and herbaceous notes on the palate.  The blend is blended well, no grape dominates. Read Muscat does not dominate. Does not. All harmonious and vibrant. This is what you would expect from a classic White Rhone. Still not quite sure what to make of this bottle? Let me put it this way, if you enjoy a French Viognier or a Torrontes from Argentina then, as they say at Amazon, shoppers who bought those wines also bought this one. it's almost FREE. But in truth, this wine is an amazing value. Try it. Great aperitif for the holidays. And with the right cheese, magnifique! At 11.5% alcohol, you know, it's a "bottle for dinner."

 

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Cueto Tendencia Rioja 2009

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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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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

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

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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

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

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$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

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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?

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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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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.

 

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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

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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

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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

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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:

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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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BRAN CAIA TRE 2010

 

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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.
 
Interested?
Take the test?
 
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Cooper Hill Pinot Noir

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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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