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Football Wine #1 RAATS Red Jasper

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Tailgating? Prepping for Playoffs and the Superbowl? Follow our developing list of football wines. The first is RAATS Red Jasper made by winemaker Bruwer Raats. Red Jasper is healthy blend of 56% Cabernet Franc, 27% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot.  Pair it, as we did @MetroWines on New Years Eve, with South African Black Soy Bean Hummus and Sweet Potato Chips. Because who knows more about football, albeit a different version, than sports fans in South Africa!! 

South African Black Soy Bean Hummus

 

Black soybeans are a terrific stand-in for chickpeas in this robust hummus. Because of the nuttiness and creamy texture, no olive oil and very little tahini are required to give the dip its traditionally rich flavor. Give the hummus some heat by adding a bit of the North African hot pepper paste called harissa.  You can find harissa  and tahini at most grocery stores that offer basic international foods. Serve hummus in a small bowl, garnish with a sprinkling of sweet paprika and a scattering of oil-cured olives. Pita triangles or sweet potato chips to dip.

 

ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black soybeans or 1 can (15 ounces) organic black soybeans, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soybean cooking or canning liquid or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon harissa  or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • Sweet paprika and oil-cured olives, for garnish

preparation

Mince the garlic. Add black soybeans and the minimum amounts of the remaining ingredients. Process to a fairly smooth paste. Taste and blend in more of any ingredients required to give a smooth consistency and to suit your taste. Makes about 1 and 1/4 cups.

 

 

Served at New Years Eve Wine World Way, December 31, 2013

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Zweigelt Zum Martin Sepp

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Zweigelt is different in a good way. Ever wonder why movie critics pick outlandish movies for critical acclaim? When questioned, they always say they have seen so many movies, they want to see something different. The same phenomenon occurs when you taste wine after wine. You begin to seek out "the different." But not crazy different. High quality, finessed, different different different. Zweigelt is just that, new with an old heritage, or as they say on TV, it's new to you. This red grape, Zweigelt, was the invention, yes, invention of a researcher named Fritz Zweigelt.

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It was a dark and stormy night when Zweigelt crossed two other Austrian grapes, one of which has similar characteristics to the Pinot Noir grape we know and love, and gave life to this aromatic medium bodied grape. Enormously popular in Austria and throughout Europe, Zweigelt is best served slightly chilled to bring up the raspberry and cherry nose and palate. Bottled with a cap, a la beer, (ask us about the story there!) our Zweigelt comes in a liter bottle adding a few extra glasses to the table and making this a world class bargain!

But don't take my word for it, read Eric Asimov in the New York Times:

June 13, 2007 WINES OF THE TIMES

By ERIC ASIMOV

A GRAPE and a wine that go by the name zweigelt have immediate obstacles to overcome on the path toward popularity. First and foremost is the fact that the American wine-drinking public is attracted to melodious wine terminology drawn from the romance languages. Chardonnay and merlot and Chianti and Rioja flow beautifully from the tongue, with connotations of captivating pleasures. Germanic words like zweigelt, blaufränkisch and, yes, rotwein, do not.

That has been true for years, but you know what? It’s time to get over it. The pure pleasures available by being open to some of the less familiar Germanic wines are now too great to allow a little matter like language to stand in the way.

Today we’re talking specifically about Austria. If Austria is known at all for its wines, it’s for whites. Its dry, minerally rieslings are more full-bodied than Germany’s, while its peppery grüner veltliners have actually achieved a modest vogue of their own. Yet as delicious as Austrian whites can be, the real excitement these days is in the discovery of its reds, most notably zweigelt (pronounced TSVYE-gelt) but also blaufränkisch.

The two grapes are linked by geography and by heritage, so the wine panel tasted them together, 12 bottles of each, along with one that was largely a blend of the two, for a total of 25 bottles.

For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Fred Dexheimer, a former sommelier who is now a manager at T. Edward Wines, an importer and distributor, and Aldo Sohm, wine director at Le Bernardin, who is not only Austrian himself but was selected best sommelier in the country this year by the American Sommelier Association.

Zweigelt and blaufränkisch are among the most widely planted red grapes in Austria. Blaufränkisch is the older, and it theoretically has the potential to make wines of greater depth and ageability than zweigelt, but it is also more difficult to grow and make into wine.

In Germany and in the United States, blaufränkisch is known as lemberger, and in fact our tasting coordinator slipped one American lemberger into the otherwise all-Austrian sample. We found some blaufränkisches that we liked very much, but we also found a stolidity in some of the wines that contrasted greatly with the lighter, more agile zweigelts.

Zweigelt is a relatively new grape, developed in 1922 when an Austrian scientist, Fritz Zweigelt, crossed blaufränkisch with St. Laurent. The grape was originally called rotburger, but mercifully, for English speakers at least, the name was changed to honor its creator.

A few of our bottles came from areas associated mostly with white wines, like Kamptal, Kremstal and Donauland, but most were from the red wine territory of Burgenland, in eastern Austria, south of Vienna and along the border with Hungary.

It is no exaggeration to say that we were greatly excited by the zweigelts. They had a freshness and grace that marked them as wines that would go beautifully with a wide range of foods. What’s more, they had an exotic spice and floral character, predominantly aromas of cinnamon and violets, that made them distinctive and unusual.

Fred compared the zweigelts to Côtes-du-Rhônes. They reminded me of lighter Bierzos or spicy Beaujolais.

What helped make the zweigelts so good was the consistency of style among the producers. Unlike the blaufränkisches, which for the moment seem to have some identity issues, only one zweigelt among those we tried strayed from the lithe, nimble model…...

In comparing wines made from the two grapes, it’s immediately apparent that blaufränkisch makes bigger and deeper wines, but they are not as graceful. The best blaufränkisches have a fullness that can be very satisfying, but some that we tasted seemed clumsy, as if the producers were unsure how to get the most out of this grape…….As for zweigelt, these wines are ripe for discovery right now. Their lightness makes them fine reds for summer drinking, while their spicy, floral flavors should sustain them in colder weather. Their price is right year round…..As for the name, well, take a tip from somebody whose own name could be Exhibit A in an alphabetical list of hard-to-pronounce words: zweigelt’s not so bad.

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Familie Bauer Gruner Veltliner

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Gruner Veltliner Grapes grown in the centuries old rich soil near the Danube River, make for a wine that presents crisp acidity and solid citrus flavor and a touch of white pepper. The wine is full bodied and substantial. Familie Bauer comes to us in a liter and considering how easy it is to drink, this is a real benefit! Austria offers 35 grape varieties. Who knew? Familie Bauer says that Austria has excellent sites for internationally known varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Muskateller,Traminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. But even more important is the precious portfolio of local grape varieties, with Grüner Veltliner at the top of the list. This white variety alone accounts for almost one third of Austria's vineyards. 

From wiki about Grüner Veltliner (Green Veltliner) is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The leaves of the grape vine are five-lobed with bunches that are long but compact, and deep green grapes that ripen in mid-late October in the Northern Hemisphere.

In 2008, Grüner Veltliner plantations in Austria stood at 17,151 hectares (42,380 acres), and it accounts for 32.6% of all vineyards in the country, almost all of it being grown in the northeast of the country.[1] Some is made into sparkling wine in the far northeast around Poysdorf. Along the Danube to the west of Vienna, inWachauKremstal and Kamptal, it grows with Riesling in terraces reminiscent of the Rhine, on slopes so steep they can barely retain any soil. The result is a very pure, minerally wine capable of long aging, that stands comparison with some of the great wines of the world. In recent blind tastings organized by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Grüner Veltliners have beaten world-class Chardonnays from the likes of Mondavi and Maison Louis Latour.[2]

Outside of Austria, Grüner Veltliner is the second most widely grown white grape variety in the Czech Republic, encompassing approximately 2,120 hectares (5,200 acres) and resulting in approximately 11% of Czech wine production.[3] In recent years a few US wineries have started to grow and bottle Grüner Veltliner, including wineries and vineyards in MassachusettsOregonMaryland, the North Fork of Long Island AVA and Finger Lakes AVA regions of New York StateNapa Valley,Clarksburg AVAMonterey AVA and Santa Ynez Valley AVA in CaliforniaAshtabula CountyOhio and in South New Jersey. Gruner Veltliner is also planted inAustralia, particularly in the Adelaide Hills wine region in South Australia, as well as the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

Some ampelographers (such as Hermann Goethe in his 1887 handbook of ampelography) have long assumed that Grüner Veltliner is not related to the other varieties with "Veltliner" in their name (such as Roter Veltliner), or that it is only distantly related.[4] A first DNA analysis in the late 1990s secured Traminer as one parent of Grüner Veltliner, but was not able to identify the other parent among the candidates studied.[5] The other parent was later found to be an originally unnamed variety of which only a single, abandoned, very old and weakened vine was found in Sankt Georgen am Leithagebirge outside Eisenstadt in Austria. The grape is therefore referred to as St. Georgener-Rebe or "St. Georgen-vine".[6]

Grüner Veltliner has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine and is a popular offering on restaurant wine list.[7] It is made into wines of many different styles - much is intended for drinking young in the Heuriger (bars serving new wine) of Vienna, a little is made into sparkling wine, but some is capable of long aging. The steep, Rhine-like vineyards of the Danube west of Vienna produce very pure, minerally Grüner Veltliners intended for laying down. Down in the plains, citrus and peach flavors are more apparent, with spicy notes of pepper and sometimes tobacco.

 

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Party with Prosecco

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Nua Brut Prosecco is a Metro Wines Best Buy at $9.49 a bubbly bottle.

Buy 6 and the price drops to $8.55 a bottle, bringing 6 to $51.25!

Buy a case and the per bottle price is $8.07, $96.80 for all 12!

You can't beat this. Cannot.

 

NUA

PROSECCO

REGION:VENETO, FRIULI REGIONS

GRAPE VARIETIES:GLERA

COLOUR:PALE YELLOW WITH GREEN UNDERTONES

BOUQUET:ELEGANT, CRISP, FRUITY BOUQUET WITH A TYPICAL AROMA

TASTE:MELLOW, DISTINCTIVE, PLEASANTLY CRISP AND HARMONIOUS

ALCOHOL CONTENT:11.50% VOL

SERVING TEMPERATURE:6 - 8° C

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Sparkling

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If it sparkles, we got it!

MAGNUMS

Thierry Triolet Brut Rose Champagne

Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvee De Reserve (Wildman Imports)

* Dom Perignon 2004. $155. Compare our price!

Krug Grande Cuvee Brut Champagne

* Francois Montand Blanc de Blanc Brut (Best Buy at $28)

SPLITS

Gruet

Duval Leroy Rose

CHAMPAGNE

Thierry Triolet Brut Rose

Thierry Triolet Brut

Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot Cold Pack Swimsuit Edition!

Philippe Montand Brut

Taittinger Brut in Hollywood Gift Box

Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial

Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Reserve

PROSECO

Bocelli

Cuvee Beatrice

* Nua Brut (Best Buy at $9.49)

Sciarpa

Belstar Cuvee Rose

Belstar

METHODE TRADITIONNELLE

* St. Hilaire Blanc de Blanc Brut (Best Buy at $13.99)

Gruet Brut Rose

Gruet Brut

Schramsberg Brut Rose 2009

Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc 2009

CREMANT

Gerard Bertrand Brut 2011

CAVA (Spain)

Gramona Gran Cuvee 2009, Barcelona

Gramona Imperial 2006

Cristalino Brut Rose

Cristalino

SPUMANTE (Italy)

Col. Mesian 910 Extra Dry (Best buy at $11.99)

SPARKLING WINE (Germany)

Weinbiet SECCO Trocken (dry)

SPARKLING WATER

Saratoga 

CIDERS

Citizen Cider (Vermont)

isastegi (Spain)

Angry Orchard (gluten free)

TONIC WATER

Fentimans

 

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Oasis del Cuyo 2012 Malbec & Cristalino Brut are Almost FREE

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What the Importer Cannon Wines has to say:

Oasis del Cuyo Malbec 2012

The word CUYO comes from the indigenous Mapuche language which means “country of deserts”. Its name is associated today with the wine region in Argentina. The word OASIS is used for the pristine water lakes created by the snowmelt of the Andes Mountains. OASIS del CUYO wines are handcrafted from vines grown in the deserts of MENDOZA, ARGENTINA.

TASTING NOTES
Deep ruby color. Appealing red fruit nose with hints of tobacco. Medium bodied with a smooth and lush mouth-feel. Finishes dry with lasting flavors. Excellent choice for a young and fruity everyday wine. Enjoy as an aperitif or with meats and pasta dishes.

What our customers have to day: "great taste" "big wine for the price" "velvety" If you are tracking Almost FREE FRiday, you know that we poured this Malbec last Friday. Since it was so popular and so many customers took bottles home, we are pouring Oasis del Cuyo again! $9.99.

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Value Brand of the Year, 3 Consecutive years in a row, so says Wine & Spirits Magazine. 87 Points from Wines Spectator. Start there! Jaume Serra Cristalino CAVA is made with extraordinary attention to detail in the traditional method, that is, secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. The winemaker says that this CAVA is known for its soft scent of toast and dry, lingering citrus on the palate and, that said, "is sophisticated enough for just about any meal as well as your next celebration." You cannot go wrong with this critically acclaimed product of Spain at $8.75.

 

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Pinot Noir 20% Sale Continues

UPDATE:

Biltmore, South Asheville, Montford, West Asheville, Albemarle, Grove Park, Weaverville and Orlando, Florida!!! Customers came from everywhere to shop the 20% off Pinot Noir sale. With such a wide selection and great prices, Metro Wines was asked to continue the sale one more day for customers who could not beat the 5pm deadline. DONE! Shop the sale from noon to 8pm today, Friday, December 27th @MetroWines. 

20% off all Pinot Noirs.  We offer all price points, regions and styles. There is a bottle here for you, your table or as a gift to start the new year off right!

On the shelf: Meomi 2012, Belle Gloss 2012, Roaring Meg New Zealand 2011, Omero Willamette Valley Oregon, Cross Barn Paul Hobbs Sonoma 2008, CAW Yamhill 2008, Bourgogne Maison Roche de BelleneSteele Carneros 2012, Joseph Cattin Alsace 2012, Cooper Hill Willamette Valley Oregon 2012, Terrazze Italy 2012, Monthelie 2011, Rex Hill Willamette 2011, Fortis Rogue River 2010, Parker Station 2010, Bourgogne Captain Gagnero (** 1 bottle left **)Hook and Ladder Russian River CA 2012,  Domino IV 2009, GC Willamette Valley,  Banshee Sonoma 2012, Davis Bynum Russian River 2012, HRW Napa 2010, Benton Lane Willamette Valley 2010, Lumos Oregon 2011, Simple Life CA 2011, Underwood Oregon 2012 (**2 bottles left**), and Solena Hyland McMinnville Vineyard Oregon 2011!

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KRUG Grande Cuvee Brut

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KRUG Grande Cuvee Brut. This is the BIG DADDY! Call for price.

97 points Wine Spectator "This is all about balance and the integration of power and finesse, with finely honed acidity supporting flavors of quince paste, dried black cherry, spun honey and candied orange zest, while rich notes of roasted walnut, coffee liqueur and toasted cardamom resonate on the finish. Hard to stop sipping. Drink now through 2028. (9/ 2013)

95 points Robert Parker, Wine Advocate "Krug’s NV Brut Grande Cuvee ID 112001 – disgorged already over the winter of 2011-2012 but then further aged before release – reinforces the belief that, thankfully, even wine lovers of modest means who occasionally splurge on Krug Grande Cuvee will be rewarded with a wine that need not fear comparison with this house’s more limited and far more expensive bottlings, nor for that matter with any other wines of Champagne. The harmonious juxtaposition of creaminess and lees enrichment with bright, juicy citricity and of expansive richness with levity is stunning....Citrus zest notes segue seamlessly into the fine stream of CO2 without bitterness, while succulent white peach garlanded in lily-of-the-valley is laced with rich, subtly piquant nut oils and saliva-liberating salinity. Emerging suggestions of shitake and shrimp shell reduction compound the sense of capital-“U” umami in a vibrantly interactive and refreshing finish. A day after opening, this is even more vividly complex than it had been initially, with hints of fresh red raspberry lending an invigorating tang and sensation of berry seed-crunching that delivers strikingly harmonious counterpoint to both the luscious brightness of fruit and the nutty low-tones....The team at Krug has long taken pains to emphasize that the task of assembling their Grande Cuvee from a hundred or more lots reflecting reserves of widely varying ages is mind-bogglingly complex. So is the result. (11/ 2013)

93 points Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar "Light yellow-gold. Highly aromatic bouquet of fresh tangerine, candied fig, pear skin and ginger, plus a smoky mineral overtone. Tangy, precise and concentrated, offering a complex blend of citrus and orchard fruit and floral flavors underscored by chalky minerality. Juicy, tightly focused, youthfully angular Champagne, with nervy acidity adding cut to the long, sappy finish. I can see why some long-time Krug fans might be perplexed by this bottling but I think that it will be a really outstanding bottle with another five-plus years of cellaring. (12/ 2013)

93 points Wine & Spirits "Substantial, complex and heady, this current release of Grande Cuvée is in a constant state of change. Its flavors range from dark fruit to bright, sunny citrus, from nutty and pleasantly bitter to creamy and sweet. It carries electricity through the mineral resonance of its flavors. Masterfully blended. (12/ 2013)

 

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Pinot Noir 20% off SALE today 12/26

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By customer request, Metro Wines is opening for the BIG PINOT NOIR SALE!

TODAY, Thursday, December 26th from noon to 5pm. (Closing 5 sharp, dinner at AMBROZIA. Don't stand in my way!)

20% off all Pinot Noirs.  We offer all price points, regions and styles. There is a bottle here for you!

On the shelf: Meomi 2012, Belle Gloss 2012, Roaring Meg New Zealand 2011, Omero Willamette Valley Oregon, Cross Barn Paul Hobbs Sonoma 2008, CAW Yamhill 2008, Bourgogne Maison Roche de Bellene, Steele Carneros 2012, Joseph Cattin Alsace 2012, Cooper Hill Willamette Valley Oregon 2012, Terrazze Italy 2012, Monthelie 2011, Rex Hill Willamette 2011, Fortis Rogue River 2010, Parker Station 2010, Bourgogne Captain Gagnero, Hook and Ladder Russian River CA 2012, Domino IV 2009, GC Willamette Valley,  Banshee Sonoma 2012, Davis Bynum Russian River 2012, HRW Napa 2010, Benton Lane Willamette Valley 2010, Lumos Oregon 2011, Simple Life CA 2011, Underwood Oregon 2012, and Solena Hyland McMinnville Vineyard Oregon 2011!

 

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Dom Perignon, $155. Compare our price.

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Our price is $155. Compare. What the critics say:

96 points Antonio Galloni

  The 2004 Dom Pérignon continues to develop beautifully. A vibrant, focused Champagne, the 2004 clearly reflects the personality of the year. Freshly cut flowers, white peaches and pears are woven together in a Champagne that impresses for its focus and energy. Chiseled saline note support the crystalline finish. I imagine the 2004 will always remain relatively bright and linear, but at the same time, each time I have tasted it over the last two years the 2004 seems to have a little more body and broader shoulders. The 2004 will appeal most to readers who find the 2002 and 2003 too exuberant. There is a lot to like in the glass.   (5/ 2013)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

  Lily-of-the-valley perfume and scents of lightly toasted brioche and almond rise from the glass of Moet’s 2004 Brut Dom Perignon, along with hints of the apricot, pear and grapefruit that then inform a luscious and creamy yet strikingly delicate as well as consummately refreshing palate. Sweet-saline savor of scallop – also already intimated in the nose – lends compulsive saliva-inducement to a ravishingly rarified and persistent finish, joined by alkaline, nutty, liquid-floral, and nori seaweed notes for a performance of head-scratching subtlety and intrigue. (In case my description hasn’t already made clear, we have here inter alia a fantastic sushi wine.) This will be worth following for at least the next 6-8 years, in the course of demonstrating that iconic status as a luxury brand, and elevated (albeit secret) production numbers by no means preclude a wine of understated as well as profound beauty.   (11/ 2013)

95 points Wine Spectator

  There’s a sense of tension paired with grace in this deftly balanced version, with a rich and smoky vein of minerality underscoring the flavors of poached apple, honey, financier and sun-dried black cherry, showing hints of roasted almond, coffee liqueur and ground spice. Drink now through 2029   (9/ 2013)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

  Vivid yellow. High-pitched, mineral-accented aromas of pear, Meyer lemon, quince and jasmine, with smoke and toasted grain qualities adding bass notes. Spicy, penetrating and pure, boasting impressive vivacity to its fresh orchard and citrus fruit flavors. Gains weight and breadth with air while maintaining vivacity, picking up a gingery nuance that carries through a long, smoky finish. I'd bet on this taut, youthful Champagne rewarding many more years of patience.   (11/ 2013)

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The London Launch of Dom Perignon 2004

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What they are saying about this vintage at Berry Bros & Rudd, 3 St. James's Street in London:

Dom Pérignon Champagne is widely considered to be one of the world’s finest Champagnes. Whereas some other Champagne Houses focus in on making the ultimate non-vintage luxury cuvée, Dom Pérignon is solely focused on producing the ultimate expression of a vintage. 


Dom Pérignon is produced only in the most exceptional vintages, and is never released until the Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy, believes that the wine has developed the quality and class we expect from Dom Pérignon. We are therefore happy to announce that Richard Geoffroy has made this decision, and the 2004 vintage has now been released.

Geoffroy describes that, in contrast with 2003, this was a year that “rolled effortlessly by” – an ease and generosity clearly demonstrated in the resulting Champagne itself. The wine gained its personality from the grapes’ exposure to dry heat experienced during the few weeks before the harvest.  “The growing and fruit ripening periods went by smoothly, with no difficulties - a phenomenon that we have rarely, if ever, seen before”. 

The 2004 Dom Pérignon is clearly going to be an exceptional wine, one described by Antonio Galloni, that “will appeal most to readers who find the 2002 and 2003 too exuberant. There is a lot to like in the glass" (96/100 points).

So take the opportunity acquire a case of the 2004 Dom Pérignon and watch it age beautifully into a Champagne to enjoy in 10 – 15 years’ time, if you can wait that long.

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Open "That" Bottle

Metro Wines Customer Deborah sent us this WSJ article. Thank you Deborah! And what a great idea for a night at the shop?? and good advice when playing the home version. 

  • Tips

    • Stand older wine up for a few days before you plan to open it to allow the sediment to settle.
    • Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.
    • Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.

Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all wine lovers have that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do. This is why “Tastings” columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher invented Open That Bottle Night, the world-wide celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.

On OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of the weekly “Tastings” column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.

If you plan to participate in Open That Bottle Night, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

1. Choose the wine. This is the all-important first step. You don’t necessarily want to open your “best” wine or your most impressive wine, but the wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise. Maybe it’s Grandpa’s garlic wine. You’re looking for a bottle full of memories. On the other hand, if you have, say, a 1929 Lafite that’s just sitting there, it’s tough to argue with that.

2. Stand older wine up (away from light and heat, of course) for a few days before you plan to open it — say, on Wednesday. This will allow the sediment, if there is some, to sink to the bottom.

3. Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees) than today’s room temperature. Don’t overchill the white, and think about putting the red in the refrigerator for an hour or two before opening it if you’ve been keeping it in a 70-degree house.

4. With an older bottle, the cork may break easily. The best opener for a cork like that is one with two prongs, but it requires some skill. You have some time to practice using one. Be prepared for the possibility that a fragile cork may fall apart with a regular corkscrew. If that happens, have a carafe and a coffee filter handy. Just pour enough through the coffee filter to catch the cork.

5. Otherwise, do not decant. It’s safe to assume that these are old and fragile wines. Air could quickly dispel what’s left of them. If the wine does need to breathe, you should have plenty of time for that throughout the evening.

6. Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.

7. If you are having an OTBN party, ask everyone to say a few words about the significance of the wine they brought. This really is what OTBN is all about, sharing.

8. Serve dinner. Open the wine and immediately take a sip. If it’s truly, irretrievably bad — meaning vinegar — you will know it right away. But even if the wine doesn’t taste good at first, don’t rush to the sink to pour it out. Previous OTBN participants have said they were amazed how a wine pulled itself together and became delicious as the night wore on.

9. Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.

10. Drop Dottie and John a note at wine@wsj.com about your evening. Be sure to include your name, city and phone number, in case they need to contact you so that they can share your account with other readers.

This article was adapted from a Tastings column by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher published in January 2007.

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Beaujolais, why?

Why is Beaujolais the Holiday Dinner Wine? Because few grapes are more versatile than the gamay. The gamay grape calls Beaujolais home and, hence, the name of the wine. The gamay grape can be made into a very fruit forward wine or a more subtle, complex and versatile wine. Vine in the ground, many scholars say, since the 13th century. And the soil is mesozoic! But gamay has a past in more ways than chronology. 

From wiki: Gamay noir is now known to be a cross of Pinot noir and the ancient white variety Gouais, the latter a Central European variety that was probably introduced to northeastern France by the Romans. The grape brought relief to the village growers following the decline of the Black Death. In contrast to the Pinot noir variety, Gamay ripenedtwo weeks earlier and was less difficult to cultivate. It also produced a strong, fruitier wine in a much larger abundance. In July 1395, the Duke of Burgundy Philippe the Bold outlawed the cultivation of Gamay as being "a very bad and disloyal plant", due in part to the variety occupying land that could be used for the more "elegant" Pinot noir. Sixty years later, Philippe the Good, issued another edict against Gamay in which he stated the reasoning for the ban is that "The Dukes of Burgundy are known as the lords of the best wines in Christendom. We will maintain our reputation".[2] The edicts had the effect of pushing Gamay plantings southward, out of the main region of Burgundy and into the granite based soils of Beaujolais where the grape thrived.[1The region of Beaujolais was first cultivated by the Romans who planted the areas along its trading route up theSaône valley. The most noticeable Roman vineyard was Brulliacus located on the hillside of Mont Brouilly. The Romans also planted vineyards in the area Morgon. From the 7th century through the Middle Ages, most of theviticulture and winemaking was done by the Benedictine monks. In the 10th century, the region got its name from the town of Beaujeu, Rhône and was ruled by the Lords of Beaujeu till the 15th century when it was ceded to the Duchy of Burgundy. The wines from Beaujolais were mostly confined to the markets along the Saône and Rhône rivers, particularly in the town of Lyon. The expansion of the French railroad system in the 19th century opened up the lucrativeParis market. The first mention of Beaujolais wines in English followed soon after when Cyrus Redding described the wines of Moulin-à-Vent and Saint-Amouras being low priced and best consumed young.[1]

In the 1980s, Beaujolais hit a peak of popularity in the world's wine market with its Beaujolais nouveau wine. Spurred on by the creative marketing fromnégociants like Georges Duboeuf, demand outpaced supply for the easy drinking, fruity wines. As more Beaujolais producers tried to capitalize on the "Nouveau craze", production of regular Beaujolais dropped and an eventual backlash occurred in the late 1990s and early 21st century. By this point, the whole of Beaujolais wine had developed a negative reputation among consumers who associated Gamay based wines with the slightly sweet, simple light bodied wines that characterized Beaujolais Nouveau. Producers were left with a wine lake surplus that French authorities compelled them to reduce through mandatory distillation. In response, there has been renewed emphasis on the production of more complex wines that are aged longer in oak barrels prior to release. Recent years have seen a rise in the number of terroir driven estate-bottled wines made from single vineyards or in one of the Cru Beaujolais communes, where the name of the commune is allowed to be displayed on the label.[1]

So now you know! One more fun Beaujolais fact before you head to Metro Wines to shop: Those who remember the 60s might recall that after Bistro success, Beaujolais was touted as the "true prince of bars and good tables."

 

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Wine HELP Line

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RELAX. We got you covered. Metro Wines Help Line is UP. Operators are standing by. We will continue to expand and update the categories of occasions that demand your attention! No longer do you need to worry about which wine to give for which reason. The staff at Metro Wines is ON it. From Susan Harrell, here is the first "HelpLine.

"I love you: 2009 Mercerey 1er Cru “Clos de Paradis”

 

-       A classic Burgandian wine that is not overly dry. A sexy wine that will please everyone. 

This will get you a raise:  2008 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet

-       It has a classic structure of fine grained tannins and a long layered finish. Perfect for the refined palate.

Welcome Neighbor:  Frontier Red Lot #123

-       Dark fruit aromas, of black cherry, blackberry, along with pepper. Enjoy with everyday cuisine, backyard bbq’s and/or alone. 

Thank You: Tenuta Mazzouno, Terraze

-       The palate is full, soft, harmonious and slightly spicy with pleasant overtones of ripe red fruit.

Impress the In-Laws: Decoy Merlot “Duckhorn Portfolio”

-       Rich and beautifully structured, offering a lush core of dark, ripe fruit, wrapped in smooth and firm tannins.

I’m Sorry: 2009 Corte Majoli Amarone de Valpocella

-       Outstanding Amarone for this little amount of money. Classic ripe raspberry, pomegranate and wild berry fruit linger harmoniously. 

Congrats: Bocelli Proseco

-       Unlke many champagnes, it is not harsh-rather, it tickles the throat with a peachy softness and is flecked with minerality that remains simple in the best of ways. Perfect perlage makes it the ideal choice for any occasion, especially a congratulation. 

Girls Night: Pullus Pinot Grigio

-       Macerated for 72 hours with skins gives this wine a light, friendly, and clear pinky, salmon color. A fun and festive wine that is slightly dry with a hint of strawberry. 

First Date: ‘HWR’ Pinot Noir Napa Valley

 - Details TBA. Stand by!

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French Cooking and Wine Pairing Classes!

Kendal Klein is coordinating this great pairing for Metro Wines. Questions? Call her at 828-575-9525 or email at kendal@metrowinesasheville.com. And join us! Makes a great gift!

Cooking and Wine Pairing Class–A 4-week series
Tuesdays, January 14, 21, 28 and February 4 – 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
 

wine-pairingMa Belle France is joining forces with Metro Wines and wine experts,  to create a fantastic class for you!

For one whole month, you will meet weekly to:
·         prepare one traditional French dish,
·         learn about the perfect wine to pair with the dish,
·         learn how to taste the wine, and use the right kind of wine glass,
·         learn about the region where both the dish and the wine originate,
·         sit down and dine in style, enjoying the dish prepared and the wine chosen,
·         take home the recipe and the wine glass you used that night.

Program:
Week 1Mussels with Cream Sauce – Wine: Cheverny; A Sauvignon Blanc blend from the Cheverny region of Loire Valley. It has brisk acidity and minerality. However, this bone-dry  Sauvignon Blanc is softened by the addition of 15% Chardonnay. Won 88 points from Wine Advocate. Exhibits crisp, elegant notes of lemon grass, honeysuckle, and citrus oil.

Week 2Chicken with Riesling – Wine: Joseph Cattin Pinot Noir 2012; Clean, light strawberry, and cherry fruit. Slightly higher acidity than a burgundy, and smooth slightly green tannins. Amazing nose of cinnamon spice, and cherry. An old world Pinot Noir with light tart berry flavors supported by earth tones.

Week 3Grilled Lamb Chops with Ratatouille – Wine: Chateau Puech Haut; From South France, Languedoc Region. Got 91 points from Wine Advocate. This wine shows copious black cherry and pit styled fruits, licorice, pepper, and black olive aromas and flavors. Supple and forward with full-bodied, seamless, mouth feeling texture that never seems heavy. It has a core of pure fruit, juicy acidity, ripe tannin on the finish. A sure knockout!

Week 4Pear Almond Tart – Wine: La Fleur d' Or Sauternes;  This sublime luscious Sauternes is a very characterful sweet wine. Warm, dry vintage conditions have given a concentrated Sauternes, with rich peach and plum fruit accented by notes of honey, caramel and toast. The sweetness at the very start then gives way to a refreshing medium-dry finish.

At the end of the series of classes, you will also receive “The French Wine Guide” ebook from Ma Belle France, and Metro Wines will give you the opportunity to purchase the wines you have tasted as well as the glasses at a very preferential price.  What an opportunity!

Price:  $249/person   

Visit this website to sign up and pay for the class:

http://mabellefrance.com/asheville-cooking-classes/theme-cooking-classes

For more information call us at the shop at 828.575.9525

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Raats Cabernet Franc Red Jasper 2011

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Raats Family Wines Red Jasper 2011

56% Cabernet Franc, 27% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar awarded 89 points as did Wine Spectator. Winemaker Bruwer Raats named this beauty for his father, Jasper. Bruwer says this Cabernet Franc driven Bordeaux blend combines a "core of luscious dark berries and plum with substantial notes of mocha, cinnamon and spice." Sourced from vines grown in dolomite rich soil, this dry red wine is aged for 18 months in French Oak barrels.  Bruwer Raats says that it is rare for a vineyard to have, as the Raats Family Vineyard does indeed, both sandstone and volcanic soil, so rare that the terroir is not yet classified. Oh yeah! That's the kind of wines we bring to you! 

From Wineanorak, South Africa:

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Bruwer specializes in just one red variety: Cabernet Franc. Why? 'Very simple: Cabernet Franc has spice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, coriander, red cherry fruit and silky, velvety tannins.'

‘I never want to make blockbuster styles,' he says. 'I want to make wines that reflect the soil types and varieties. Freshness is the key.'

Accolades

  • Chosen by Winemag as one of the 12 top wines from specialist retailers to enjoy this spring (18 September 2013).
  • Scored 90 by James Molesworth in Wine Spectator (July 2013).
  • Scored 90 by Neil Martin, The Wine Advocate (January 2013).
  • Rated 4 Stars, John Platter 2013 (October 2012).
Raats Tasting Notes
A Cabernet Franc driven Bordeaux Blend consisting of 80% Cabernet Franc, 7.5% Petit Verdot, 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. It combines a core of luscious blackberry, black cherry, and plum with expressive notes of cinnamon, mocha and spice. Silky tannins caress the palate, and hints of dark chocolate and a great minerality. This wine has a long and supple finish.
Ageing Potential
6 to 8 years (2016 to 2018) or longer with proper storage.
Blend Information
80% Cabernet Franc, 7.5% Petit Verdot, 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec
Raats Pairing Suggestions: Pork Loin with plum and Armagnac sauce. Beef Fillet with Truffle sauce. Game bird with red wine sauce. Any Springbok, Ostrich or Kudu.
In The Vineyard
Soil Type: 100% Decomposed Dolomite Granite.
Age of vines: 18 - 25 years.
Trellised vines and No irrigation.
Grown only on decomposed dolomite granite, which gives a great acidity and freshness to the wine and adds minerality to the finish.
About The Harvest
Picking Date: Individual vineyard blocks each hand-picked at perfect ripeness the last week in February till the first week in March Grape Sugar: 24 - 25° Balling Acidity: 6.0 g/lpH at Harvest: 3.45
In The Cellar: Grapes were hand sorted three times, crushed and left to cold soak on the skins for five days. After fermentation the grapes are basket pressed and allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks and then aged for 18 months before bottling. Neither fined nor filtered. Fermentation Temperature: 28°C
Wood Ageing
18 months in French Vicard and Mercury oak barrels (20% second, 30% third fill and 50% fourth fill).
Neither fined nor filtered.
Recipe? Asheville Citizen Times has a great recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. Perfect pair to this Cabernet Franc Blend:

BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

4 large sweet potatoes 
Olive oil 
2 garlic cloves 
Sea salt 
1/8 cup chopped parsley or 2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary 
Preheat oven to 375. 
Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Slice sweet potatoes crosswise in half then lengthwise in half, to create four large pieces per potato. Flesh side down, cut each portion into 1/2-inch sticks. Place in a large mixing bowl. Coat with olive oil and season with salt. Press garlic through a garlic press and toss with sweet potatoes, olive oil and chopped herbs. Divide fries evenly among the baking sheets. Bake until tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

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Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2011

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This IS Chenin Blanc. Made wine from hand picked grapes, this wine is crafted without oak to preserve the vibrant and natural flavors. The label tells us that the wine reflects the Raats Family passion for this grape. And we can tell you there is great truth in that statement. We had the great honor of joining Muriel Edens of The Country Vintner for lunch at Fig with Winemaker Brewer Raats. His interest in Chenin Blanc and dedication to bringing the best out of the grape is obvious and proved in the bottle. Brewer says that the Family  places a "premium on elegance and complexity rather than bigness and boldness." 35 to 67 year old, yellow fruit vines growing in decomposed dolomite soil bring forth, according to Brewer, "acidity," specifically tastes of citrus and lime in the glass.  You will also find green apple, peach and honey on the palate following aromas of the same. So the bottom line is this: if you have been in the store and seen "Gina's Picks," you know Gina likes Chenin Blanc and tries them all - often. This is a Gina Pick. This IS Chenin Blanc!

From Wineanorak, South Africa:

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Bruwer (pronounced 'Bru – ver') Raats (above) started Raats family wines in 2000.  Bruwer studied Viticulture and Enology at Elsenberg, before setting off round the world to get experience. His travels, from 1995–99 took him to Bordeaux, Napa, the Rheingau and Tuscany. Then, lucky for us, he came back to South Africa to make wine.

"I realised that what we lacked in South Africa was specialization," says Bruwer. "Lots of New World producers are trying to be everything to everyone. Everything is good, but nothing is exceptional. Our industry needs people who can specialize."

He chose to specialize in Chenin Blanc. "We have half the world's plantings, and we have old vineyards," he argued. "No new world country has yet championed Chenin. We had a unique opportunity to say this is what Chenin Blanc tastes like,” he explains.

 

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From the Winemaker, Brewer Raats:

Accolades

  • Scored 88 by James Molesworth in Wine Spectator (July 2013).
  • Scored 88 by the Stephen Tanzer review (May 2013).
  • Scored 88 by James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (November 2012).
  • Rated 3.5 Stars, John Platter 2013 (October 2012).
  • Scored 88, Wine Enthusiast (USA) (July 2012).
  • Rated 3 Stars, Classic Wine Magazine (February 2012).
Raats Tasting Notes
There is a distinctive yellow apple, pineapple, alongside with notes of green melon and lime. Beautifully structured on the palate, bursting with fresh yellow and white fruit flavours. The wine finishes subtly, yet distinct with great minerality and citrus flavours. The Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2011 is yet a classical example of this wine and shows the balance between power and elegance. Now in its 11th year of production the consistency in quality is unquestionable.
Ageing Potential
Can be enjoyed now and will mature well over the next 2 - 4 years (2013 to 2015), if stored correctly.
Blend Information
100% Chenin Blanc
Food Suggestions
An easy-to-pair wine since it has a wide flavour profile, but we especially recommend it with curry or similar spicy dishes as well as sushi and oysters.
In The Vineyard
Produced from vineyards of an average age of 35-year old bush and trellised vines, grown in both decomposed granite and Table Mountain sandstone soils. The wine is from both irrigated and un-irrigated vines. Yield approximately 7 tons per hectare of which the oldest block being used is 67 years of age.
About The Harvest
Grapes are picked in three sessions over mid-January to mid-February to enhance flavour diversity.

Grape Sugar: 22° - 24.5° Balling 
Acidity: 7g/l
pH at Harvest: 3.3
In The Cellar
Grapes grown from the two soil types are vinified separately, the decomposed granite bringing a lime and mineral character, while the sandstone more fruit and structure. The juice was cold settled for 2 - 3 days then cold fermented (14º - 18ºC) in stainless steel tanks and aged on the lees for 6 months before bottling. 

Wood Ageing
No wood ageing.
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New Years Eve The Wine World Way

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December 6, 2013

News Release: Updated

 

On December 31st, we celebrate the new year with wines and food from three international time zones! Celebrate New Years Eve in Johannesburg, South Africa, Vienna, Austria and Paris, France @MetroWines.  Join us on New Years Eve from 4pm to 8pm and ring in 2014 early!

 

When it's midnight in Johannesburg, South Africa, it's 4pm in Asheville. We pour Raats Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc Blend from South Africa. When it's midnight in Vienna, Austria, it's 5pm in Asheville. We pour Familie Bauer Gruner Veltliner and Zum Martin Sepp Zweigelt from Austria. And when it's midnight in Paris, France, we pop the cork on Thierry Triolet Champange! Party food served in these three cities will be paired with the wines.

 

We will have the big screen on so we can watch the fireworks and celebrations in all three cities. $20 includes wine tasting and food. Additional glasses are $5 and parking is free.

 

And if you have dinner at AMBROZIA after our event, continue to celebrate with a complimentary glass of sparkling from AMBROZIA!

Contact: Gina Trippi

(828) 575-9525

 

New Years Eve Wine World Way Tasting Sheet

 

*South Africa: Wines served with Bobotie Canapes and Black Soybean Hummus by Susan Harrell and Campy Catering.

_____ Chenin Blanc, Raats

Vines as old as 67 years offer this elegant and complex wine with green apple, peach and honey on the palate. Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar all awarded this Chenin Blanc 88 points.

Notes:___________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

_____ Cabernet Franc Blend, Raats

56% Cabernet Franc, 27% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, International Wine Cellar and Wine Spectator gave this blend sourced from dolomite rich soil 89 points. Taste dark berries, plum, mocha, cinnamon and spice.

Notes:__________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

*Austria: Served with Spaetzel from AMBROZIA

_____ Zweigelt,  Sum Martin Sepp

Medium bodied with cherry and raspberry on the nose and palate, Zeigelt is a cross between two Austrian grapes somewhat reminiscent of Pinot Noir and Gamay.

Notes:____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_____ Gruner Veltliner, Familie Bauer, Austria

Grown in the mineral rich soil near the Danube, Gruner Veltliner is full bodied and substantial presenting solid citrus, crisp acidity and the white pepper finish that is characteristic of the grape.

Notes:___________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

*France: Served with Brie, Roquefort and Macaroons

_____Brut Rose Champagne, Thierry Triolet

A base of Chardonnay is blended with 15% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier. The tiny, continually ascending bubbles speak to elegance and years of perfecting the craft. This bottle stands tall next to any bottle twice the price or more. History tells us that Dom Perignon, on his deathbed, passed his secret to Brother Thierry and the rest is, well, history!

Notes:___________________________________________________________

 

_________________________________________________________________

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Holiday Don't #13

The Asheville Citizen Times has offered "12 Holiday Party Don'ts." All true but there is another one. Read through to "MetroWines Holiday Party Don't #13." We are here to help!

I have some ideas for entertaining, but I still was in need for some “off-the-hook” holiday entertaining counseling. Jeffory McLean, lead culinary instructor at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua, came to my rescue with a list of 12 don’ts:

1. Don’t wait until the last minute to throw a party. Give yourself time to make a list, goshopping and get ready.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s crunch time and you realize you didn’t buy place cards, nobody will know that except you. Move forward.

3. Don’t use your holiday party as a way to try a recipe for the first time. Stick with the tried and true.

4. Don’t overcomplicate the meal. A party is more about socializing and fellowship (with you as part of it). Keep it simple so your party doesn’t keep you in the kitchen the whole time.

5. Don’t forget dietary restrictions. No need to overhaul the menu if you have guests with diabetes or gluten intolerance, but have an option or two they can enjoy.

6. Don’t rush the protein. Whatever meats you happen to be cooking — lamb, turkey, prime rib — it’s better to have extra time allotted rather than too little. Cooked meats hold well, and in most cases they need to set for 30 to 45 minutes anyway.

7. Don’t over-season. You may like lavender or smoked paprika, but your guests have a wide range of tastes and tolerances. Keep seasonings simple and basic.

8. Don’t be late. Have food and drinks ready at the time the party is designated to start.

9. Don’t use disposable. Renting dishware is not that expensive. Or borrow from neighbors and friends if you need extra, and don’t worry about matching. Better yet, if it’s a sit-down dinner, have guests bring their own place settings — the story behind them will be an instant conversation-starter.

10. Don’t overindulge in the booze. If you need a good stiff one, wait until the party is over.

11. Don’t forget the doggy bags. Remove leftovers to the kitchen and portion them into small to-go containers.

12. Don’t forget to have fun. It’s only food, after all.

#13 by Metro Wines: Don't select overly taste specific wines. While few wines pair with absolutely everything, choose wines that pair with a wide range of flavors and that will appeal, taste wise, to most of your guests. For the holidays, when you are up against red meat, white meat, cheese, asparagus, kale, even oysters, we suggest Frappato by Jacono Gaetana Gola of Valle Dell'Acate and  Beaujolais by Corrine andJean-Michael Dupre of Domaine Dupre.

Valle Dell'Acate Frappato

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From Sicily where the table demands a red that is not just versatile but has the old vine structure and finesse that Italy demands as well as the bold taste and durability that we demand and can stand up and fight for its right to party! This Frappato is all that. 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 fish and crustaceans and all kinds of greens. $16.99.

Domaine Dupre Beaujolais Villages 2011, Vignes de 1940

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Banned in Beaujolais! Rumor has it that Gamay was grape non grata according to Philip the Bold in 1395 on the grounds that the grape was too demanding for the limestone soils of Burgundy. Whatever. Flash to the 21st century. The Dupre Vineyards are located in Les Ardillats just northwest of Beaujieu the historic center of the region. Corrine and Jean-Michel produce this most excellent Beaujolais from 40 year old vines working on hillsides with southern and southeastern exposure that are among the highest in Beaujolais. The subsoil is a mixture of sand, clay and limestone topped with rough sands and stones.

The wine presents raspberry on the nose and palate with good minerality and a  touch of spice at the finish. Very popular in Europe, this wine drinks way above the shelf price of $13.49.

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Pullus

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From the distributor Sour Grapes:

As Spring approaches, most of us tend to look for wines that are fresh, crisp and aromatic.  Austrian wines are always in higher demand this time of year, Italian whites start being added a bit more to retail and restaurant lists, Dry Rieslings and Rosés begin being asked for.  This year, we want to showcase some different things that we feel will begin to put a spotlight on a small area of the world that deserves it.  

Slovenia is bordered to the north by Austria, to the west by Italy, to the south by Croatia and to the east by Hungary.  Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia and wine has been produced here since before Roman times.  So, why don't we know about all of this rich history?  Because for decades until the early 1990's, Slovenia was under communist rule.  Their wines were made under government-controlled cooperatives.  There really was not much produced with a focus for high quality or export.  As Slovenia became independent from their communist rule, innovation in winemaking, vineyard replanting and experimentation brought forth some fast, delicious results.

Pullus wines, from Ptujska Klet (Ptuj), combines rich winemaking tradition with modern technology. Ptujska Klet is Slovenia’s oldest winery and located within the city of Ptuj, in the Styria region. Viticulture in Ptuj and the surrounding area dates to 1239, when monks established the St. Francis Monastery and built the first winery there.  As the oldest wine cellar, Ptuj has a wealth of experience, with vineyards extending across some of the world’s most eminent winegrowing locations.  Pullus also claims to have the oldest grape vine in the world (400 years old).

One of the regions in Slovenia is Štajerska, where the terrain is hilly, with marly clay soils.  The climate is continental with cooling influences from the nearby pre-Alps.  Here, at about the 42nd latitude, just south of Austria, the climate and soils are ideal for aromatic white varieties and they make up about 85% of Ptuj Winery’s wines.  Bojan Kobal is the winemaker here.  He is beginning to accumulate quite an international reputation for his wines produced here.  He grows forty different wines with the estate and he employs modern technology, but he also tries to make the wine as natural as possible by limiting the sulfur to a third of the amount traditionally used.  The wines produced are in a clean, fruity style.  Varietals like Traminer, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Welshriesling, Furmint, Pinot Blanc & Muller Thurgau produced here are outstanding.  

Do not let this Pinot Grigio pass you by.  It has a copper - pink hue, as a result of up to 72 hours of skin contact with this deeper-colored white grape.  5% of the wine is aged in 225 liter oak barrels and there is some lees aging that adds a nice, delicate creaminess to the wine.  The wine is really dry, fresh and has a myriad of pure fruit flavors.  Pinot Grigio this complex and at this price doesn't exist.  Ideal for Spring.  1,000 cases produced.  

 

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St. Ema Sauvignon Blanc and Los Dos Grenache are Almost FREE

 

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Native to the Bordeaux Region of France, this green skinned grape likely takes its name from the French word "sauvage" meaning wild and "blanc," white. Now grown and made wine all over the world, the version from Chile, such as Santa Ema, is most similar to the French style. Generally light to medium in body, the grapes take on the particular characteristics of its home terroir.

Located just south of the capital city, Santiago, Maipo Valley, sitting at the northern end of Chile's Central Valley, is headquarters to some of the world's best known wineries, so much so that is is sometimes called the "Bordeaux of South America." Santa Ema, noted by Wine Spectator for offering the "World's Finest Value Brands," was established by Pedro Pavone, the son of Italian winemakers from the Piedmont region. Arriving in the Maipo Valley in 1917, Pavone spent his early years tending vineyards for other wineries. In 1955, he decided to start his own, Santa Ema.

Chilean Sauvignon Blancs tend to be quite aromatic and tropical on the palate. Santa Ema is no exception. Remarkably clear and bright straw in color, the aroma is fresh citrus including ripe pears and green apples. Notes of fine herbs add complexity to the nose and palate. Fresh, voluminous  and lively on the plate, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc offers well balanced acidity and a deliciously fruity finish.

Santa Ema is a sustainable winery following environmentally friendly practices and socially responsible policies. 13% alcohol. $9.99.

Los Dos

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From the label:

The soft berry flavors of old vine Grenache (85%) meets the depth and complexity of Syrah (15%) in this full and friendly wine from the Campo de Borja in Northeastern Spain. Located between the Sierra de Moncayo Range and the Ebro River Valley, this historic region has produced wine since the late 12th century. The continental climate is mitigated by the "clerzo" wind that cools the vineyards nightly. Made wine from 30 year old vines, this wine is aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine opens BIG with big fruit on the nose. The round fruit forward palate of Los Dos presents cherries and blackberries that carry through to a refined lengthy finish. Good with a gourmet dish or just pizza. Los Dos can go anywhere! This wine is BIG at any price but it is really BIG for $7.99. A Buy By the Case Recommendation, this wine is almost FREE.

 

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