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Metro Wines Asheville, NC

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Gratallops Black Slate 2011, Red Wine, Priorat, Spain

The label says: The inspiration is a Burgundian concept of village nomenclature applied to the Priorat - one region, nine historical villages, each with its distinct character but all unmistakably Priorat. Sun scorched vines cling to breathtakingly steep hillsides with their roots deeply plunged in the llicorella (slate) soils of this ancient region. The village of Gratallops, in the heart of the Priorat, is the most prominent in the region, home to the most preeminent broad and robust wines of the DOC.

If you had to describe this wine in a word, the word would be BIG, but honest and well behaved! As with all wines from Priorat, Gratallops is a Garnacha blend. Typically mixed with Carinera (Carignan in France), the wines are all inky with intense flavors. The wine speaks of ripe black cherry, licorice and, of course, crushed stone with a floral overlay on the nose. Perfectly balanced, with plenty of fruit and well welcomed tannins, the wine could age a decade.

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Parking Nightmare and $5 more. Really?

Chateau Granville-Lacoste 2012, Imported by Kermit Lynch

>> Our price $17.99. GreenLife price $22.99 <<

$5 LESS !!! Do you really want to fight traffic, parking and baskets to spend $5 more.? Most of us would drive anywhere for a bottle like Chateau Granville-Lacoste, but why go farther, stress out if you just don't need to?  

Shop us for this great wine and save time and $$$.

White Bordeaux is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Offering the distinct elegance of the mineral rich soil of Bordeaux, Chateau Granville-Lacoste, founded in 1890, consistently presents one of the best White Bordeaux wines for the price. And price is the issue here!  On the nose, this lively wine has aromas of peach, melon and with splashes of cut grass and citrus brought by the Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with clean, fresh fruit flavors. The acidity hangs in through this long and strong finish.

Metro Wines Tasting Panel suggests that, to fully realize the complexity of this sizzling wine, you let the bottle warm on the table just a bit after chilling. Chateau Granville-Lacoste is good to GO on its own or pairs with anything from fish to poultry.

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Aligote

Domaine Christian Bellang et Fils Bourgogne Aligote:
In French:
Le Bourgogne aligoté est un vin blanc, tout en fraîcheur, comme la brise de printemps. Bon enfant, un rien impertinent, fruité, il s'habille d'or pâle. Son bouquet est floral (acacia, aubépine) ou fruité (pomme). En bouche, ce vin tendre et coulant désengourdit les papilles sur des notes noisettées qui se déclarent en finale. 
 
And for the rest of us, this translation:
The Bourgogne aligote is a white wine, while freshness, as the spring breeze. Good child, a nothing impertinent, fruity, he is dressed in pale gold. Its bouquet is floral (acacia, hawthorn) or fruity (Apple).  In the mouth, this wine soft and flowing.
OK. So much for google translation. The point is that this is a beautiful, aromatic, full flavored wine. 
 
What we say:
Bourgogne Aligote is a light white wine. In Burgundy, residents drink Aligote young as the wine does not age as well as other whites. The name Aligote is used only in Burgundy but winemakers are allowed to add up to 15% Chardonnay grapes. With the flight to Chardonnay, production of Aligote has decreased over the years. Pale gold in color, lemon and apple on the nose, Bourgogne Aligote is a virtual spring breeze. While the wine is abundantly companionable, it retains its independence with flavors including hawthorn and acacia and notes of hazelnut, that will tickle your taste buds
 
Metro Wines Tasting Panel suggests serving Bourgogne Aligote as an aperitif. At dinner, the lively flavor profile of this wine is a perfect match for grilled fish and the citrus notes stand firm against the saltiess of oysters or to a strong goat cheese. Although a tough competitor, Bourgogne Aligote will not overpower salads, tabouleh or steamed vegetables. And if you are going French for dinner, this wine pairs well with the traditional cold ham and parsley.
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Star Light. Star Bright. Shooting Star Tonight

For the Shooting Star Zin, we seek a fresher, fruitier style when compared to our old-vine Steele Zinfandels. We source two younger vineyards in Lake County for this wine: Hansmith and Duncan. Both are located near the dormant volcano Mount Konocti, the dominant geographical feature in Lake County. These vineyards drain well, have excellent exposure, and are not overly fertile.
 
Steele used approximately 80% neutral barrels and 20% new barrels in order to capture as much of the aroma and flavor of the grape as possible. This wine has aromas of raspberry and other ripe black fruit, butter, and just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.  The tannins and acids in this wine are soft but distinct.  Cedar tones with just a hint of plum make the finish a wonderful explanation point.
Goes great with pulled pork, beef bourgogne, Tuscan style game hens. It won a bronze medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2012. Sells for $13.49, usually priced at $15 at other wine stores.
 
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La Dolce Vita

Live large. Live Italian! Asheville Citizen Times recipe today for "Sicilian Eggplant Caponata" sent me on a search. Eggplant being a "bitter" food means Eggplant Caponata is a tough customer on any day by any recipe.  But the recipe by Reza Setayesh saw and raised the bid by adding the extras of cinnamon, cocoa and red chili pepper flakes. OUCH! Nevertheless, Metro Wines has nailed it. Poggia Gonfienti 2012 Rosato Dei Colli made by Alberto Antonini. 

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Poggia stands up to the acidity of caponata and, in this case, the burn of chili peppers and cinnamon. The dish with or without the extras has a sweet and sour profile and could be easily overwhelmed by pairing it with a new world wine. Made of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot, the color is a medium intensity pink with violet reflections.  The wine presents an elegant aroma of fresh red fruit and tastes of those same fruits with almonds. Full feel in the mouth with a good balance between softness and acidity and a long finessed finish.

Asheville Citizen Times Recipe 

 

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Smooth Operator

A medium bodied 100% Chardonnay, Domaine de Martinnolles 2012 from Languedoc-Rousillion, France, is a smooth operator and that's a fact! The wine is made in Limoux, a relatively cool corner of Languedoc, which has emerged as the second city for Chardonnay in France. Unoaked, this wine stands in sharp contrast to the barrel-fermented bottles to whch we have become accustomed. Here you will find aromas of white flowers with tropical fruit and just a hint of honey. On the palate, Domaine de Martinnolles is crisp with lemon lime flavors and refreshing acidity.

One critic has recommended serving this Chardonnay with fried Toulouse sausage. Sure. I'm good with that but if you don't, and I am not making any judgments here because I am certain that you do!!! have a few extra links of fried Toulouse sausage laying around, go with a hearty fish, a little parsley,  a little butter......tres bien.

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Albarino...Again!

Oak? NOT.  In order to highlight the tropical fruit characteristics of the grape, the use of wood is just not on the winemaking table at Bodega Martin Codax for Burgans Albarino 2011. Founded in 1986 by 50 vinticulturalists, the winemaking at Bodega Martin Codax is overseen by Luciano Almoedo.

This wine is made from grapes grown pursuant to sustainable farming practices on hillside vineyards called "Burgans." The grapes are sourced from 1400 closely monitored parcels and harvested by hand. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, the wine is bottled after the spring harvest.  Luciano Almoedo has been an assertive advocate to gain respect and recognition for the Albarino varietal in Spain and for the Rias Baixas Appellation. Many say that Luciano Almoedo essentially brought Albarino to the world. And now, Bodega Martin Codax is known as one of the most progressive wineries in the zone. Burgans 2011 Albarino is made from the oldest vines on the estate and is blended by Eric Solomon "in concert," he says, "with the property." 

We say this wine is ALIVE! almost like a tropical fruit bowl. There is just a hint of sweetness.  All wine facts and flavors considered, this wine would be perfect with curry!

Critic Review:

"Pale gold. Powerful scents of pineapple, mango and white flowers, with a chalky overtone. Supple and round in the mouth, offering juicy tropical fruit flavors and a bracing note of lemon zest. The floral note comes back on the long, broad finish."

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar. 90 points

 

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Filon Real Garnacha REAL

"Bright ruby. Pungent aromas of black raspberry and fresh rose. Lush and complex, offering potent flavors of cherry, blackberry, floral pastilles and cola. Rich but lively wine with good closing punch and gentle tannins."  International Wine Cellar 90 points. If you follow our Wine Blog, you know International Wine Cellar IS Stephen Tanzer who reviewed Honoro Vera Garnacha and nailed it. His comments, at least with Garnacha, deserve consideration.

Located in Villarroya de la Sierra, the winery sits at a relatively high altitude amidst quartzite and slate offering the vines a healthy diet of REAL organic material. The vines are 30 to 40 years old situated on hillsides 3,000 above sea level around the north zone of Calatayud. As with some of the wines we talked about last week, Alto3 for example, the high altitude makes for a high contrast in day and night temperatures and low rainfall, all of which makes the vines work for it!

Filon Real is 100% Garnacha. Aged 6 months in French Oak, Filon Real presents aromas of smoke, mineral and wild cherry with ripe cherry fruit on the palate. The feel is broad and chewy with a long finish that leaves you with notes of chocolate and licorice.

Our Price: $12.75

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"Exotic Wine"

La Val Orballo, Rias Baixas, Spain. Albarino 2009

"This exotic wine offers notes of red cherry, strawberry, violets, white pepper and spice," says the winemaker. With clean fragrances of fresh fruit, the winemaker says this bottle has soft floral and balsamic evocations, powerful flavors, good structure and balanced acidity.  The color is straw yellow with a green hue. The nose is apples and flowers with a background of citrus. On the palate, the wine presents pineapple, nectarine and apple, smooth and creamy to the feel, balanced and fresh with a long and pleasant finish in structure. Perfect for 2 to "drink the whole bottle" for dinner at 12% alcohol.

This wine comes with a story. The Limeres Family owns three famous and successful restaurants in Madrid and Vigo. Quality obsessed, Jose Limeres, decided to grow his own Albarino grapes to offer quality wines that met his standards. Limeres was a pioneer in planting only Albarino grapes and in making a totally and truly estate wine with only his and no one else's grapes. In other words, for this bottle, the wine buck stops with Jose!  Trellises are used to keep the grapes closer to the sun and away from the damp soil. Only native yeasts are used. The yield is low. The wine is well crafted and, well, muy bueno!

This green skinned grape is native to Galicia on the North Atlantic Coast of Spain. Rias is a wine zone in Spain known for producing some of the country's most acclaimed dry white wines. The word "rias" refers to the coastal inlets that characterize the landscape.

If you like "Gina's Picks," this is a bottle you should try.

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Unfined. Unfiltered. Unparalleled.

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

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

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

"The Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva is inky purple with an attractive bouquet of toasty black currants.  The wine has excellent depth with ample spicy red and black fruits, light tannin, and a very good depth.  Bodega Alto's Alto3 vineyard, consisting of 190 acres, is located in Catamarca, 515 miles north of Mendoza, at 4900+ feet of elevation. The vineyard is farmed organically." Wine Advocate 88 points.

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

Online shippers are showing limited supply of this wine left.

Metro Wines Tasting Panel Approved Unanimously

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Is Metro Wines the low price leader?

When we opened Metro Wines in late April, one our goals was to offer you great wines at very competitive prices.  Whether you had been buying your wine at one of Asheville’s other wine shops or even the grocery stores, we wanted you to feel confident that you would always get a great price at our shop.

But we didn’t realize how good our prices were until we started hearing from our customers.  Our very first regulars told us that our wines tasted like they should cost about $8 more than our actual price.  Later, we began hearing from those customers who roam the shops looking for the best price on their favorite wines.  Their conclusion?  They found that our prices were either the same or lower than others in Asheville.  Many of our bottles priced under $20 were $3 to 75 cents lower than wines at other locations.  So, they didn't pay more and usually saved money when shopping at Metro Wines.

Other customers have been happy that we found them a new favorite wine at a substantially lower price.  Case in point, one customer was willing to pay up to $60 for a high quality ice wine.  We found him one rated 90 points by Wine Spectator that set him back less than $25.  For another customer, we found him a hard to find Italian white wine at less than ½ the price of his old favorite.

So do the math and make your own decision.  We think you’ll find that you’ll get more for your hard earned money at Metro Wines.

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CHATEAU ROC MEYNARD

Metro Wine poured Chateau Roc Meynard at the Bastille Day event on Sunday. Tough crowd for a French wine!

Verdict: Tres bien.

Chateau Roc Meynard 2010, Bordeaux Superior is a true Bordeaux value.  Aged for 20 months in tank, this Bordeaux blend is 90% Merlot giving the wine finesse and fruit, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon adding weight and complexity and 5% Cabernet Franc making for the high note. Located in the village of Villegouge, the Chateau sits stately next to the Fronsac Region. The vines are planted on the hillsides within a perfect terroir of chalk, clay and sandy soils. Robust, yet elegant, with ripe tannins and a velvety feel, the wine presents black fruits and darker spices on the palate making it a perfect match in texture and taste for meats and cheeses.

Chateau Roc Meynard received the MEDAILLE D'OR, concours de bordeaux 2012.

Being sold everywhere for $16.99, OUR PRICE IS $13.99. tres bien!

We pour again to taste on "Bring Me Bordeaux Sautrday."

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Chardonnay FAQ

Kendal's Chardonnay FAQ

  • Chardonnay is the world’s most popular white wine grape and it is grown in virtually every wine-producing region. 
  • Chardonnay generally produces dry to medium dry wine with oak, spice, smoke, vanilla, pear, apple, tropical, or citrus fruit flavors
  • When there is little to no oak barrel aging, Chardonnay tends to be more crisp and fresh. With extensive oak aging, the wine tends to have a creamy and buttery flavor with vanilla.
  • Chardonnay thrives as the white grape of Burgundy and it produces extraordinary wines in the Russian River Valley and Carneros region in California.
  • It is a relatively “low-maintenance” vine that adapts well to a variety of climates, resulting in fairly high yields worldwide. These high yields translate into millions of bottles of Chardonnay wines. As a result, you can buy a good bottle of Chardonnay for under $15.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A $5.99 CHARDONNAY AND A $29.99 CHARDONNAY?

The answer to the question is relatively easy to explain. An inexpensive Chardonnay, for the most part, will be light, easy-drinking and will have little oak influence and are relatively one dimensional on the palate, pure and simple. 

As you move up the price tier, most Chardonnays released have two principle influences. The first is the benefit of a more precise growing area, which has proven to be ideal for Chardonnay. For example, the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County has proven to be one of the most prestigious areas in California for Chardonnay. These wines generally display more intense fruit flavors and more complexity.

The second factor is oak aging. Oak barrels are very expensive, for example one 60 gallon French oak barrel is approximately $1,200, but well worth the investment, especially when Chardonnay is involved. When oak is involved, the retail is certain to increase. However, the wine’s body, complexity and finish increase dramatically as well.

In conclusion, a Chardonnay at $29.99 compared to a Chardonnay at $5.99 will have more complexity, more intense fruit flavors, a longer finish and more integrated oak flavors.

 

One of the most popular Chardonnays at Metro Wines is Domaine de Valensac. Page down to read the review on Wine Blog.

 

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Food Pairings:

  • Unoaked Chardonnay:
    • Raw or lightly cooked shellfish
    • Grilled Fish and Chicken
    • Creamy pasta with chicken or pork
    • Chicken or ham based salads
  • Full Bodied Chardonnay
    • Grilled steak, veal, and red peppers
  • Foods not to eat with Chardonnay
    • Smoked fish and meats
    • Tomato based dishes
    • Thai flavors
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Case Club Report

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If you were a member of the Case Club, you found these great wines in your box:

RED

 

Altes Herencia Garnatxa Negra 2012

 

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

“Another incredible value and full-throttle wine made from 100% Grenache.  From very old vines and aged completely in concrete, is a naked, unadulterated, unmanipulated effort with great minerality (from the chalky, limestone soils) and an intensity and richness (from the old vines) that are normally found in $50+ wines. It offers loads of kirsch, raspberry, licorice, and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied and dense, it is best consumed over the next 2-3 years. “

 

Pair with grilled meats, and Spanish and Mexican foods that have low levels of chili pepper heat.

 

Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Superieur 2009

 

Robert Parker called Recougne the finest Bordeaux Superieur. It is an estate that has produced wine for over 400 years, and its name is said to have come from King Henri IV in the early 17th century, in "recognition" of the quality of its wine. Factors that contribute to the quality of the vineyard include: several parcels of very old vines of 50+ years, environmentally friendly viticulture techniques, minimal spraying, low yields through green harvesting, and excellent canopy management.  The blend is 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc.

 

This is liberally toasty up front, with a mocha edge giving way to notes of espresso and spice, yet pure red currant, black cherry and plum fruit emerges from behind, with a roasted cedar edge inlaid on the finish. Drink now through 2013.  Serve with beef, mushrooms, and heavier French or European style meals.

 

Colle Ambro Rosso Piceno 2009

 

This wine is made from 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese. Ample, persistent aroma of ripe red fruit with scents of cherries, plums and prunes as well as fresh licorice roots. Flavor is full, and warm with generous hints of tannins that are moderately expressed.  Enjoy with anything Italian.

 

 

Honoro Vera Monastrell 2012

 

The Honoro Vera is deeply colored with aromas of sweet herbs and spices, and the lush palate is bursting with ripe raspberries, blackberries, and cherries. Backing all of these aromas and flavors are firm tannins; which makes the wine a great match for braised lamb and pork dishes, as well as a plate of figs and aged cheeses.

 

WHITE

 

Con Class Rueda 2011

 

A blend of 60% Verdejo, 25% Viura and 15% Sauvignon Blanc aged on its lees in stainless steel, this is a light to medium-bodied, pure, floral-scented, nicely textured, crisp white that admirably demonstrates the remarkable progress Spain has made with its white wine program.  The Wine Advocate rated it 87 points.

 

Enjoy with chilled shellfish, variety of tapas, warm cream sauces and soups, salads, grilled fish, or a wide variety of cheeses including brie and goat cheese.

 

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012

 

Pale gold color; tropical fruit aromas with melon, peach and orange blossom notes; dry, medium bodied, with great acidity and flavors of grapefruit, peach, green apple and pineapple; good length on the finish.


Serve with stir-fry or wok-sautéed white meats, vegetables and creamy poultry.

Don't let another month pass you by. Some of these wines just don't stay on the shelf.

And Case Club Members always get First Dibs!

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More Lonely Grapes

Terrazze Pinot Nero (Noir)

Made from the Pinot Noir grape hand picked on the Mazzolino Estate in Italy. The intense ruby turn garnet color is spectacular. On the palate, the wine presents ripe red fruits , a hint of violet and a slightly spicy taste. The wine is full but soft.

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Cote EST 2011 Grenache Blanc (50%), Chardonnay (30%) and Marsanne (20%). Winner, Medaille D'Or, Paris, 2012

The color is gold with hints of green. The taste is sharp and clean with a nice acidity for fish or chicken. The wine is also good with lighter fare or can stand on its own.

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Bastille Day. Bastille Wine.

What better on Bastille Day than Bastille Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  The winemaker says: "Wine is made from the soul, not a rulebook. Ours is made without restraint, without pretension, quite simply, it's time to experience the freedom of what great wine can be."

Bastille Chardonnay is made in Languedoc from 100% Chardonnay. Aged for 6 months in steel tanks, this wine is round and crisp with nice flavors of exotic fruit, green apple and white flower.

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Bastille Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is a red table wine from Languedoc Rousillon, France. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon made from older vines, this wine, aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks, is full and rich on the palate with well integrated tannins. The wine presents dark ripe fruit followed by a solid structure and smooth finish.

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The importer for these wines lives right here in Asheville. Word is that the importer, Philippe Bourgeois will be here for the Bastille Day Celebration.  This is a great opportunity to ask him not only about his wines but about the process of importing wines from France.  About the company:

Bourgeois Family

Region: France

Website: http://www.bourgeoiswines.com/default.htm

Bourgeois Family Selections is a highly specialized importing company that puts the focus on the greatest wine nation in the world, France. The heart and soul of France are the small estates which are the very pulse of its lifeblood, “le vin”. We put the spotlight where it belongs, on the terroir that generations of the same family have toiled, the handpicked grapes, wine lovingly made with the knowledge handed down father to son, since time immemorial. Jean-Philippe is a sixth generation legacy in the beer, wine and spirits industry in his native country. He has spent years traveling the wine regions and countless time scouring the back roads of Gaul for unique, hand selected, organic wines. Our goal is to bring you what only a Frenchman can; the most exciting undiscovered gems of the old world; beautiful, passionately hand made wines, never before available in the US market.

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40% below...

40% below original price for a Napa Valley red wine.  Once again, we’ve surprised even ourselves at the low prices on our wines.  We’re offering the 2009 Beaulieu Tapestry Reserve at $33, which is about 40% less than its original purchase price of $55.  Both Wine Spectator and the Wine Advocate gave 91 points to this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

We checked the Internet last week to find the best online price.  Our research showed the best price that day was $42.64, 29% higher than our price once you include the shipping charges. 

So, whether you are buying this as a gift or want to make your 4th of July grilled steaks the best meal of the weekend, drop by and pick up a bottle.  You’ll get a great price and you won’t have to wait while it’s shipped to your door.

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Banshee

New York Times today featured Banshee in an advertisement for their New York Times Wine Club saying: "Embark on the ultimate journey through the spectacular world of wine." WE HAVE BANSHEE in the shop now. 2011 was not the best year for Pinot Noir but you would not know it from this bottle of Banshee 2011 Pinot Noir from Sonoma County offering layers of depth and refinement, complexity and richness. Yes. All that. And more. 

Giving this vintage 89 points, Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar, said this in June of 2013 of Banshee Pinot Noir: "Deep red. High-pitched red berry and floral aromas are accented by cinnamon and pungent herbs. Taut and linear on the palate, offering tangy redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of cola. Finishes clean and brisk, with lingering spiciness and a touch of bitter herbs."

Metro Wines Tasting Panel agrees with Tanzer's description particularly the distinctive hint of cola on the palate as well as cherry and would add raspberry and blackberry. This is a bold and balanced wine.

Sourced primarily from the Sonoma Coast AVA, the cool-climate fruit presents an earthy character. Balance is brought to the bottle by the addition of fruit from a top Sonoma Mountain grower and a few Russian River sources. Complexity and richness are complements of the 20 barrels added to the final blend from declassified single vineyard fruit from Tina Marie and Hurst Vineyards. Banshee recommends pairing this bottle with grilled salmon or mushroom risotto.

It is widely agreed that this 2011 Banshee Pinot Noir is an exceptional value and that it will sell out.

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Boxed Wine? No. Wine in a Box.

YELLOW BLUE WINES

Founded by Matthew Cain, Yellow Blue Wines is a leader in the new way of the wine world. After 15 years in the wine industry including a decade working with renowned wine importer Kermit Lynch, Cain decided the wine business was in need of an overhaul. With financial and environmental costs of wine making increasing by the day, Cain embarked on a plan to bring top quality organic wines to market at reasonable prices and wiht minimal negative impact on the environment. the result is Yellow Blue Wines. why the name? Because, Cain says, when you mix the two together, you get green, as in, he says, "environmentally conscious, forward thinking and committed to positive change."

With the high cost of fuel driving up shipping charges, Cain solved the problem by partnering with organic wineries and packaging wines in light weight, recyclable, unbreakable boxes. Cain says he hopes to change the world "one box at a time." What better for the 4th of July?

Yellow Blue Sustainable Select Red

Dark purple black in color, this rich and powerful wine presents aromas of blackberry, leather and cardamom, with a long spicy finish. The grapes come from Santa Barbara County where the east west orientation of the coastal mountains form valleys opening directly to the Pacific Ocean.  It is this unique topography, the winemaker says, that allows the flow of fog and ocean breezes to shape distinct microclimates perfect for cultivation of classic grape varietals and world class wines.  In a box!  The fruit has an unusually long hang time on the vine allowing it to fully develop acids , flavors and tannins needed to produce wines with distinctive character.

Sustainable Chardonnay

The color is golden yellow. The aroma is mineral, apple and lime. The taste is full yet elegant with fine acidity and a lingering complex finish. And the region is Lodi, between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With a classic Mediterranean climate, the break out wine star Lodi makes for wines that are full bodied and balanced.

At $11.49 for a liter, there is no better choice for a picnic, a hike, boat trip, bicycle ride, camping. But the truth is, this wine can be served at the table anytime. the bottom line is that this is good wine "screaming good" according to Klimpton Hotels Wine Director, in a box.

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"I hear it's your birthday." "It's my birthday too, yeah."

Update: The staff finished the bottle tonight with a combination of leftovers, take out and the contents of a doggie bag from Limones in downtown Asheville including peanut butter and jelly, black bean cakes with ketchup, brussels sprouts with bacon, scallops with corn and italian white beans beans and a pineapple chutney, habanero sauce, chocolate, rosemary potato bread, pasta and red sauce, tofu and sesame noodles. The bottom line is that Luna is nothing to write home about BUT its weakness is its strength. That is to say, the very fact that Luna has no extraordinary and intensely identifiable highlight is exactly what enables it to go down smoothly with so many foods. Special order for parties where there will be a wide variety of flavors.

And so it was. We celebrated my birthday at the store with Luna Argenta Prosecco 2012 from the Veneto, Italy. We are a wine shop so we could have picked any bottle at a good price!!! but we chose Luna Argenta. This is a light sparkling wine that is perfect as an aperitif, a celebration, or with light meals and sushi.  This Prosecco is fruity with a hint of ripe apples, lemons and a touch, just a touch of grapefruit. At 12.49, you can buy it by the case. Besides sushi, other good pairings include pasta with pesto, spinach and herb risotto and even cabbage.  This sparkler can do it all.

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