Metro Wines Blogs
The Wine Column: Drink Old School
Written by John Kerr of Metro Wines
The forgotten wineries are still among the best.
In the iconic wine film Sideways, Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) breaks the ice with Maya (Virginia Madsen) by asking her about the bottle that got her started. “What was the bottle that did it?” he asks, while they sip wine in the kitchen. Without hesitation, Maya replies, “1988 Sassicaia.”
Sassicaia is the kind of bottle that changes how just about anyone views wine. This wine almost single-handedly saved Italy’s wine industry. Before the 1970s, Italian wine was known best for its bottles in straw baskets that made great candle holders. Sassicaia was Italy’s first Super Tuscan, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend grown in the warmth of Tuscan soil. At a 1978 tasting of the world’s great clarets, Sassicaia placed first over a field of 33 wines from 11 countries. After that the world took a second look at Italy’s wines.
A few nights ago, I thought about the bottle that did it for me. I had just opened a Chardonnay from one of Napa’s stalwarts, Heitz Cellars. I took it home because it had languished on the shelf for over a year. I couldn’t recall the last time anyone had asked for a bottle of Heitz, Cab, or Chard. Since the Chardonnay was from the 2014 vintage, I was worried that it would go bad before anyone got to enjoy it. So, I decided that person would be me.......
For the whole story, pick up a copy of Capital at Play @Metrowines!
Peirano Estate Petite Sirah, Lodi 2017, $13.99
The intense inky black color of this wine catches you from the first pour. It exhibits a rich deep hue
with perfect clarity. The senses are tempted by an array of wild blackberries, maple, brown sugar
and fresh baked boysenberry pie. The palate is mysterious and seductively filled with bright blackberries, deep dark plums, cassis and dried cranberries, with chewy moderate tannins.
The finish is soft and mysterious with a hint of cocoa and black pepper.
Gravel Bar, Columbia Valley 2015, $17.99
For more than 20 centuries, torrential floodwaters from melting ice-age glaciers
sculpted Eastern Washington's Columbia Valley leaving deep deposits of sandy, rocky alluvial soils. Today, these broad plains of ancient sediments constitute one of the world's finest
grape growing regions. Small lots aged sur lie in American Oak, Gravel Bar is full-bodied,
complex and concentrated yet subtle and elegant.
This blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot presents black cherry,
mocha and plum on the palate with a good balance of fruit and herbal flavors.
Who is Michele D' Aprix?
Pentimento Bordeaux! that's WHO!
Winemaker Michele D'Aprix
and Andy Hale of The Asheville School of Wine
Present a Class and Tasting
Join us at The French Cafe @MetroWines
Tuesday, March 26th from 5:30 to 6:30, $25
This is a unique opportunity to meet
The only American Women Winemaker in Bordeaux
and hear how she, literally, stirs the pot!
When in Venice, Eat Like a Venetian
When Not in Venice, But you Want to Drink like a Venetian
Stay with us...........
*** Teachable Moment Alert ***
My first thought was to pull a bottle from Friuli but that seemed so SOP.
So, I asked Andy Hale, Director of The Asheville School of Wine, how,
apart from Friuli, I might drink like a Venetian. And, he said.....
2017 Pullus Pinot Grigio with a Pinkish Hue! $17.99
"...Pullus is from Slovenia bordering northeastern Italy at Friuli.
Fruili has garnered a big reputation and is commanding a high price.
The wineries are real state of the art. Slovenia has the same terroir
and quality but is not burdened with all the hype and marketing that drives up prices.
That said, Pullus does not have an inflated Friuli pricetag that represents "trendy".
And Pullus is a little less high tech, a little closer to the land in process."
Winery says this Pinot Grigio is a wine with a rosy-coopery hue in its colour,
which is typical for overripe, macerated grapes of this variety.
Its nuances are expressed in the bouquet, which hint at ripe pears and overripe melons.
The intense bouquet gives the wine a full and creamy finish.
Future Kitchens Have a Wine Vault
Let us @MetroWines Help You Stock It!
Style isn't everything. Quality is.
Shop Your Vault Wines @MetroWines.
Call John at (828) 575-9525 for a Consultation.
Wednesday, March 13th Starting 6pm
Call (828) 252-4162
Farnum Kerr RIP
California Rivers north of San Francisco are overflowing. Will this ruin your trip to Napa? No.
John Kerr, MetroWines Co-owner, Assistant Director of The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines and Napa Native,
shares his "don't cancel your trip to Napa" reasons:
"The town of Napa should be safe. My father, Farnum Kerr,
City Planner and Civil Engineer, returned the Napa River to its original state with flood control modifications as well as adding a beautiful park along the banks of the river in downtown Napa.
If you walk this way, notice the plague to commemorate the work of Farnum Kerr
to add beauty and safety to Napa. We got this!"
"And further, (John is on a roll now...) Farnum received an award, together with Thomas Jefferson (obviously posthumously!) for his design of UVA, to commemorate his preservation of the beauty of Napa Valley. Before Farnum, city officials had chosen the cheapest and fastest fixes. Seeing the vision of what could be, Farnum vigorously fought the city, to achieve this goal."
So.............Napa Wine You Say!
Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, $24
"An incredible bottle of Napa Wine for this price," says John Kerr.
(Farnum probably would have said the same.)
If you shop this wine online, be sure to compare apples to apples.
Sean Minor makes wine in several areas of California, some more value minded.
This one, the Napa Cabernet! is $26.99 at Wine.com
Shop LocalLY. Convenience and Savings.
Lettie Teague Talks "Tremenda" and "Seghesio"
Yeah, We Got That!
Are you Coming to Group?
The Asheville Wine Focus Group
Wednesday, March 13 from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines
Call (828) 575-9525
Our Host is Charlie Stanley from Advintage Distributing of The Carolinas
Selected one of the Top 100 distributors in Country by Wine Spectator!
Advintage says: "Serving as a true partner to our customers is our #1 priority.
This means understanding their needs, maintaining a portfolio hinged on quality,
and bringing the most authentic, exciting products to the Carolinas."
They're asking. Let's Answer! See you at Group.
Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
Tuscany, presented by Andy Hale, Director of The Asheville School of
Wine, has been set for Tuesday April 9th from 5:30 to 6:30
"Two classes on the wines of Northern Italy are SOLD OUT," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Reserve now!"
The class and tasting is $25 plus tax. You must reserve a seat.
Make your reservation by calling (828) 575-9525 or online here:
News Release: March 5th, 2019
Andy Hale, Director of The Asheville School of Wine,
and Junper Cooper of Mutual Distribution
*** Make the Case for Merlot! ***
We admit this is an ex-parte communication but Merlot was so persuasive:
Maybe You Don't Like Merlot. BUT, Maybe (actually, probably) You Do!
$25 Tuesday, March 19th from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines
** Thursday, March 28 **
Call (828) 210-7813
"A truly unique experience"
Winemaker Michele D'Aprix
and Andy Hale of The Asheville School of Wine
Present a Class & Tasting @MetroWines French Cafe
Tuesday, March 26th from 5:30 to 6:30 $25
The Love Red grapes were harvested in the second week of September
to preserve the grape’s natural acidity. The Carignan and Syrah were both
whole cluster fermented and destemmed in concrete and stainless tanks.
The Valdiguié went under carbonic fermentation in stainless steel.
(The grape was at one time primarily grown in Languedoc Roussillon in France.
It has a Pinot Noir or Gamay like weight.)
Aged for 8 months in concrete and neutral French oak barrels.
Domaine Trotereau, located in the small appellation of Quincy in the Loire Valley,
was the second recognized appellation in France in 1936, second only to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Grapes had long been planted there with Sauvignon Blanc introduced by Cistercian monks
in the 12th century. Southwest of Sancerre, the sandy, silex-ridden topsoil with an undercurrent
of pink limestone is truly unique, unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc appellation in the world.
As recently as fifty years ago, the wines of Quincy were more recognized in France
for their quality than Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, and commanded a higher price.
Today the appellation has largely faded from recognition,
and only those in the know KNOW!
Mencía contains high levels of a sub-group of aroma compounds called terpenoids which translate into lovely flowery aromas, strawberry, raspberry, black licorice, pomegranate and cherry sauce. When you look at a glass of Mencía, you’ll notice its deep red color with subtle hues of violet towards the rim. The color tells us that Mencía has high anthocyanin (the red pigment in wine). On the palate you’ll be greeted with peppery flavors of sour cherry, red currant and pomegranate along with a bitter cherry pit flavor which comes from the wine’s tannin. In the regions where it grows in Spain and Portugal, you will taste a subtle crushed gravel or granite-like minerality in the texture, which often contributes to its black peppery taste.
*** Pairings ***
- Charcuterie, Steak au Poivre (pepper steak), Pastrami Sandwiches, Corned Beef, Pepperoni Pizza, Smoked Seitan, Barbecue, Wild Game, Roast Pork, Beef Brisket, Carne Asada, Dark Meat Turkey, Duck, Portuguese blood sausage, Chicken Fajitas
- Monterey Jack, White Cheddar, Serra da Estrela (Portugal), Azeitão (Portugal), Idiazabal (aka Petit Basque), San Simon da Costa (Spain), Queso Iberico (Spain), Manchego (Spain), Tetilla (Spain), Ossau-Iraty (France)
- Black Pepper, White Pepper, Nutmeg, Allspice, Clove, Anise, Fennel seed, Black Cardamom, Sichuan Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Bay Leaf, Dill, Garlic, Shallot, Caraway, Dijon Mustard, Hickory, Savory Barbecue Sauce, Celery Seed
- Mushroom Risotto, Portabello Mushroom Steak, Onion, Red Cabbage, Lentil, Wild Rice, Tomato, Stewed Apricot, Prune, Hazelnut, Bell Pepper, Olive, Artichoke
100% Semillon is BACK! $18.99
Winemaker’s Notes: The grapes were machine picked in the cool of the night before
gentle pressing and fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine then spent a few months
on yeast lees to gain extra complexity and mouth feel.
Tasting Notes: A lifted nose showing citrus freshness, the palate continues with fresh citrus
and concentrated grapefruit flavors. The palate is light to medium bodied with
a perfect balance of fruit and soft acid.
** Spring Game and Women Winemakers **
Wednesday, March 13th Starting 6pm
at Market Place
Call (828) 252-4162
#1 By the Glass Pour at Curate, $24
A blend of 60% Samso, 20% Garnacha and 20% Syrah, this wine reflects
a specific terroir, La Fredat in Bellmunt del Priorat. A dense Picota cherry (Spain) red
in the glass. The nose is Mediterranean herbs, balsamic notes with black fruit.
The palate is rich and round, polished tannins and a long finish. It's all about the slate!
The secrets of ancient brain surgery have been revealed, BBC is asking whether civilization cratering,
the mystery of Stonehenge may have been solved, Jeff Bezos says he is blackmail proof
(but has anyone see the pictures? to be honest, I do want to see where that money
that I used to spend on Amazon went!), Australia has OKed Emoji License Plates,
a study of Neptune reveals a BIG HOLE in our understanding of the solar system (yikes!)
Kellogg is working feverishly to prevent a Pringles shortage in UK,
NYT recommends Bob Berman's book "Earth Shattering" about cosmic calamities, and
Some of You Have Not Joined The Case Club @MetroWines
SAY WHAT? Adventure, Convenience and Value!
And Case Club Never Stops.
Not snow, not Bezos, not zombies, not cosmic calamities,
not even a "road diet" can stop the force that IS Case Club!
Join The Case Club @MetroWines
Call (828) 575-9525
Robert Formento, Film Coordinator and Critic for Ciao Asheville, talks about "The Leopard"
Some additional information from our discussion about the book and movie, “The Leopard”:
- The movie is based on a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The book was published in 1959, one year after Lampedusa’s death. It chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento (Italian reunification). Lampedusa was a Sicilian aristocrat, who based it on his great-grandfather. He died not knowing that his book would be published. (it had been rejected twice during the last year that he was still alive)
- The book became an instant success, the top selling book in Italian history and winning the prestigious Italian Strega Award.
- A movie of the book was released in 1963 winning the top Cannes award, the Palme d’Or. Although the movie was a success, internationally, it not a success in the US until it’s re-release in the original version in 1983. The first release cut important material to make it shorter, used an inferior version of Technicolor, and worst yet had the cast speaking English, without subtitles. It did not work.
- The director, Luchino Visconti, from an aristocratic family himself, was uniquely qualified to direct a movie about the changes to the aristocracy.
- It is often described as Italy’s “Gone with the Wind”. Why? It has war, romance and social and political change. All in one book! Additional comparisons can be made to America’s time of the civil war. Both were wars of unification between the North and the South. Both countries tragically lost forward thinking leaders. Lincoln was shot before he could implement positive reunification in the US and Prime Minister Cavour of Italy died in 1861 at age 50 leaving decisions regarding unification to less enlightened leaders. The South of both countries suffered.
- Burt Lancaster (who plays Fabrizio, the Sicilian prince, and Claudia Cardinale, who plays the beautiful, but lower class, Angelica) were two of the leading actors. Visconti was originally not in favor of Burt Lancaster for the role of a Sicilian prince. He reluctantly accepted him based on his “star power” and watching his performance inJudgement of Nuremberg released in 1961. Visconti was won over by Lancaster’s performance in The Leopard and they became best friends. There was no reluctance to cast Claudia Cardinale in her role as Angelica!
- Two famous quotes from the book and movie are:
- “if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change” — this line kind of sums up the political struggles in the movie
- “Love, of course love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.” — this line kind of sums up up the Prince’s view of his marriage and his prediction for Angelica and Tancredo’s romance
- The ballroom scene — at the time of filming, it was about 105 degrees in Sicily! It was so hot that the ballroom scenes (in full formal dress) were filmed from 8pm to about 4am! In keeping with the 1800s, all of the electric bulbs in the light fixtures were changed back to candles (hundreds of candles)! Given the heat, plus the intense overhead camera lights, the candles would melt and had to be replaced every hour. Such was the meticulous attention to detail by Visconti.
- Italy was the last country in Europe to be unified. Before the Risorgimento, the last time the country was united was during the Roman Empire. Between then and Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily to begin the unification, close to 15 occupations occurred making for a very diverse culture. (if you include time before the Roman Empire, the count increases to about 20 different occupations!)
Follow All Things Italian and Ciao Asheville Events HERE!
As of March 13th, event is over half sold. Call NOW!
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Over the past years Anne Pichon Wines acquired more old vineyards to bring the size of the domaine to 21 hectares. “The best vineyards in Ventoux are low-yielding and difficult to cultivate,” said Marc. “They’re the ones that people want to get rid of.” With organically farmed holdings that include 9ha Grenache, 5ha Syrah, 1ha Merlot, 0.8ha Carignan, 1.2ha Roussanne, 1.5ha Viognier, 0.7ha Grenache Blanc, 1.5ha Clairette and 0.3ha Bourboulenc, the micro-climate at Anne Pichon is dry, with cool, manually tilled soils that retain moisture when it rains. And because of the Mistral that sweeps up from the hills below, fruit is less susceptible to rot and disease, providing and ideal environment for organic viticulture.
Employing careful vineyard management, low yields and late harvesting, Pichon hand-harvests and destems all of the fruit. Reds are vinified in small 50 hL cement tanks or stainless steel, at low temperature to achieve a long maceration. For extraction Marc generally performed two gentle pump overs daily, with additional manual punch downs if necessary. The fermentations extend 3 to 4 weeks with a slow progressive increase in temperature to extract a very fine tannin structure. The malolactic fermentation and ageing take place partly in oak barrels but mostly in cements tanks. White wines are made from only a light pressing of first run juice and vinified in stainless steel tanks with strict temperature control to maintain a balance of ripe fruit and freshness.
News Release: Monday, February 11th
Andy Hale will set the stage for the class with general information about the Bordeaux region and Michelle D'Aprix will present the facts about the region and the wine from a winemaker's point of view as well as share an insider's guide to the "real" Bordeaux.
More About Michele d'Aprix in MountainX: https://
News Release: Saturday, February 9th, 2019