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 email@example.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.
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 theBlack Death. In contrast to thePinot noirvariety, Gamayripenedtwo weeks earlier and was less difficult to cultivate. It also produced a strong, fruitier wine in a much larger abundance. In July 1395, theDuke of BurgundyPhilippe the Boldoutlawed 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".The edicts had the effect of pushing Gamay plantings southward, out of the main region of Burgundy and into thegranitebased soils of Beaujolais where the grape thrived.[1The region of Beaujolais was first cultivated by the Romanswho planted the areas along its trading route up theSaônevalley. The most noticeableRoman vineyardwasBrulliacuslocated on the hillside ofMont Brouilly. The Romans also planted vineyards in the areaMorgon. From the 7th century through theMiddle Ages, most of theviticultureand winemaking was done by theBenedictinemonks. In the 10th century, the region got its name from the town ofBeaujeu, Rhôneand was ruled by the Lords ofBeaujeutill the 15th century when it wascededto theDuchy of Burgundy. The wines from Beaujolais were mostly confined to the markets along the Saône andRhône rivers, particularly in the town of Lyon. The expansion of theFrench railroad systemin the 19th century opened up the lucrativeParismarket. The first mention of Beaujolais wines in English followed soon after whenCyrus Reddingdescribed the wines of Moulin-à-Vent andSaint-Amouras being low priced and best consumed young.
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.
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."
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.
Kendal Klein is coordinating this great pairing for Metro Wines. Questions? Call her at 828-575-9525 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Ma 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 1 – Mussels 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 2 – Chicken 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 3 – Grilled 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 4 – Pear Almond Tart – Wine: La Fleur d' OrSauternes; 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!
Visit this website to sign up and pay for the class:
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:
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.'
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.
6 to 8 years (2016 to 2018) or longer with proper storage.
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.
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:
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.
From the Winemaker, Brewer Raats:
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).
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.
Can be enjoyed now and will mature well over the next 2 - 4 years (2013 to 2015), if stored correctly.
100% Chenin Blanc
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.
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.
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!
*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.
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.
*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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This dry red wine from France is, at 13% alcohol and a big taste bang for the bucks of $11.99, a "Metro Wines Bottle for Dinner." From Robert Walter Selections, this limited distribution wine is an easy drinking blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Cherry and blackberry on the nose are followed seamlessly by dark fruit and herbs on the palate with elegant tannins and a soft dryness.
Just born in 1982, the Faugeres Wine Appellation already has a reputation for consistent high quality wines. The vineyards sit high up above Beziers in the steep hills surrounding the village of Faugeres. The schist laden hillsides provide a winning grape growing combination of soil drainage as well as moisture retention.
Remember our review of Flaco from the vineyards surrounding Madrid? Yes, Madrid. While Madrid is an everyday word around the world, it is rarely said in the same sentence with phrases like "great wine making region." But it will be. The low price of Flaco this year won't hold in the years to come. Same with Faugeres. Some critics are touting Faugeres as the next wine world to be "discovered." That means higher demand and higher prices. To be blunt: come and get it, now.
From the Marche Region of Italy, the wine is 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese, two of Italy's favorite and best known grapes. Rich and well balanced, Colle AMBRO pairs with dishes that present stand-up, forthright flavors including red and white meat, and heavy mushroom sauces. Imported by Haw River Wine Man of Burlington, North Carolina. 13.5% alcohol. $12.79
From wiki about The Marche Region:
Marche(pronounced Mar-kay) is a region on the eastern side of centralItaly. It occupies a roughly triangular area whose longer sides are formed by the Apennine Mountains in the west and the Adriatic Sea in the east. Emilia-RomagnaandAbruzzoare its neighboring regions to the north and south respectively, and it is separated fromUmbriaonly by the Apennines.
Marche winemaking heritage spans thousands of years and has been influenced, among others, by the Etruscans, Romans and Lombards. The presence of these various cultures goes a long way to explaining the breadth of vinicultural tradition and wine styles in the region. Marches has a number of terroirs which are extremely well suited to the cultivation of vines, particularly among the rolling coastal hills such as those around Ancona. Due to the influences of the Apennines, the Adriatic and the region's rivers (the Metauro, Potenza, Tronto and Nera), there are various climates at work in Marche, giving wine producers both warm and cool viticultural zones to utilise. Calcareous, clay and limestone-rich soils contribute to the distinctive terroir, and vary according to the region's distinctive topography.
Petit Chenin Blanc 2012 South Africa
A Ken Forrester wine, the 2010 Chenin Blanc snagged 87 points and "Best Buy" accolades from Wine Enthusiast. Critic Robert Parker warded 89 points and said this is a "perfect everyday drinking wine." The grapes made wine in this bottle were hand harvested, fermented cool and bottled early to highlight the fresh fruit flavors. Youthful and fresh, this 100% Chenin Blanc presents quince and pear flavors along with green apple and grapefruit on the palate leading to a tangy finish. 13.5% alcohol. $10.49
Col. Mesian Spumante, Extra Dry, Sparkling
Be honest, your first thoughts about Spumante are probably not good ones. In Italy, Spumante has never gone out of fashion, but cheap versions in this country ruined the name. The Pirovano family in Veneto has been making wine since 1910 - hence the "910" on the label. Over the course of the century, wine making skills were handed down from one generation to another and today the grandson runs the winery.
This particular spumante is made with grapes of the first harvest from their estate in Veneto - chardonnay and garganega (Soave wines are 100% made from this varietal) and made charmat method (the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in large tanks, and is bottled under pressure. This method is used for Prosecco and Asti in particular, and produces smaller, longer-lasting bubbles. This is now used widely around the world to produce light, delicate sparkling wines).
Creamy feeling, swirling brings out a vanilla taste. At $11.99, this wine cannot be beat for the holidays.
Almost FREE Friday Wines: At Metro Wines, we strive to find great wines at affordable prices. Sometimes you really have to do a double take on the price. The shelf price is flat out ridiculous on these two French wines. There is no doubt in our collective Metro Wines Mind that in a blind tasting pitting these wines against higher priced similar wines, you might just choose our entry! Come on down for Almost FREE Friday and see what you think. And stay for Comedy Friday!
Built in the XIV century, the Chateau de Pizay sits sumptuously in the beautiful, and we mean beautiful, Beaujolais foothills of Southern Burgundy. Dating back to the 11th century, the Chateau is located between the "cru" villages of Morgon and Brouilly. The 100 acres of the Chateau de Pizay are known for giving up remarkably fresh and fruit forward Beaujolais wines. Made from 40 year old vines planted in a granite soil, the wine is aged in stainless steel. In a head to head blind tasting with a more expensive bottle of Beaujolais, this wine held its own. On the nose, you will find red apples, raspberries. Same on the palate framed in appropriate acidity. Very popular in Europe. Serve slightly chilled. At 12.5% alcohol, this is a Metro Wines Tasting Panel Bottle for Dinner. And at $10.49, this is a Buy By the Case Suggestion.
Awards: Medaille de Bronze, Concours des Grands Vin de Macon 2012, Commended Medal DECANTER World Wine Awards 2012, and Prix des Vinalles Internationales 2012
Domaine de Montrabech White, PAYS D'OC, 2011
Even at $8.79, this is not your grocery store white! A blend of Grenache Blanc, Muscat Petits Grains, this wine is a DRY white wine. I put that in caps because I know what you were thinking when you heard "muscat." Come on. You know you were. The nose is floral and with some scents of the tropics and herbaceous notes on the palate. The blend is blended well, no grape dominates. Read Muscat does not dominate. Does not. All harmonious and vibrant. This is what you would expect from a classic White Rhone. Still not quite sure what to make of this bottle? Let me put it this way, if you enjoy a French Viognier or a Torrontes from Argentina then, as they say at Amazon, shoppers who bought those wines also bought this one. It's almost FREE. But in truth, this wine is an amazing value. Try it. Great aperitif for the holidays. And with the right cheese, magnifique! At 11.5% alcohol, you know, it's a "bottle for dinner."
New Years Eve Wine World Way @Metro Wines !! 4pm to 8pm, Taste wines from three time zones with site specific party food, $20
This is how it works: When it's MIDNIGHT in Johannesburg, South Africa, it's 4pm here. We taste a red and a white from South Africa. When it's MIDNIGHT in Vienna, Austria, it's 5pm here. We taste a red and a white from Austria. And when it's MIDNIGHT in Paris, it's 6pm here, we taste a red and white and toast with a bubbly from France. And then you can still meet your dinner plans! Start with us on New Years Eve. Join our email list through this website for developing details and LIKE us on FB for late breaking developments.
And shop early to make sure you always have a bottle of sparkling from somewhere in the world to share with your guests.
"Land to hand. Vineyard to Bottle." So sayeth the winemaker. Vinted and bottled by Charles Smith, this is a fruit driven Riesling but do not fear the sweet. This 100% Riesling from the Evergreen Vineyard in the Columbia Valley is a pure and fresh version of this light skinned German grape. Taste Lychee Nut, peach, citrus flavors and all jazzed up with minerality. It is not enough to say that this wine is good with spicy food, it is more appropriate to say that spicy food demanded this wine. Red Curry calling KungFu Girl Riesling! $13
90 points from Wine Spectator Wine Spectator
Best Value in 2009, 2010 and 2011
Named #51 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2013
ABOUT CHARLES SMITH
Growing up just outside of Sacramento, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Charles Smith began craving worldly travel at a young age due to his Welsh mother and French father. As soon as he had the chance, Charles decided to move to Denmark (for a “hot piece of a**” i.e. a lady friend he met in the states). While in Scandinavia, Charles spent the next nine years managing rock bands and concert tours throughout Europe, including the famed Danish duo, The Ravonettes. Wining and dining while on the road became a catalyst for his passion of wine, which ultimately triggered the career he has today.
In 1999, he moved back to the United States, specifically to the Pacific Northwest, opening a wine shop on Bainbridge Island, just across the Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. On a road trip in late 1999, he passed through the small town of Walla Walla and met a young Frenchman and winemaker. The two men discovered their common passion for great Syrah and Charles was eventually convinced to move to Walla Walla and make his own juice. In 2001, Charles released 330 cases of his first wine, the 1999 K Syrah. The Walla Walla Valley was now his home.
After a devastating freeze in 2004, Charles brought to life a label he had once in a dream: House Wine. Low and behold, the label concept had never been created or trademarked, so Charles launched the legendary brand before selling it to Precept Brands in 2006. That same year, Charles started a second brand, Charles Smith Wines. The brand was themed as “The Modernist Project,” which focuses on the way people generally consume wine today: immediately. The intent was (and still is) to create wines to be enjoyed now, but with true typicity of both the varietal and the vineyard.
A self-taught winemaker, Charles is a true artisan and a pioneer in the wine world. In 2008, K Vintners was recognized by Wine & Spirits magazine as one of the “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years,” and as “Winery of the Year” in their annual buying guide. In 2009 Food & Wine magazine awarded Charles “Winemaker of the Year” and in 2010 Seattle Magazine recognized Charles as their “Winemaker of the Year.”
Mackensy Lunsford writes "Eating your way to GOOD LUCK" in the Asheville Citizen Times today, Wednesday, January 15th. The article includes a recipe for "Dragon Beans" that can be made with seafood or retrofitted to a vegetarian version. "Dragon Beans are calling out for our Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Can this pairing bring you good luck? Don't know if you don't try!
New Year’s celebrations in our corner of the world often focus on bubbly booze and noisemakers. But Chinese New Year is a horse of a different color.
For one, Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 31 this year, almost a full month after many cultures celebrate a fresh start.
On that date, the Chinese will usher out the year of the snake and ring in the year of the horse. In stark contrast to our one evening of revelry, the Chinese will celebrate during a 15-day span.
But Chinese New Year celebrations don’t carry the same no-holds-barred degree of boisterous revelry that we’re accustomed to here in the United States. Though the Chinese New Year is celebrated with its fairshare of exploding fireworks and merry-making, the party is kicked off with quiet introspection that borders on reserved.
Chinese New Year typically begins with a family gathering where departed loved ones and culinary customs are held in equally high regard. The larder is full of good luck foods, edible harbingers of health, wealth and a long and fruitful life ahead.
Symbols of good luck include whole fish, long noodles and long beans, spring rolls and flowering chives.
Long noodles symbolize a long and healthy life, as long as they aren’t chopped to bits, negating the good-luck powers.
Spring rolls, particularly when deep-fried, are said to look like gold bars and thus usher in health. As for the fish, the Cantonese word for the swimming creatures, “yu,” sounds like the word for abundance.
Sharon Domingo, owner of Foreign Affairs Oriental Market in East Asheville, sometimes has fish decorations in stock for New Year’s. “(The Chinese) always worship the fish for health and wealth,” said Domingo.
The faux fish are particularly helpful for those who don’t feel like cooking one whole — but for the more adventurous cooks, Harris Teeter on Merrimon Avenue seems to be one reliable place to find fresh, whole fish.
Like fish, most other good luck items are said to bring happiness in one form or another. Want a long life? Look for Chinese long beans, a preposterously lengthy green bean consumed in some Chinese provinces for longevity. Noodles are eaten for the same purpose, and the Asian market carries plenty.Domingo recommended the Chinese long-life noodles, which are made of wheat flour and yellow food coloring. Those are in stock at the market. Not so for the long beans, which are temperamental in bad weather and thus difficult to obtain, Domingo said.
“There’s a season for them,” she said. “You have a hard winter, you don’t see them much.”
Still, Foreign Affairs has the legumes on order, Domingo said, and she hopes to have some in stock for the upcoming holiday. “Two weeks ago I couldn’t get my hands on them, but they’re usually around for Chinese New Year,” she said. “We’re on the list.”
Mooncakes — Chinese pastries eaten or given during New Year’s — will be available if they don’t run out, Domingo said. The little cakes come in distinctly Chinese flavors such as mung bean paste, winter melon and durian, a fruit so pungent it’s banned in many public places in Asia.
“It’s kind of crazy what they put in it,” Domingo said. “You have to really read the ingredients.”
Domingo said she makes the trip to to Atlanta once a week to pick up produce, so she’s happy to take requests. “I can try to track down many different types of food,” she said.
Many of the ingredients in our two long-life recipes should be available at Foreign Affairs, but missing ingredients can easily be found in any grocery store with a large and varied stock.
This recipe uses Chinese long beans, which should be available this time of year in various grocery stores. It also uses lobster meat, for which you can substitute shrimp. Or leave out the shellfish and substitute tofu or toasted almonds for a vegetarian version.
Start to finish: 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 pounds Chinese long beans 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup oyster sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil Splash of Sriracha sauce 7 ounces cooked lobster meat, chopped 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seedsIn a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Add the peppercorns, five-spice powder and garlic. Heat, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Add the beans and toss to coat. Add the water, oyster sauce and soy sauce and cover. Allow the beans to steam for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Add the sesame oil, Sriracha, lobster meat and sesame seeds. Toss together and cook until just heated through. Serve immediately.
This bottle is like the woman who walks into a crowded room with a a daring hat and everyone LOOKS. Thierry Triolet Brut Rose is a base of Chardonnay with 15% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier. This champagne stands up to bottles that cost $100 or more and, at $42 on the shelf, all facts considered, beats them. This bottle is that woman. Thierry Triolet, with its tiny bubbles!, pairs with everything including popcorn. See our article this month in North Asheville Life Magazine.
From the importer, Wine Traditions in Falls Church Virginia
About Thierry Triolet: The Champagne house of Thierry Triolet is located in the village of Bethon. The vineyards in Bethon are part of the Côtes de Sezanne region of Champagne which begins about 20 miles southwest of Epernay and extends southward from the town of Sezanne. Geologically, this narrow band of hills is a continuation of the more massive Côtes des Blancs. Traditionally,the Sezanne vineyards have been a source of excellent Chardonnay grapes for the large negociant Champagne houses to the north.
About the Brut Rose: The Rosé Champagne combines a base of Chardonnay with 15% red wine. The red wine is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In very ripe vintages, M. Triolet will keep a vat of “Pinot” and allows it to mature in the cellar. The red wine is blended with Chardonnay and the “assemblage” undergoes the second fermentation followed by an extended period “sur lattes”. It is bottled with the “liqueur de triage” , a blend of sugar and yeasts (12 grams sugar), to produce a charming Rosé Champagne.
Rattlesnake Hills is located in the northern part of the Yakima Valley in Washington State. All estate grown, this blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon opens with cherry, chocolate and cinnamon on the nose with a richly balanced mouthfeel, medium tannins and flavors of caramel, cedar oak and spice.
LeLapin Ingenuity White Wine $7.34
A most interesting and delightful blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, this wine is the work of Rabbit Ridge, founded 1981 in Sonoma California. Metro Wines Tasting Panelfound this wine is not overly citrus laden as many Sauvignon Blanc or blends that are predominantly that grape can be. Rabbit Ridge is committed to producing quality wines at affordable prices and this one is no exception. Le Lapin wines are non-vintage allowing the winemaker to blend newer wines for intensity and older wines for complexity. At this Almost FREE price of $7.34, buy cases.
And just for fun, we found this BW photo on Pinterest for you!
And the Headliner for Comedy Friday is, drumroll......
Whether speaking on the absurdity of music or sharing his bizarre views on the world, Jeff Blank is sure to win you over with his high energy show and spontaneous outbursts. He's shared the stage with Rory Scovel, Blake Clark, Nikki Glaser to name a few, and is able to turn the vibe in the room to one where EVERYONE is having fun.
"...what impresses most is how quick he is on his feet — whether it be in deflecting hecklers, refiguring punch lines or roasting fellow comics." -Mike Gibson, Knoxville News Sentinel
Tasting this everyday table wine today @MetroWines. Made for six generations by the Foppiano Family in The Russian River, this Petite Sirah serves up juicy black fruit like only the Russian River can! The Metro Wines Tasting Panel is, as you know, always suspicious of wines made from 100% of any grape but especially the more determined ones such as the hear me roar Petite Sirah. That said, it has to be done right. We think this one was so done. And for only $11.99, this is a holiday buy by the case choice.
Winery Tasting Notes: On the nose, blueberries, dark chocolate and black cherry are the predominant aromatics with a touch of floral and spice. In the mouth, Lot 96 tastes smooth, fruity and is very approachable with ripe blackberry, plum, blueberry and red cherry. It features well-integrated, supple tannins balanced with a strong backbone of acidity and fruit.The finish of blackberry and vanilla lingers for minutes. Enjoy this wine with grilled meats and hearty, aged cheeses.
Remember when we first saw Steve Martin and he was doing that King Tut thing and calling himself a wild and crazy guy. And we thought he was funny but he grew into being REALLY funny. And then we found out that Steve Martin was also an actor, a playwright, an artist, and as we know personally here in the Asheville area, Steve Martin is also a musician. Well, this is like that. This review is our first discussion by a "guest." We cannot thank Herbie Gill enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to send us this work of wine art. Some of you may know Herbie from Metro Wines where he has headlined for our Disclaimer Comedy Friday Night Show on two occasions. So, you know Herbie to be a top notch, nationally known funny guy. But what you don't know is that Herbie has wine shop experience and he KNOWS wine. But don't listen to me, listen to Herbie:
Mas Del Perie (2011): Today we'll take a little time to learn about Mas Del Perie, a dark red that hails from Cahors. This wine, which is a French malbec, is a different take on a familiar name. It' s a perfect change of pace from Argentinian malbecs without sacrificing the universal appeal of the wine. There is also something to be said about a well traveled story to add to the complexity and mystique of this new acquaintance being made.
According to legend, the malbec grapes originated from Cahors, France. One year, due to the cold, the season was unfavorable for harvest, threatening to render the grapes (and thus the profits) useless. In a bold move, Argentine wineries offered to take them and grow them for their wines. This is how Argentinian malbec came to be known to the wine world. Nowadays, malbec is a frequent favorite to the party with its rustic and spicy nature bringing a touch of depth and panache to the evening.
While many of us are still quite fond of malbecs and its contribution to our wine palette, every now and again you need some variety. What do you do when you need to switch things up and are eager to try something new? Enter the Argentine malbec's long lost French cousin, Mas Del Perie. Upon the initial greeting, you can tell you've come to the right place to test your sense of adventurousness. A wine that's tall dark and handsome, you can already tell you're in for a surprise. The tannin in the wine leaves it nearly completely opaque, which is why they've nicknamed this newcomer "The Legendary Black Wine of Cahors," a name alone that grabs your attention and holds it in its firm but gentle grasp. On the nose you find the presence of lush fruit, which is a departure from the leather and herbaciousness of its Argentine counterpart. A single kiss from this rich and smooth malbec lends a flash of excitement. The round taste of ripe fruit leads you to wonder if its a malbec at all, and the silky tannin adds a smoothing element instead of a dry one. It also is not as thin as the Argentine, which is sure to please anyone excited about bringing something a little bit thicker to dinner.
This versatile wine is wonderful company for any occasion. Whether you plan to bring a savory dinner to the mix, pairing it with a rich dessert, or spending an intimate evening at home, Mas Del Perie lets you know that there is still a bit of sultry fire left in the malbec family. Should you need recommendations, I've known this wine to play well with Beef Bourguignon, make a wonderful after dinner experience with some chocolate cheesecake, or soothe the senses in front of a nice fire with some light music. Take a chance and go on a date with The Legendary Black Wine of Cahors. Make sure not to tell its Argentine cousin. We all know once you've gone Black, you'll always go back.
Herbie Gill is a comedian who learned from the best and seeks to blaze his own path in comedy. As a true student of the craft of comedy, audiences and fellow comedians alike notice Herbie's passion and dedication to stand up. Changing expectations and skewing stereotypes, this young comic can finesse any crowd with professionalism, style and wit.
Herbie's hard work and knack for presenting fresh new material earned him appearances on many stages and programs, including XM Radio, Comcast Cable, PBS, Gilda's Club, and Local Point TV for ABC.
Appearing at clubs, showcases and festivals across the country, his show proves he's ready to take his brand of comedy anywhere. With a shining personality, excellent stage presence and hilarious material, it's easy to see that Herbie's comedy stock is rising.
Follow Herbie's Schedule on his website at herbiegil.com and link to facebook and twitter.
Our brute of a wine boy that we know as Flaco Tempranillo joins the light but feisty Lima Vinho Verde for Almost FREE Friday and Stand UP Comedy. The two have been flirting but this is their first night out together. It's an arranged marriage but we think it works. Come see what you think. $10 for a glass of Flaco or Lima or bottle of beer and The Metro Show, 7pm Friday!
FLACO Tempranillo 2012 Wine Spectator, 87 Points
FLACO is a product of Vinos de Madrid, that is, the vineyards around the capital city. The area offers an intriguing wine growing region for the Tempranillo grape which, in large part, forms the backbone of some of the finest reds made in Spain. From the Arganda District a little southeast of Madrid, the vineyards sit on clay over granite subsoil at about 2400 feet. The elevation makes for what we have come to know and love in our wines, that stark difference in day and night temperatures insuring the gradual and balanced maturation of the fruit.
At $8.50, FLACO is one of those wines where you would probably not guess the price in a blind tasting and, then, once knowing, you really must ask how do they do it for that price? Part of the price is that Madrid is not yet known as a grape growing region. and cannot command a high price, yet. But that's what we do here @Metro Wines, look for great values, sometimes, as here, in lesser known regions, before mass marketing drives up the price! And Vinos de Madrid is about to go on wine radar.
Tempranillo is a thick skinned, youthful, almost playful grape. Flaco is aged in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks to bring forth that exuberance. Uncork and give a little air. On the nose, you will find plum and earth. The flavor could be described as exotic flashing around tastes of clove and black licorice with berry, baked plum and a touch of vanilla lush and big on the palate. Carrying the clove all the way, the finish closes with cherry. An easy drinker all alone, Flaco can also make food sing. Potluck perfect, it would be hard to find a reason to dislike Flaco, and it sure wouldn't be the price! Buy it by the case. At $8.50 a bottle with a 15% discount, Flaco is, you know, almost FREE.
Ah yes, again, the name. Word has it that Flaco means "dude."
Lima Vinho Verde Loureiro, 2011, Portugal
Perfect with Pulpo a la Gallega. Let's come back to that. Moving on..
From the Paco de Cardiddo Vineyard, this wine is dry. Yes, dry. This crisp and fruity wine is 100% Loureiro, a Vinho Verde wine from Portuagal. Loureiro means "laurel" referring to the bay leaf scent that marks the grape. Loureiro, a light skinned grape with excellent acidity, is becoming the popular choice for Vinho Verde wines but historically Trajadura and Pederna were the go to grapes.
From Loureiro grapes grown in rocky composition soil, LIMA is light and floral with high mineral acidity. Pale lemon yellow in color, you will find lemongrass and Mediterranean herbs (Metro Wines Tasting Panel loves that!) on the nose. Citrus fruit with a splash of white tea and minerality is on the palate and the feel is full working down to a long and refreshing finish.
The winery suggest that this wine pairs perfectly with Pulpo a la Gallegas, a dish made with octopus. Eric Ripert has a good recipe via youtube if you just happen to have an octopus that you have not put to good use. But should your kitchen be one octopus short, LIMA is great with all the usual suspects: crustaceans, fish, chicken, salad, Asian Spring Rolls, and a perfect way to say goodbye to summer.
The name? This from the importer, Wine Bow: This Vinho Verde is named for the legendary Lima River in Galicia. During Roman times, invading solders avoided this river as it was said to be the incarnation of Hades’ memory-erasing Lethe. Today, vines flourish along its banks, among them the Loureiro that composes Lima Vinho Verde. Cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks creates a wine with excellent acidity and a freshness that will be hard to forget.