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Metro Wines Asheville, NC


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This is the Gamay grape. And this is a "Kendal Pick." Our 2011 Domaine Pral Cuvee Terroir Beaujolais is 100% Gamay. A family domaine for several generations, Domaine Pral is located on the Southwest Burgundy hillside vineyards made of granite soil. Domaine Pral practices ecological farming on their 45 acres of vines. Hand harvested, temperature controlled fermentation, semi-carbonic, the wine is aged in concrete tanks for 8 to 12 months before bottling. 

Loaded with sweetly-ripe blackberry and peach fruit, it's fruit forward, soft and exquisite. Its tang and brightness of tart fruit skin and saline mineral notes give this insistency on the palate and it finishes with cleansing refreshment and no superficial sweetness.

The winemakers, husband Pascal and wife Marion say: "This is a convivial wine to be relished that is the perfect accent for all occasions." Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add to start thinking holidays. This wine will be great with turkey, cranberry dressing, rosemary potatoes, sweet potatoes, haricot vert, and any seasoned carb or starch you can imagine!

Really well priced at $16.49. This is a good choice to buy by the case. Save 15% on 12, 10% on 6. Call us! 828-575-9525.

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Big Meal Kale and Mushroom Quiche

Recipe from Asheville Citizen Times: Kale and Mushroom Quiche. This is not really a light summer afternoon tea time quiche! This is a big meal quiche. A lot of different flavor profiles going on here. The bite of the kale, the creaminess of the eggs and butter and the heartiness of the mushrooms. There are reds that would work but we are favoring a white. Zagra Gillo from Valle dell"Acate can handle it. Calling Zagra "stunning" Wine Advocate gave this wine 91 points. Page down on the Wine Blog to read the particulars of this versatile wine by Gaetana Jacono. And join us tonight for The Hope Chest Benefit to taste it, LIKE it, and pick up a bottle to pair with your Kale and Mushroom Quiche. Oh yeah, and pair it with a slug of htary bread from Strada!



This is a really good winter supper option and smells great while it’s baking. Kale, along with other dark leafy greens, is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C and K.

4 teaspoons olive oil 
1 bunch fresh kale, stems removed, thinly sliced 
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme 
5 large eggs 
1 cup sour cream 
1/4 cup water 
2/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated 
1 prepared pie crust, unbaked 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and reduced in volume by half, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil to the saute pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released their water and are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Add kale back to the pan, stir in salt, pepper, dry mustard and thyme.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream and water. Sprinkle the grated cheese into the pie crust. Top with kale-mushroom mixture and pour egg mixture over the top.

Place in oven, reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

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Chateau Montelena Chardonnay


92 Points, The Wine Advocate: "Chardonnay is quite a bit fresher and more linear than the 2009, partly because of the length of the growing season, partly because it is a year younger. Slate, minerals, crushed rocks and grapefruit linger on the precise, crystalline finish. This is a very Chablis-like Napa Valley Chardonnay."

91 Points, International Wine Cellar: "Pale bright yellow with a hint of green in the glass. With complex, brisk aromas of musky pineapple, medicinal herbs, white pepper and licorice; hardly your typical California Chardonnay. At once dense and penetrating, with a strong spine of acidity. This rather uncompromising no-malolactic Chardonnay displays a serious structure for aging, and will probably need five to seven years to soften up and come into harmony. Assistant winemaker Matthew Crafton noted that in the cool growing season of 2010 it was a challenge to ripen Chardonnay in cooler sites in Napa Valley."

The Metro Wines Tasting Panel lemon and lime leaf with citrus flowers on the nose and that plus honey on the palate. The mouth feel is almost creamy contrasted with a flinty finish that offers an ever so slight marzipan nuttiness.

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Gruet Brut

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Gruet Brut, New Mexico

Rated 89, Wine Spectator "Focused and richly styled with spicy tropical fruit aromas and appealing baked apple, cinnamon and herb notes."

The Gruet Winery in France dates back to 1952 where generation after generation made champagne. Some of the children, as children do!, departed France and chose New Mexico to replicate and carry forth the family art of wine making. This Gruet Brut is made in the traditional champagne method, patience rather than process, with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. New mexico has high altitudes and wildly divergent temperatures in a 24 hour period. Grapes for Gruet Brut are grown at said high altitudes where they must, much like the skybound grapes in Argentina, struggle to keep their paycheck. The winemaker calls this brut "brilliant with ultra fine bubbles." Of course, he would! But in this case, the winemaker does not just give us puffery. This non-vintage sparkling wine presents a fine bouquet of green apples and grapefruit. But wait, not too much grapefruit! (The Metro Wines Tasting Panel has become quite sensitive to wines that rely too much on grapefruit on the palate or perhaps default into grapefruit for lack of other flavors that should be present in a quality wine and then say WOW, this wine has flavors of grapefruit as if it is unique or a requirement. Clearly  we digress into a wine peeve here....) Gruet Brut is good to go. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel also likes the smooth blending of both a rich complexity with crispiness and snappiness on the palate as well as the easily discernable toasty finish.

We offer both full and half bottles of Gruet Brut.


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French. Red. Loire.

Cheverny, Domaine de Montcy Red 2010


Domaine de Montcy was born from the agricultural background of Laura Semeria who grew up in Italy amidst the olive groves. After moving with her husband to his home country of France, Laura was drawn to the grapes. In the far corner of the Upper Loire, she found a vineyard. Some of the vines still bearing fruit were over 100 years old. Laura is striving for total biodynamic production. Grown in the sandy-limestone, the grapes express this mineral foundation. This rustic red table wine is a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Only native yeasts are used and temperatures are kept low to insure freshness remains inherent in the wine. With aromas of cherry and cranberry on the nose leading to raspberry and strawberry on the palate, this wine is simple, straightforward and, while it can stand alone, is abundantly food friendly.


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Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell


Update: December 4, 2014  Wines go in waves. While the Silver Label sat relatively quietly for months with mostly only long term devotees taking it home, the bottle is rolling and rolling rapidly off the shelf again. And well it should. There is absolutely nothing like it. To taste it is to dream.

Both calling this bottle an "outstanding value," Steven Tanzer of International Wine Cellar awarded 90 points and Cellar Tracker gave 89 points to Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain. The wine is opaque like black tights with a rosy nose, a bit of cherry and black tea laced with licorice on the palate. Tanzer echos our description calling this wine "sexy." It just IS. No matter what your definition of "is" is, Juan Gil IS.  

Tanzer describes this French oak aged wine as brilliant ruby in color with a floral nose accented by dark berries. Rolling across his palate, he says he found blackberry and lavender pastille enhanced by smoky oak, vanilla nuances with a hint of peppery spices. The finish trails off with lingering florality and smooth even tannins. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel generally agrees with our friend, Steven, and his review of this Juan Gil is no exception. 

Well structured and balanced, the wine is lively with spicy high notes, and, some say, a touch of violet. But this is the thing with this wine: Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell has a lingering soft sweetness reminiscent of port. Wait! Come back! It works. It really works. Granted, to go there, to bravely go where no man has gone before by adding the "port like", is a high wire act. You really must do it right. Bodegas Juan Gil did it, not just right, but spectacularly. Winning the Bronze at the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards, this wine lives up to it's accolades and your expectations.




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Barrel Tasting!


OK. OK. That is a little bit of puffery. Agreed We are not actually tasting from the barrel but we are tasting around the barrel and, possibly, some of the grapes that came from the barrel. Anyone who has shopped @MetroWines knows that we stand behind the wines of Hook & Ladder for quality, price and character. We have been very fortunate to have been chosen to receive one of the coveted American Oak Wine Barrels from the Hook and Ladder Winery!! This is beyond exciting. Way beyond. To have had the door @MetroWines open for only 3 months and see a Hook & Ladder Barrel roll through it is just flat out mind boggling. It's beautiful. 

Come see it! And to celebrate we pour The Tillerman, a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and here's the twist, Sangiovese, on Wednesday to the music of Brad Earnhardt, President of the Classical Guitar Society and a big fan of Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir

Wine Maker notes on The Tillerman here. Page down for our review on the Wine Blog.


The Russian River Valley is an appellation with varying climates and soils. Hook & Ladder’s Los Amigos Vineyard sits in the warmer northeastern section of the appellation, just south of the town of Healdsburg, where the days are slightly warmer. Here the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sangiovese develop strong, bold flavors.


The 2010 growing season was filled with uneven weather. An overall cold summer gave way to heat spikes in late August, right before harvest. Some crop was damaged by sun burn, and would never be picked. The cold summer lead to a later harvest than normal. The threat of rain at the very end of the season dictated our harvest dates.


With The Tillerman we strive for a boldly flavored, balanced, and well-structured red wine. To achieve this we evaluate various lots and varietals produced from the Los Amigos Ranch. The 2010 vintage yielded ripe, richly flavored Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese. We decided to blend these grapes with our Merlot to soften the palate. The varietals were fermented and aged separately in European and American Oak for 17 months before blending and bottling.


The Tillerman steers the back of the Hook & Ladder truck, a position our founder, Cecil, held for many years in San Francisco. Tillerman, the wine, is deep red-violet in color, possessing complex aromas of black stone fruit with hints of cinnamon and dry herbs. On the palate flavors of cherries and cassis are followed by a lingering currant and ripe cranberry finish, allowing this blend to show well through rich meals, yet not overpower lighter dishes. 

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Young Professionals of Asheville Wine Tasting Notes

Young Professionals of Asheville at Metro Wines

Wine Tasting Notes


Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting Notes:

Light, crisp and highly aromatic, the warmer climate Alexander Valley fruit gives this wine ripe peach, tangerine and pineapple character, while the ocean cooled Russian river valley fruit offers citrus, lemon grass and slightly herbaceous qualities together, the two valleys make a classic Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc that is fresh, lively and will drink beautifully over the next one to two years.

Food Pairings:

Grilled fish, chicken, or lamb, Greek and Mexican food, Fresh plates with avocados, tomatoes, and olives



Massimo Malbec

Tasting Notes:

The deep hue and rich texture of Massimo Malbec exemplifies Argentina's hallmark grape, grown in the country's famed Valle de Uco region of Mendoza. This wine is made from grapes grown in one of he world's highest vineyards; nearly 4,000 feet in altitude on the slopes of the majestic Andes Mountains. This Malbec is inky and full-bodied with powerful blueberry and plum notes framed by violets, spice and tobacco.

Food Pairings:

Enjoy with a classic mixed grill, spice-rubbed chicken, or juicy burgers.


Cigar Zinfandel

Tasting Notes:

The 2011 Cigar Zin has notes of deep black fruit, a punch of spice and crushed black pepper on the nose. The rich, lush and well-structured wine is hearty with exotic fruit characteristics. Hand harvested at peak season to ensure quality and flavor, the fruit for Cigar Zin was sorted then fermented for 7 days. We prepared the wine in French (50%) and American (50%) oak barrels for 11 months.

Food Pairings:

Pork, beef, lamb, Italian sausage, duck, turkey, pizza, and chili


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Strada Event Wines. Work in Progress.



On Tuesday, August 6th at 6pm, Chef Anthony Cerratofrom Strada will being appetizers to Metro Wines representing 5 different regions of Italy and Metro Wines provides the wines! 

The Wines:

"Macrina" Verdicchio

This 100% Verdicchio is from the Marche Region of Italy. Think calf muscle of the boot. Marche is one of Italy's most underrated winemaking regions. While totally and unashamedly, shall we say, doing its own thing, the region itself is a virtual microcosm of most of what Italy has to offer winemaking wise. Verdicchio is a low yield grape unique to this region. To maintain its characteristic integrity, yield per hectare (yikes! metric talk) is kept low and harvesting slightly delayed. This Verdicchio is pale straw in color with green highlights.  On the nose, "Macrina" delivers pear, lemon, lime, fresh melon and apple flavors.  Well structured, flavors repeat aromas with an elegant core of freshness. Here, the Metro Wines Tasting Panel wants to make a distinction with a difference. Some wines claim freshness because of the lack of fruit or poor construction. Not so with "Macrina." Fermented in steel, the wine is richly complex and yet assuredly fresh with a discernable lift.  The winemaker promises, and we can verify, that "Macrina" has "substantial longevity," but the truth is, you won't need it. With 13% alcohol, you will, we know you will, recycle this bottle at the end of your meal! 


Belstar Prosecco

STOP! Some of you have already tuned out because we mentioned Prosecco. We know. Been there. Let us explain. Due to Prosecco popularity, producers can get away with producing a lower quality wine, something akin to sweetened up grape juice! When you hear someone say that they do not like Prosecco, and at least three of the Metro Wines Tasting Panel used to be there!, this is the kind of sweeeeeeeet Prosecco they are talking about. But Belstar remains a shining star in Prosecco using traditional methods and offering a high quality product. With great complexity in the mid-palate, you will find just a touch, seriously, just a touch of sweetness. But it is this sweetness that gives this wine, as compared to other versions of the grape, a little and well appreciated weight. This sparkling white wine offers white fruit and floral notes on the nose and a citrus taste on the palate.  Belstar is balanced with a solid, clean finish. A perfect aperitif for a cozy two, Belstar is also crowd pleaser at a party. Best Prosecco around town for the price.


Barbera d'Asti 2011, Piedmont, Italy. Nizza Montferrato

Barbera d’Asti is a red wine produced in and around the town of Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy. Grown for centuries in this region, Barbera is heartier than it's regional neighbor Nebbiolo. The scrappy Barbera caught a break being the first grape to be replanted when the Pylloxera crisis hit Piedmont in the late 1800s. The grape remains a contender!

Grown today throughout Italy, Barbera grapes from the Piedmont, including those grown on the slopes of Asti are considered the finest and the best representation of the unique characteristics of the varietal. While other grapes, Freisa, Grignolino and Dolcetto can be in the bottle, to be called a Barbera d’Asti, the wine must be a minimum of 75% Barbera. 

So why is this Barbara d'Asti only $9.99 if it is all that? Because many consumers are familiar with d'Alba in the Piedmont and, hence, the price for a Barbera from this area is higher. Some are convinced that wines from d'Alba are of higher quality. But, if you look for Barbera love in all the right places, you can find a treasure. This d'Asti from Nizza Montferrato at $9.99, is indeed, a treasure. This is d'Alba quality, if you subscribe to that position, at half the price. OK, this is similar to location, location, location in real estate. The house in the well known neighborhood is inflated. But if you are willing to go just over the line, you get all the same amenities for a better price. Dark fruit flavors including cherry. Well balanced. Pairing flexible. This bottle is one that the Metro Wines Tasting Panel calls "unobjectionable." It would be very difficult for a red wine consumer not to enjoy this wine or to question the quality. Bring on the potluck!


Valpolicella Ripasso 2010, Corte Majoli, Verona

Ripasso? Say what? This is the process of adding the grape skins left over from the fermentation of Amarone wine to the Valpolicella mix thus deepening the flavor of the wine to be labeled as Valpolicella. So, if you want the taste of Amarone but not the price, you want this wine. The grapes used to make Amarone are dried like raisins to concentrate the flavor. After this process, the grapes are placed with Vapolicella grapes offering an Amarone taste at a more reasonable price.  But it's not just price that should convince you to choose a Ripasso. This is a fine wine in its own right.

Winemaker's notes: Brilliant ruby red; scents of ripe blackberry, clove, tobacco, and liquorice; full-flavoured palate, velvety, crisp, and refreshing. 60% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella.

The Metro Wines Tasting Panel would add that this bottle is an good example of that which defines Valpolicella, the very fragrant cherry aroma. But, as is often the case, its strength is its weakness. The strong, fruit driven aroma and taste has caused many to call Valpolicella the Italian Beaujolais resulting in Valpolicella falling victim to the same image problem from which Beaujolais is just beginning to recover.  With all due respect, this may be limited to certain circles.  What's wrong with Beaujolais? Like any wine, the underlying vintage can be less than desirable or the process a flat mess.  But this writer can assure you that Beaujolais is proudly served at the French Embassy in Washington DC. Stand up for Valpolicella Ripasso!


Fontana Vecchia Aglianico del Taburno, Campania

The grape, Aglianico del Taburno, is grown on the slopes of Mount Taburno at altitudes of up to 1300 feet flourishing in the volcanic soil. This black skinned grape ripens late benefiting from the long growing season of hot days, moderately cool nights and the mountain breezes that moderate temperatures. The grape is full bodied and offers good aging potential thanks to the natural acid structure and tannins. Fontana Vecchia presents a musky berry flavor with blackberry and bitter chocolate on the palate. This is a food wine. Heavier than a Sangiovese, Aglianico is naturally bold.


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Who's This Guy?


Who's this guy? May I introduce to you Eric Scheffer. You know Eric as the owner of Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant on Merrimon in Asheville. But Eric is also a partner in the Bodega Gratia Winery in Argentina. We will be serving Bodega Gratia Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc at movie night on Thursday, August 1st at 6pm. In addition to serving Eric's fine wines, Eric will be bringing lasagna and salad to complement these two wines. WOW!

But wait, there's more! Eric will also be introducing the movie for the evening, "Big Night." The movie tells the story of two Italian brothers, played by Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub, who are trying desperately to save the integrity and the livelihood of their neighborhood Italian restaurant betting it all on one Big Night. What the brothers do is make one big meal on this one Big Night. And guess what? Eric has made that exact meal for an event he hosted! How cool is that? So, in addition to talking about the trials, tribulations and joys of operating a neighborhood Italian restaurant, Eric can talk about the exact meal that is the real star of the movie.

About the Bodega Gratia wines: Bodega Gratia is located in Mendoza where the grapes have the longest "hang time" in the world. This time on the vine creates a good balance between ripe fruit flavors and smooth tannins.

The Malbec: First, let me say that this wine offers a consistency that Metro Wines Tasting Panel appreciated.  Too often, a wine offers a good nose but one that is totally distinct, not necessarily bad just noticeably different, from the palate causing a jarring rather than smooth experience. Not this one. One for all and all for one here. The nose, the palate, the finish, all blended and balanced. A very intense purple in color, this 100% Malbec offers strawberries, cherries and blueberries, vanilla and white chocolate on the nose. The aroma translates to the palate and through to the finish. Solid. Real.

The Sauvignon Blanc: This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is light to medium bodied. Clear passion fruit on the nose, then focusing the palate on herbal and citrus flavors with just a hint of the passion fruit aroma turned tropical taste.

It would be really easy to make some wine analogy here but it would be beneath the dignity of the occasion and company. Suffice it to say that, all in all, the wine, the food, the movie, the company and well, of course, Eric, promise a unique, interesting and enjoyable Thursday Night in the neighborhood.

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Meet the Parents

$10 a glass at Grove Park Inn. $8 a BOTTLE @Metro Wines! Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot, 2010, California

$10.99 at GreenLife. $9.99 (and free hassle free parking)! @Metro Wines. Bastille Chardonnay

Tasting today and Tuesday

These are both respectable wines that you can take home to meet the parents. Will they be on Robert Parker's 100 Wines Not to Miss List? No. Grace the cover of Wine Spectator? No. Be presented it to a foreign dignitary? No. But do these wines do what they promise, serve as a solid everyday table wines at an affordable price? Yes. 

Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot

Served at Grove Park Inn, the Emerald Bay Central Coast Merlot is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from multiple California vineyards. Founded in 1982 Chateau Julien, a family owned winery in Monterey, offers Emerald Bay as an entry level wine. This sustainably produced wine is fermented in stainless steel and has just enough barrel aging to give the wine a hint of oak. Emerald Bay Merlot does not shy away from tannins but uses them wisely to create a good mid palate experience.

Candy apple red, the wine presents a fruit forward aroma of raspberry and dried currants on the nose and then this fruit with a touch of soft vanilla on the palate.  With a subdued and appropriate acidity, the finish is smooth, starting strongly and fading slowly.  Write home about this wine? Maybe not. But good? Yes. Or why else would Grove Park Inn put their spendy stamp of approval on it?


Bastille Chardonnay, imported by Bourgeois Family Selections, Asheville, NC

We have talked about this wine before on this blog and served it at our Bastille Day Celebration.  But you cannot repeat this mantra too often: a good, solid wine for the price. 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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New in Shop

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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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. 


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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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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2712 Hits

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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2677 Hits