On Tuesdays, we partner with Home Source Design Center to make meals, their recipes and our wines.
As we pulled into the driveway last night, we gathered our grocery bags for the night’s meal. We were ready to have a little fun, but really this meal was all business. We knew that the favorite store pours of the week were versatile, but we wanted to put them to the test with a variety of foods.
We tasted a lot of great wines this week, but the ones that seemed to get everyone’s attention were the French white Domaine Delsol Picpoul de Pinet and the Portuguese red Marques de Montemor. These are stellar wines not only because of their quality for a low price, but because they pair with just about anything.
Anything? Out came the half sandwiches left from lunch. Next, we covered the table with small tubs of food from a local restaurant. The spread before us included spicy sesame noodles, broccoli in a very sharp vinaigrette, fruit, an exotic type of cheese, Korean barbecue and two half sandwiches – one plain and one with the works.
Both the Picpoul and the Montemor paired beautifully with each and every dish. We attribute their versatility to their distinctive and balanced flavors. No clash at all with the blast of different spices and styles of foods. So, don’t be surprised to see an open bottle in the shop, or a bottle or two in our home.
And what a night it was. For the full two hours, the crowd grew larger as people poured in to enjoy our latest selection of wines and meet the members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club. Everyone had a great time, and several people joined the Bicycle Club on the spot after they got the chance to learn about Blue Ridge’s activities and charity work.
The other hit of the night was the latest release from the North by Northwest winery, aka “N x NW.” Once the crowd tasted their 2011 Chardonnay, we had a hard time keeping a supply near the cash register as it flew out the door.
And we were not surprised. Even two of the club members pondered on how to retro-fit their bicycle water bottle holders to accommodate a bottle of this Chardonnay. The aging in 20% new French Oak helped produce a golden buttery and rounded wine with crisp acidity and a long finish. On your first sip, you’ll taste vanilla, oak, pear and honeysuckle, along with notes of red apple and a hint of toast.
N x NW’s vineyard is located in the prized Columbia River Basin, which straddles Oregon and Washington. As in the great growing regions of France, the river basin moderates the temperature, producing wines of distinction.
You don’t have to ride a bike to enjoy this wine. Just drop on by the shop in any mode of transportation and snag a bottle.
Using grapes from around California, 2011 Sexual Chocolate is vinted and bottled in the Santa Barbara countryside by, as the label says,"the boys at SLO Down Wines" in Napa. This bottle of red is a smooth blend of old vine Zinfandel from Napa's Howell Mountain and Syrah from the warm climate of Santa Barbara. The full bodied tongue feel of the Zinfandel is much like that of biting into a chocolate covered cherry. The Syrah adds a touch of class bringing a refined and long finish. Sexual Chocolate is an experience.
"This bottle originated From a boot legging operation my buddies and I had in college. We started making wine knowing it would be used for late night drinking and that the French are annoying. It took some time but we finally perfected our blend and came up with this full bodied red that pairs well with Wednesday nights and pizza. We use grapes from all over California so we recommend that this be drank immediately, and shared with girls. When you want more, just call us." Bob & Brandon
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Recipe:
2 slices bacon, sliced in half crosswise
2 slices hearty white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm or Arnold
2 teaspoons butter
2 slices American or Cheddar cheese
2 slices ripe beefsteak tomato
1/2 a ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1 Place bacon in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and bacon fat to a small bowl.
2 Wipe out skillet and return to medium heat. Melt butter until foaming subsides. Add both bread slices and cook, swirling occasionally, until pale golden brown on bottom side, about 2 minutes.
3 Transfer to a cutting board toasted-side-up. Place one cheese slice on top of one slice, followed by bacon, tomato, and avocado. Top with second cheese slice and close sandwich.
4 Add half of reserved bacon fat to skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add sandwich and cook, swirling occasionally, until deep, even golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove sandwich using a flexible metal spatula. Add the remaining bacon fat. Return sandwich to skillet cooked-side up. Season with salt. Cook, swirling occasionally, until second side is deep, even golden brown and cheese is thoroughly melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
There’s nothing quite like a BLT for lunch or a light dinner on a warm, sunny day. It’s a great contrast of light and hearty from the classic combination of crisp, cold lettuce with the juicy sharpness of tomatoes and the spicy, deep flavors of crunchy bacon.
Metro Wine Studio of Asheville has supplied delicious wine pairings below to compliment your grilled cheese. You can choose a French with an elegant Rhone red blend, or go a little heartier with an earthy Italian Sangiovese. To help you decide, here’s a description of the wines.
This delightful regional blend is a wonderfully aromatic wine, with fruity cherry-berry Grenache to the fore and a nice backbone of spicy Syrah to add interest. Medium bodied with soft tannins, this classic regional blend won’t disappoint. This is a beautiful example of the red wines from the Ventoux region.
Perazzeta is making some of the best everyday wines in all of Toscana right now. Located in the D.O.C. region of Montecucco, just south of the famous Montalcino region, these wines have tremendous power, tension, and assertive terroir. Bright, stinging cherry, crisp acidity, and tantalizing earth tones make this pretty, yet interesting wine hard to resist.
More Information Metro Wines:
Metro Wines, located at 169 Charlotte Street, offers a wide selection of wines focusing on pairing just the right wine with any dish or event. Here you will find grape specific shelves as well as categories ranging “from $10 and under” to the “bucket list.” Proprietors John Kerr and Gina Trippi share the philosophy that wine is about friends, family and community. Both are always available to answer questions, offer suggestions, share stories and work with your caterer or event planner. Metro Wines is also home to the Semi Public Space for Contemporary Art presenting rotating exhibits from acclaimed artists across the country. At Metro Wines, you will always find great wine on the shelves and great art on the walls! Visit metrowinesasheville.com for our wine tasting events and wine blog.
More Information HomeSource Design Center:
One convenient location providing home improvement, new construction and remodeling products; kitchen and bath design; and all your construction and landscaping needs. Located at 409 Charlotte Street in Asheville, NC. Make 80% of finishing product selections including cabinets, countertops, flooring, decking, roofing and more.
Home Source Design Center Recipe
What are the secrets of making your wine taste like it did at the winery or event? If you use one or more of these simple tips, you’ll enjoy a wine that tastes as good as it did when you first tasted it.
In our first part, we talked about air time for younger red wines. Even with an aerator, it’s good to let these wines breath for a while to bring out their best. Make sure that you open them and pour a glass early enough before the meal so that it’s ready when you are.
Now, on to the half hour rule. The guide we always hear is that red wines are served at room temperature and white wines should be poured straight from the refrigerator. But as comedian Steven Wright said, room temperature is always the temperature that the room happens to be. So, is any temperature the right one for red wine?
Most red wines taste better at about 65 degrees. And to get to this temperature, pop your bottle into the refrigerator about ½ hour before you serve it. Really? We were skeptical too until a vintner put us to the test, serving his red from the frig as well as from a bottle sitting on the table. The ½ hour in the frig did not make the red wine taste chilled. Instead, it reduced the taste of the alcohol and made the wine's flavors really pop. Yes, this is one test that you can and should try at home.
White wines straight from the refrigerator are cold and refreshing, and we drink many of them that way. But if you really want to taste the flavors of the wine, it has to be a little warmer. So, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on your table for ½ hour. Your white wine will still have a chill to keep it refreshing, but you’ll get more of the nuanced flavors out of your wine. We often do this when we’ve pulled out that special bottle of white or rose.
Next time, we’ll cover the last bit on the temperature of the wine.
Why doesn’t my wine taste like it did at the winery – tasting – event?
Over the years, I’ve heard so many people lament that the wines they tasted at the winery or event never taste quite as good at home. Certainly part of it is being swept up in the fun of the event itself. But most of it is how your host presents the wines served. So, just what is it that the wineries do to make their wines taste their best? Can you easily replicate this at home? And the answer is…YES!
The three tricks of the trade are air time, the “half hour rule,” and the temperature of the wine. If you’re willing to spend a few extra minutes to do one or more of these, you’ll get the best out of your wine. Today, we’ll cover air time. Stay tuned for future blogs on the other two.
When wineries pour their wine, the bottles have been open for a considerable time, allowing them to air and open up to their full potential. You can do this too by opening your bottle before you start to cook, or even earlier in the day. Higher end French and Italian red wines tend to need more time to breath, and we’ll often open them at lunch or even while we’re drinking our breakfast coffee to ensure they taste their best at dinner. Young wines from the old world tend to benefit most from several hours of air. If your wine doesn’t taste right or balanced, it probably just needs more air.
New world red wines tend to need less air. So, if you’re buying a red after work for tonight’s dinner, consider buying one from Australia, South America, or our west coast. Most whites don’t need much air time. Probably ½ hour will do the trick.
Of course, air time can vary widely, so just ask us when you’re in the store if you have any doubts about your next purchase. Our next blog will talk about the “half hour rule.”
The Glory Days 2011 Zinfandel might be a stretch for a wine label with the merged historic photographs of baseball players and planes but it is no stretch to say that this wine drinks like a lot more than the $9.99 shelf price. We offered a tasting of Glory Days here at Metro Wines yesterday and customers agreed the wine was perfect for bar-b-que but was rich and smooth enough to enjoy by itself. Even confirmed white wines only customers were delighted. We agree. This wine is a wonderfully rich and a surprisingly complex wine for the price.
The wine has a dark, rich color and plenty of minerality, loads of bright and savory raspberry and black currant fruit with hints of pepper and crushed rocks. This wine pushes the envelope of sheer decadence with an expressive fragrance of briery berries, pepper and spice.
Could this be the best Sangiovese under $10?
It’s certainly the best Sangiovese we’ve tasted at this price point in years, exceeding the quality of many of the more expensive wines.
So why drink Sangiovese? It’s an open secret how easily it pairs with food. It’s versatile, with many different interpretations that open up numerous opportunities for pairings. We would place Sangiovese in our top five food-friendly wines – you simply need to add food to make it shine. Hey, how many wines do you know that go this well with tomato sauce, and just about anything else other than possibly Asian dishes? The acidity in these wines and their medium weight help make these Italian gems the chameleons of the wine world.
Many consider Sangiovese to be the Cabernet Sauvignon of Italy (with Nebbiolo the Pinot Noir) because it is sturdy wine with a complexity that people love. The more expensive ones, like the Brunello, age well and can hold their ground to a fine Bordeaux. But also like Cabernet Sauvignon, the flavors are so appealing that even a modestly priced Sangiovese can spark up a meal with its rich, juicy flavors. And our Coppaia Toscana is one of those wines – it’s so inexpensive, you can consider it part of the groceries needed to make your meal.
Our Coppaia Toscana has a nice ruby red color, with a fruity, rich and lingering nose of cherry and wild berry. It’s soft on the palate, and shows great structure and body.
It’s wonderfully soft, harmoniously balanced… and is a wonderful companion to many foods.
This weekend, Metro Wines has been pouring "Los Dos," a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. The wine maker says the soft, berry flavors of old-vine Grenache meet the depth and complexity of Syrah in this full and friendly wine from Campo de Borja in Northeastern Spain. Located between the Sierra de Moncayo mountain range and the Ebro River Valley, the historic region has produced wine since the late 12th century. The continental climate is mitigated by the "cierzo" wind that cools the vineyards nightly. With a fruit forward palate of cherries and blackberries, the 2011estate bottled Los Dos carries through to a refined, lengthy finish.
For $7.99, this wine overdelivers. After tasting this wine, Metro Wines customers have agreed and Los Dos is one of the biggest sellers this weekend. We are down to a case, so drop by the shop. This is the kind of wine to buy by the case, and another case, and another case.
"Whispering Angel," Cotes de Provence Rose 2012 is on the shelf priced at $21.95.
This lovely wine is a blend of grenache, rolle, syrah, cinsault and mouvedre grapes. Pale pink in color, with a fresh and fruity aroma, "Whispering Angel" is bone dry through the finish. Many in the wine appreciation world say that "Whispering Angel" is the benchmark for rose. Chateau d'Esclans is deep in the heart of Provence beautifully sitting about one half hour north of St. Tropez.
The winemaker says that the angels whisper in the Esclans Valley where this lovely wine is made.
Wine Spectator rated this one at 90. Tell us what you think.
Metro Wines and Curator Gary Byrd launch the first in a series of Art and Wine presentations blending art history with the history of wine. The first talk will focus on Caravaggio's painting, "Bacchus," circa 1595, Rome. We have all seen this painting with a young Bacchus offering a glass of wine to the viewer. Gary will discuss the artist, the subject and Metro Wines will add and offer what is probably in the glass! Join us Wednesday, May 29th from 6 to 8pm at Metro Wines.
Part Deux of Saturday Grand Opening.
Muriel of The Country Vintner will be pouring:
Pinot Grigio by Alois Layered - Produced from grapes grown in vineyards on slopes of the Alpine Dolomite foothills, abundant in the prized alluvial dolomite.
Bieler Pere and Fils Rose - Dry rose, Provence. Syrah (55%), 25% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cinsault. Cranberry color, rasberry nose, spicy minerality. Crisp on palate, medium body, underlying lavender, grass and herbs de Provence, no oak and a long finish.
Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Medoza, Argentina. Grapes hand picked oak barrel aged 8 months. Aroma of cherries, plums, vanilla, leather, tobacco, pepper and paprika. Full bodied, sweet tannins, balance, complexity, long finish. Santa Julia is part of a social welfare project, recycles winery water and has a wildlife preservation program.
Don't miss this opportunity to try 6 great wines!
Prepare for the Grand Opening this Saturday, April 27th from 5 to 7pm. 3 great wines each poured by Muriel from The Country Vintner and Mike of Freedom. Stand by for details. And 10% of proceeds on our big day to The Asheville Humane Society.http://www.ashevillehumane.org/