On the NYT List of 52 Places to Visit in 2020!
Slovenia is arguably the world's most environmentally conscious nation.
In 2016, it's chief city, Ljubljana, was named European Green Capital
and in 2017, Slovenia became the first country to be certified as a "green destination."
I know you want to go right now, today!
But you probably can't drop everything and head for Ljubljana.
Plan B. Travel vicariously. Try a Slovenian Wine!
Rodica Istra 2015 Malvazija, a dry white presenting
lemon, honey and peach.
I asked Brett Watson, Asheville School of Wine,
if my Plan B had legs? And he said:
"If you've read the NYT 2020 list and are packing your bags,
AND have a penchant for incredible, under-valued, historic wine, look to Slovenia.
Look more importantly at the wines of the 100% organically produced Rodica.
Hanging off into the Slovenian Adriatic Sea in an epic grape growing area
known as Istria, lies the vineyards of Rodica. The 100% pure and ancestral grape
of Malvazija (Malvasia) ripens at high altitudes overlooking the sea and is entirely
dry-farmed. One of the most nuanced white wines in the shop, Rodica will surprise
you with its wild-flower elegance. Put it next to a Tupperware of truffle pasta you had leftover from last nights Istrian dinner. $21 buys your a piece of Slovenian purity."
Books about Slovenia, travel to Slovenia
and travel journeys for when you go for real here:
Metro Wines Blogs
*** FLAT OUT BIG RED of THE WEEK ***
This sexy and approachable wine leads with aromas of boysenberry
and blackberry. It greets the palate with lush notes of dark fruit
and a smooth hint of chocolate. The finish lingers on your tongue
and the taste is heightened with just a touch of spice.
John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine says
"Entycement is a big and rich red but remains elegant."
Originally released at $34
$31 Average online
and $19.99 @MetroWines
*** Pre-Tariff French White of the Week ***
2018 Domaine Adele Rouze QUINCY $19.99
A Charles Neal Selection
Quincy is characterised by its freshness and notes of ripe citrus, grapefruit,
white flowers and freshly-cut herbs. On the palate, this medium-bodied wine shows flavors
of grapefruit and lime, with a touch of citrus pith and a crisp, mineralled finish.
The Winemaker Adèle Rouze
Farming and winemaking is in Adèle's blood. Her father, Jacques, is a respected vigneron
in Quincy & Reuilly, while her brother, Côme, is a well-known oenologist.
Adèle is a certified agricultural appraiser, and after completing her wine studies
in Bordeaux, she returned to Quincy in 2003 to launch her eponymous domaine.
Her vineyard holdings are only 5 hectares, but many parcels consist of old vines,
some of which were planted in 1920, 1930, and still others in the 1950's.
She farms with minimal spraying, using only natural products to work the siliceous,
gravel and clay soils. Domaine Adèle Rouzé is the quintessential familial estate;
the type we are delighted to support @MetroWines.
I asked Brett Watson of The Asheville School of Wine
what a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc is all about? And he said:
"Extremely small wine producer and local female winemaking legend Adele Rouze
farms 80+ year old vines in Loire Valley's Sancerre neighbor of Quincy. Farming everything
by hand in a traditional organic, true to the land style, Rouze showcases the stone and granite soils of Quincy, Frances 2nd AOC in 1936, to absolute perfection. Think crystal clean Sancerre'ish Sauvignon Blanc at a heavy discount with a touch more visceral
and ripe stone fruit-like texture. An absolute steal of a deal at $19.99 here @MetroWines
will make your friends like white wine again in the winter."
*** BIG WHITE of THE WEEK ***
2016 Bouchaine Chardonnay, Napa Valley, Carneros
Aged in select French oak, this wine is a barrel selection of Chardonnay
from the Estate. Aromas of baked golden apples, Asian pears, honeycomb,
and hazelnuts greet the senses. The rich, mouth-coating texture lingers,
while notes of butterscotch, nutmeg and vanilla grace the finish.
This bottle is essentially French White Burgundy with a touch of California
expressed in light tropical fruit. Rockstar Winemakers! Paul Hobbs consulting. $21
Neil deGrasse Tyson was generous enough with his time to answer my question about biodynamic wine. The Astrophysicist said, in essence, that the concept of the wine being better because of the stars and the moon is (paraphrasing) not a fact. Sadly our Astrophysicist Department @MetroWines is on a space sabbatical but we @MetroWines who were left behind think, you might nevertheless find, as do we, that biodynamic wines have a better and more solid taste. Biodynamic wines undergo no processing. The grape is the grape. Every vintage is unique. Open and fervent invitation to Neil deGrasse Tyson to join us @MetroWines and let's talk wine. Anytime. AnyWine. @Neil deGrasse Tyson
More on Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Wine:
Wine Auctions? Online Bidding?
Lettie Teague Tells All in Wall Street Journal
Bottom Line: Easy to become caught up in the frenzy!
But what sounds like a deal is not always a deal.
Call us @MetroWines and let us search and confirm for you.
***And Thinking of Stocking a Wine Cellar **
We Got This TOO!
Call John or Brett @MetroWines: (828) 575-9525
From The MetroWines Book Review Department
Flowers When You're Dead is a memoir covering the author's first 18 years.
Included are much-loved Italian recipes from his relatives. The memoir also takes
an historical look at two topics currently in the news: immigration and ancestry.
Daniel Delfucho renders a touching and revealing history of his family.
Daniel Delfucho is an Italian-American raised and educated on the East Coast.
Born 19th century, all four of his grandparents emigrated to U.S. from Italy.
His mother was one of ten children and his father one of eight children.
When his parents married, their families merged around holidays,
relationships, celebrations, and food.
BYOB Policies Changing
Wall Street Journal reports that restaurants,
in any effort to bring in more business,
are easing their BYOB policies. Know the BYOB rules.
And shop your BYObottle @MetroWines!
More on BYOB in this article.
Although the focus is Thanksgiving, the rules apply to any situation.
Gina Trippi of The Asheville School of Wine, for The Laurel of Asheville
Flying Cars? Hundai and Uber are working on it.
Oh baby, we've seen this before!
Stop the World. This is just too much.
Hold onto your sanity and your ground bound car
with a solid, standard operating Cabernet Sauvignon:
2017 Tradition & Red Wine
$39.99 online (what planet are they on?)
** $29 @MetroWines ** (with free parking on earth)
John Malkovich and Wine. Who Knew?
Malkovich said he had little interest in and no knowledge of wine
until the night he tasted a bottle by Winemaker Michel Chapoutier.
Since Malkovich discovered Chapoutier,
the winemaker has become an international wine making sensation
and Malkovich has become The Pope - at least on HBO:
2017 Tournon Victoria Shiraz by Chapoutier
"Mathilda" named for his daughter.
It could be a life altering experience!
The 2017 Mathilda Shiraz is dark and earthy, with hints of roasted meat,
black olive and asphalt on the nose. Yet on the palate, there's a New World
sense of blueberry and blackberry fruit that's ripe without being
sweet yet dry and savory on the softly dusty finish. $16.99
or Call (828) 575-9525
*** And THIS Just IN ***
Sam Etheridge, the Chef and Owner of Ambrozia,
a restaurant that turned the culinary scene
in Asheville toward the future,
will pick the winner. The pressure is ON!
Big RED of The Week, $19.99
A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carmenere, 25% Merlot,
8% Petite Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. The base is Cabernet Sauvignon,
which provides structure, while Merlot delivers red fruit and vitality in mouth.
Carménère adds weight and softness, as well as spices that combine beautifully
with Petit Verdot’s smooth finish. Cabernet Franc brings elegance and persistence.
94 Points from James Suckling
A generous and rich red with round and chewy tannins. So much lovely ripe fruit
with currant and hints of walnut. Full and beautiful. Gorgeous wine. Drink or hold.
90 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I found nice integration and balance in the 2015 Primus The Blend.
Matured in French barrique for 18 months. The oak is nicely folded into the fruit,
and the aromas and flavors are focused.
It has fine-grained tannins, good freshness and overall balance.
News Release: Monday, January 13th, 2020
News Release: Sunday, January 12th, 2020
News Release: Saturday, January 11th 2020
News Release: Saturday, January 11th, 2020
Sensory Analysis: How to Talk About Wine Like a Pro on April 9th, 5:30-6:30, $25
Sensory analysis – describing wine
Basic wine varietals
Faults/returning a bottle
Interacting with your Sommelier
Call (828) 575-9525
Restaurant Wine Service Skills for the Home, April 16th, 5:30-6:30, $25
Opening a bottle of wine/champagne
Wine glass shapes
Food and wine pairing in brief
Call (828) 575-9525
The classes can stand alone but taking both exponentially increases your wine knowledge and lexicon.
There is a wrong way to get to Corzano e Paterno, and I took it. When I told Aljoscha Goldschmidt about my GPS misadventure he said, “That isn’t even a road for cars.” It was not. I spun through a riverbed of gallestro stones past alarmed German tourists and fishtailed up a nearly vertical hill track mostly travelled by mountain and motor bikes. I arrived at Paterno and met Aljoscha’s kind aunt, who broke the news that the winery had consolidated to the Corzano side of the valley a couple years ago. She resided on the side with the sheep.
When Aljoscha’s uncle Wendelin Gelpke retired from architecture and moved to Tuscany in 1972, he wanted to create a real farm, with animals, grapes, olives, grains: the possibility of a self-sustaining system. He bought Paterno from the Marchesi Niccolini in 1975. They acquired sheep “because cows are too big” and began making cheese. Today they sell a small range of really impressive and diverse cheeses. My favorite is Buccia di Rospo. It began as a mistake in the dairy: now the name is registered, because of imitators making fraudulent versions of their discovery. Today the family keeps 700 milk sheep (and several sheep dogs) at Paterno.
Corzano was added later. The hill faces Paterno across a narrow valley to the southwest of Florence. From Gelpke’s initial 5 ½ hectares the combined property has grown to 17 hectares. Three thousand olive trees take up much of the land, along with hay and cereals to feed the sheep. Forty years ago a fire destroyed some of the estate’s hillside olive groves. The family replanted these excellent south-facing slopes with vines.
Corzano e Paterno practice organic agriculture but are not certified as such. They produce 75,000 bottles of wine annually. They do a double green harvest: a rough one in July, then a finer adjustment later in the season once they have a better sense of the overall character of the weather for the season. “Fifteen years ago the grower with the most courage, the one who picked latest, that person made the best wine.” Goldschmidt said. “But that has changed. The climate has changed. It is now possible to end up with seriously overripe wines.”
At Corzano e Paterno the grapes are hand-harvested and triaged twice on vibrating sorting tables to remove all unhealthy fruit and detritus of harvesting. They sometimes use natural yeasts for fermentation, sometimes a mix of cultured and natural. “The (added) yeasts that begin the fermentation are never the ones that finish it. Yeast from the fields and the cellar always do that. The aromatic profile therefore stays close to the same.”
Corzano e Paterno makes many small experimental batches of wine to test this and other theories. Like what type of closure is best for the ageing of a wine, or if vineyard management strategies affect overall alcohol content. “It’s hard to affect it much.” Goldschmidt stated. “Sugar ripeness is the issue (and that is related to heat). All regions now have the same problem.” He thinks maybe planting some vineyards with different sun exposures may be an option in the future. Sites previous generations would have thought to be too cool or shady.
Corzano e Paterno is a perfect place. All the products show love from two generations of a family working a beautiful land.
When Tilio Gelpke was eight years old he was taken out of school, and a lifetime of working with sheep began. Tilio’s father, a Swiss architect, bought Corzano e Paterno in the late 1960’s. He imported 50 sheep from Sardinia, to clear the land of bushes. Tilio says goats would have been better. Sheep prefer grass, goats like larger vegetation. “Together they make a good team.” Tilio started learning from a Sardinian family that relocated to Tuscany with the initial animals.
We are talking in the middle of a milking parlor. It is loud, aromatic, and a fine balance of order and chaos, similar to watching people get onto a subway train, or file into seats at a large theater. There is bustle followed by placid moments of chewing and the methodical attachment of pumps. The sheep file in and jostle for favorite positions: they don’t like wet spots on the floor. I feel the same way. When an animal with four legs slips, limbs go in all directions its head ends up smacking the concrete. A free two-day-old lamb wanders through the milking in progress, then down to us in the center of the room. It’s amazing how alert and active this little creature is in comparison to barely awake human newborns. They register a similar level of cuteness, in my opinion.
Tilio attaches pumps and checks microchips in the first stomach (sheep have two) with a handheld device to verify identities and record production levels. Today he is the angel of death. Animals that are very old (generally over 12 years,) have malformed teats, or simply do not produce average levels of milk, are marked with a dark green stripe. It is the stripe of imminent slaughter.
“If an old animal dies on the farm I have to pay 50 euros to dispose of it,” he says. “If I only get 10 euros from the butcher… I hate it, I hate dealing with them, I’d rather make illegal sausage on the farm, but the regulations make us do stupid things. People can buy a pig and slaughter it at their property to make sausage, but I cannot do the same with my old animals (without violating EU codes.)
“Fifty years ago there was so much concentration of productive food: it was a garden.” Tilio says everything was grown here, not just olives and grapes. People had to maximize the potential of the land. “Each stone you see, someone has turned it a few times. How far do I have to go back to find an era like this? Probably before the Etruscans.” Across more recent millennia the land had to be more intensively farmed, to support the population density of Tuscany. Tilio says that until the last century 20 people would live on the production of 10 hectares of land, while giving 50% of the harvest to their aristocratic masters. “It was slavery,” he says. But it made people wring every ounce of productivity from their territory. Vines were trellised along fruit tress, and vegetables co-planted between the vines, and anywhere else that wasn’t too rocky or steep.
“Romans had a dependency on grain. Florence could not have had the Renaissance without a greater concentration of crops.”
It is initially unsettling to have a long conversation about the wastefulness of modern Tuscan agriculture surrounded by dairy sheep and pasture land, in a region whose most striking visual characteristics is abundant and often scrupulously cultivated olive groves and vineyards. But Tilio’s point is we must take a longer perspective. “In the 1950’s someone with 50 sheep would have a wealthy family.” His family have 650. His neighbors have productive land planted with olive trees that they do not use anymore, because the labor is too expensive, even to produce valuable Tuscan oil. The way they farm does not support them.
Tilio casts his life as the story of a struggle to regain some productivity for the farm. He built the first stable in 1986. “Corzano e Paterno still has animals because I am stubborn. At first I was also the only salesman for the cheese. The stress and reality of what we were doing first came when they (his cousin Aljoscha Goldschmidt and his partner Toni) had a ton of cheese.”
“My cousin said we must throw it all to the pigs. I threw none away.”
Tilio learned quickly that his market for their farmstead cheese was not the grocery store. “Fresh cheeses lose weight. Retailers don’t like it, which is why they prefer industrial cheese.” Restaurants in Florence were a much better market, able to sell a selection of diverse pecorinos. The dairy thrived, and today they can barely keep up with demand.
Tilio says the he mainly takes issue with the emergence of industrial cheese that tries to look like artisanal cheese. The ubiquity of these products in Italy sounds similar to what you find on a casual grocery store tour in America.
“Cheese makers have no secrets. It’s something we have been making for 10,000 years.” A mistake created their first “signature” cheese, Buccia di Rospo. Instead of tall round pecorinos the cheese came out as squat bloomy disks. The expression Buccia di Rospo was used by Aljoscha to say the cheese was rotting: literally “It’s toading off.”
Tilio also implicates man as the root of problems interacting with the greater environment. Locals complain of the reappearance of the occasional wolf. “We have (problems with) wild animals because agriculture has changed. Wolves follow the wild boar, deer. When I started (working life at Corzano) we had pheasants. Those were the large animals you would see. Now we have wild boar as big as a pig. When you see them on a motorbike I say ‘please, you first.’”
Hunters imported larger boar from central Europe. They thrive in the food-rich fields of Chianti, growing fat on the Sangiovese grapes from vines they vandalize. “When I was a child they were hill animals, small, to get between rows. The Hungarian ones give birth twice a year.” And now they become overabundant.
Tilio has lived through boom and bust years in Chianti. “It’s an Italian disease. When something is working well they can spoil it in a very short time.” I hear this kind of shockingly deprecating language from many farmers working in Italy. “1973 was a terrible vintage and they sold it like it was a normal wine, and killed the market. Then it took many years and someone with money, it was Antinori but it could have been anyone, to fix it again.”
He then gets positive “We learn so much out of growing food.” We are outside, sharing stories of trips to Morocco, cheese making friends in New Jersey, minutae of farm life. A sheep dog wanders between us. “He thinks of himself as equal to us, a peer.” Tilio says, indicating the dog. “I call him but he will not come. But he has a job to do.” I realize I’ve been here a long time, and it’s still not 8am. Time to depart. My work day is starting.
His sister Arianna makes the wine. The way she speaks about it “I am still learning from Joshi,” you’d think it was her first year. She’s been in the cellar since 2004. She was born on the farm, it was her father’s, and her mother still lives at Paterno, close to Arianna and her brother. https://www.
News Release: Friday, January 10th, 2020