Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC

This blog is dedicated to learning Italian La Dolce Vita, that is, fashion, food and wine! We will focus on the words and phrases you need to get by in Italy. We will learn by translating facebook posts from some of our favorite winemakers including Gaetana Jacono Gola of Valle dell'Acate and Giampaolo Tabarrini, "Menu Italian" from Ristorante...

This blog is dedicated to learning Italian La Dolce Vita, that is, fashion, food and wine! We will focus on the words and phrases you need to get by in Italy. We will learn by translating facebook posts from some of our favorite winemakers including Gaetana Jacono Gola of Valle dell'Acate and Giampaolo Tabarrini, "Menu Italian" from Ristorante Trippi in Valtellina as well as text from the winery websites for some of the many Italian Wines on the shelves @MetroWines. Andiamo! (let's go!)


Stanley Tucci, Rome, Pasta

From The Ciao Asheville Recipe Department: Rita Lenderman, Director

If you watched the episode on Rome with Stanley Tucci of "Searching for Italy" on CNN, this is the recipe!

Rome, Italy - Travel Guide and Latest News | TravelPulse

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
For 3 to 4 people
12 ounces bronze cut spaghetti
1 cup grated young grated Pecorino Romano
Aged Pecorino Romano to garnish
Fresh cracked black pepper about 1/2 tsp or more depending on your taste
In a large pot add water but not a lot because we need the starch water for this recipe. Add salt and bring to a boil.
Add your spaghetti and gently fold them to submerge in water.
In a large sauté pan add black pepper and on low heat toast a bit. With a ladle add some of the pasta water to it.
Use some of the pasta water in the grated Pecorino cheese and stir to create a cream.
Once spaghetti is al dente with the help of tongs remove from water and add to sauté pan and start stirring. Add the creamed Pecorino and continue stirring. You’ll need to add the starch water to create a creamy coating.
Immediately serve with a grating of aged Pecorino and more black pepper.
It should be eaten immediately.
Buon appetito!
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Cardedu and Stanley Tucci

If you watched "Searching for Italy" with Stanley Tucci last Sunday,
you know that the big story was the zucchini and spaghetti dish.
RL, one of our Ciao Asheville Members, found the recipe:


Follow Ciao Asheville on Facebook for ALL Things Italian!

Your consider it ALL with Wine:

Image result for cardedu monica 2019
Praja’ is the Sardinian word for the Italian ‘spiaggia’ or ‘beach. 100% Monica.
A light red wine that takes well to a slight chilling down; it’s dry, moderate alcohol,
and earthy, with just a touch of fruit including cherries and strawberries. Organic.

Teaching Moment: Monica? Monica is a grape variety found exclusively on Sardinia,
off the west coast of Italy. Despite its relatively unknown status, it is one of the island's
most common varietals, and makes simple wines designed for everyday drinking.
Monica wines, like Cardedu, tend to be medium-bodied with gentle tannins 
and flavors of red berries and herbs, often with an earthy overtone. 

2 caes only. $19.99 (red tag)

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Giampaolo Tabarrini Live on Zoom from Montefalco

Image result for tabarrini wines
News Release: Monday, February 15th, 2021
About: Giampaolo Tabarrini Presents a Wine Tasting on Zoom
Let's just say it: THIS is big! 
MetroWines and Ciao Asheville host Giampaolo Tabarrini live on Zoom from Montefalco, Italy, on March 11th at 5:30. Giampaolo will lead us through a tasting of Montefalco Rosso "Boccatone" and Sagrantino di Montefalco "Colle Grimaldesco." And, as part of the event, Giampaolo will present a video of his winery!  We will also be joined by the importer, Mike Tiano, of Haw River Wine Man based in Burlington, North Carolina.
"If you have not met Giampaolo Tabarrini, he is a charming, gregarious and extraordinarily accomplished winemaker," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "And he is known for taking any occasion beyond the ordinary!"
The Tabarrini Winery:
For four generations, the Tabarrini family has been nestled in the corner of Umbria outside of Montefalco. They have passionately tended their vineyards, yielding exceptional fruit for producing distinctive wines.

In the late 1990’s, Giampaolo Tabarrini put years of experience to use and decided to bottle his own wine. Giampaolo now makes some of the most highly respected wines from Central Italy. He produces the top 3 wines in the region and is called “The Rising Star of Umbria.” Tabarrini is continually well rated for his single-vineyard Sagrantino’s by Gambero Rosso, The Wine Advocate, and most recently, Wine Spectator.

A great wine is born in the vineyard. Faithful to this maxim, the Tabarrini family pays careful attention to their “terroir,” the earth itself, the vines and their generous fruit: the grapes. Vineyards rich in charm and mature beauty. Even after the grapes have been picked, the Sagrantino leaves still color the countryside with their vibrant red.

"The winery is magical and the wine is truly special." says Gail Rampersaud, Director of Ciao Asheville who has been to Tabarrini in Montefalco. "You don't want to miss this opportunity to travel vicariously to Italy and meet Giampaolo!"

 took over the winery in the mid-1990s and has helped revolutionize Umbrian wine. With , his wife and partner in their shared passion for wine, they have made Tabarrini into the outstanding business it is today.  In the cellar, Giampaolo’s uncle  uses his unparalleled skills to diligently care for the wines, from bunch to bottle. In the vineyards you might meet , aka “Sgabellino.” He’s the fastest tractor driver in the Region. Giampaolo is also devotedly assisted by the company’s enological consultant . Likewise, , our agronomist consultant, intimately knows every inch of the property and helps supervise operations in the vineyards.  manages our faithful team of workers in the vineyards. And of course, we can’t forget  and , Giampaolo’s mother and father, who dispense experience, wisdom, and advice every day. Together, this is a loyal team, lucky enough to work with their passion every day! All of them are obsessed with quality, from vine to wine bottling when the literal fruits of their labor can be enjoyed by our customers at home or their favorite restaurants.

The Tabarrini Wines for Tasting: 

Montefalco Rosso Boccatone


This is not Sagrantino’s younger brother; it is a flavorful and age worthy wine in its own right, with great dignity and much potential. The fusion of traditional grapes, Sangiovese and Sagrantino - along with the precious input of Barbera, ensure this wine has the makings of a future Montefalco classic.

Colle Grimaldesco



This was Giampaolo’s first Sagrantino, which brought him early critical acclaim. The grapes come from a silt-rich and clay soil, well exposed to the southeast, guaranteeing perfectly ripened grapes and a powerful, deep and balanced wine that is refined in big oak casks. It is released no less than four years after harvest.
How to join Us:
The Zoom event is on the house. Logon to Zoom here:  
But if you want to taste along with Giampaolo, call MetroWines at (828) 575-9525 for purchase and pick-up of these great wines. After Event Discount: $64.52 for both bottles.
Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi

Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Italy at Home

Image result for sophia loren


Ciao a tutti!

Happy Valentine's Day to all our Ciao Asheville members!
Here are some additional movies, TV shows and other activities to get your Italian "fix"...
There are a number of Italian movies available and "The Last Paradiso" is one of the newest added. 
Prime Video
Detective De Luca - series with Italian with English subtitles.


"Roman Holiday" will be on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) at 8pm on Saturday, Feb 13:

CNN's new travel show "Searching for Italy" hosted by Stanley Tucci premiers at 9pm on Sunday, Feb 14:

Something Italian to do on Valentine's Day - pizza making class! 

Go to our Ciao Asheville Facebook page here:

Subscribe to the Metro Wines email list here:

Buona giornata!

Gail Rampersaud

Events Coordinator

Ciao Asheville

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Falanghina and Stanley Tucci


Spend Quality Time Traveling Italy Through Food
and Shopping for Your New Home Town!

Stanley Tucci in "Searching for Italy"
Premiers on CNN Sunday, February 14th at 10pm EST

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy is a six-part CNN Original Series following 
Stanley Tucci traveling Italy to discover the country’s regional cuisines.
Viewers join him as he enjoys the luxurious creamy carbonara of Rome,
the delicious simplicity of Sicily’s pasta alla Norma, the saffron-infused risotto in Milan,
the perfect classic ragu alla bolognese and the world’s best pizza in Naples.
Tucci comes prepared with a bottomless appetite for it all,
showing us how Italian cooking offers a gateway to Italy’s history and culture.
Stanley Tucci's Favorite Pasta Dishes

Convinced? Thinking About Moving to Small Town Italy?

Your Dream of The Italian Life Wine:

May be an image of text that says 'Taburno Falanghina del Sannio DENOMINAZIONEDI ORIGINE PROTETTA WHITE WINE CANTINA DEL TABURNO'
Winemaker Says: "Crisp and fruity, this is an absolutely delightful wine!
The falanghina grape can be tasted in perfect purity, with notes of almond blossom,
lemon, and fresh nectarine. Perfect for light meals, appetizers, and by the glass.
This is a wine that will appeal to everyone!"

About the Winery:

$18.99 at wine. com
*** $16.99 @MetroWines ***

Brett Says: "Super clean and elegant and SOOOOOO GOOD."

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84 Hits

Make Pizza and Nero di Troia

What better Way to Share Quality Time than to...


*** MAKE PIZZA ***

Learn to make the perfect New York slice in an online pizza-making class
from Scott's Pizza Tours, a New York based restaurant tour company.

Your Pizza Pounding and Pizza Partner Wine:
Barbanera 2017 Nero di Troia, Puglia

John says: "There are many good reds for pizza up and down the price scale.
But, you really don't have to bust the budget to make a perfect pairing."

Wine Barbanera Since 1938, Nero di Troia, Puglia IGT, 750 ml Barbanera  Since 1938, Nero di Troia, Puglia IGT – price, reviews
Rich ruby color with purple reflections. Bright aromas of mulberry, liquorice,
spices and light woody nuances. The wine has a generous, rich taste
with velvety tannins, notes of ripe berries, spices and a light balsamic aftertaste.
The label depicts the heraldic coat of arms, the stronghold of the brand.
It represents their fundamental values. The helmet, crowning the coat of arms,
speaks of the nobility of their wines; the hills with cypress roots at the base
of the emblem symbolize hardness, stability and wisdom. The stylized lilies around
a cypress mean power and sovereignty. The components around the emblem represent
the integrity and eternal life of the Barbanera Family.
All About the Grape:
John says: "This grape is hugely popular in Puglia and, over the past decade,
has made a successful debut around the world. Classic Puglia but easy drinking."

For $9.99, 
this is, in every way, a serious wine!

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Dishing on Pizza at The Smithsonian

The Real Dish on Pizza: Two Experts Spill the Ingredients

Evening Program

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Thom and James Elliot


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streamingseries.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.


Pizza is central to so many cultural touch points: from movies, to books, to television and even sports — it permeates them all. In the United States alone, we consume three billion pizzas a year — that’s more than nine pizzas for every single person who lives here.

Thom and James Elliot—brothers, authors, and self-proclaimed “pizza pilgrims”—have spent years researching the best pizza that the world has to offer—and producing their own in 16 restaurants in the United Kingdom. Join them as they celebrate National Pizza Day on February 9.

In conversation with Scott Wiener, pizza expert and founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours, they examine the wildly popular food’s myriad forms and document its cultural significance. They also trace all things pizza, from its history and family tree to world-famous pizzerias, and even explore pizza variants we love to hate (hamburger crust pizza anyone?).

The Elliots’ book Pizza: Recipes, Stories, History, Places, People, Love(Hardie Grant/Quadrille) is available for purchase.



  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
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Stanley Tucci, Italy, Gargenaga

From The Ciao Asheville Entertainment Desk
Follow Ciao Asheville here:

Stanley Tucci to Star in a New Culinary Documentary on CNN
Perfect Watch it With Wine and...

Virgiliovignato Gambellara Classico 2016
100% Gargenaga 13 ALC 13 

Vignato Gambellara Classico Capitel Vincenzi 2016 · Buy it for €10.90 at  Vinissimus
Fermentation and aging in stainless steel. Straw yellow color, golden reflections. Scents of apple, cedar, white melon and white acacia flowers. Rich and intense
on the palate, mineral and fresh with characteristic notes of flints.

Popular throughout Europe. Not widely distributed in country. 
Don't believe me? Confirm here:

*** Take a trip to Italy with Stanley Tucci ***

for $17.99 
(Make it really real with out pasta, red sauce and fig spread!)

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This is the wine you had in Italy

Paint Your Front Door
Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Facelift

This wine is the door to a new wine experience. Sure, like a dingy old brown door, because you don't know the name of the winery or the varietal, in this case, GRIGNOLINO, you walk by it. You are missing out.

Try it. Be the one who knows!

Grignolino d'Asti DOC

*** Washington Post Says ***
"Grignolino is the type of cheap wine you find in a roadside trattoria during your Italian vacation that makes you wonder, “Why can’t we get this at home?” Grignolino may not be considered a serious wine, but the folks at Da Capo take it seriously and bring us this delightful bottling that just might transport you back to that Italian sojourn, at least in memory. Bright red fruit flavors and a laser beam of stony minerality give this wine energy and clarity of flavor. Like a tuning fork on a perfect high C."

Vivino Says $21.99 
** MetroWines Says: $21 **

Need Another Reason to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone?
BBC says research establishes that embracing change betters your life!

Grignolino is a good place to start!

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When in Rome: Cesanese

When in Rome...
An epic, exquisitely photographed road trip through the Italian countryside, exploring the ancient traditions, master artisans, and over 80 storied recipes
that built the iconic cuisine of Rome.

The Wine? You might think Tuscany. Close but no sigaro!
Rome is actually in the Lazio Wine Region of Italy. Wine Folly says:
Even though Rome has a history of winemaking since before the Romans,
Lazio (or Latium, as it’s also called), has more recently been considered
the doldrums of wine. During the last century, the major grapes, including Trebbiano and Malvasia, were overcropped to produce boring, sweet white wines. 

That is, until recently! The region has been abuzz with investments and passions
of individuals devoted to quality and indigenous grapes such as Cesanese.
The volcanic soils definitely play into increased complexity of Lazio’s wines.

Wine Reviewers like Tre Bicchieri are noticing!

 Lazio Wines are not easy to find in country.
But we did! We found a Cesanese Blend
and we are the ONLY shop in Asheville!

and almost anywhere!
Castello di Torre in Pietra 2018 

Castello di Torre in Pietra - Location per Eventi e Matrimoni - Wedding  Venue in Italy | Castello di Torre in Pietra - Location per Eventi e  Matrimoni - Wedding Venue in Italy
Intense ruby red colour. The nose is fine and persistent, fruity, ripe red and spicy.
You can also recognize plum jam, cherries in alcohol, herbs and blond tobacco.
Soft on the palate at first turning full on, quite fresh, with silky tannins
and persistent finish with fruity-spicy notes. 

** Be the ONLY one! $19.99 **

(Personal Note: I love this wine! And not just because 
it is Italian. For the record, I object to those who contend
I am partial to Italian Wines!)

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"Baby" Brunello

*** Baby Brunello ***

Lettie Teague writes that retailers, for different reasons, often use the word "baby" before wines known to be costly such as Brunello, Barolo, Bordeaux or Sancere.

We do too sometimes. John calls Poggio Apricale a "Baby Brunello." Why?
"In this case, Apricale is made by the same winemaker who makes the Brunello
for the winery, the vineyard is adjacent to the grapes used for the Brunello
and the vines are from the same clones."

Azienda Agricola Martoccia di Brunelli Luca
Poggio Apricale. 85% Sangiovese Grosso, 10% Merlot and 5% Colorino.
The wine has a bright ruby red color and aromas to match. This fresh and young red wine is delicous now but will develop more complexity with a few years in the cellar. Brimming with notes of cherry, raspberry and black fruit, incorporating notes of smoky sage, terra cotta earthiness and soft, leathery tannins.

$19.99! Oh Baby!

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Leonardo, Pinocchio and Toscana Rosso

*** New Book ***



In this new interpretation, art historian Francesca Fiorani offers a different view.
Taking a new look at Leonardo’s celebrated but challenging notebooks, Fiorani argues that Leonardo learned advanced thinking about human vision when he apprenticed in Florence and used his understanding of optical science to develop his painting techniques. For Leonardo, the task of the painter was to paint the soul. Mastering science of light, shadow, and atmosphere was essential to doing so. He set down these ideas in a book—A Treatise on Painting—that he considered his greatest achievement, though it would be lost in subsequent centuries.

Or, if this is too heavy, a slightly lighter endeavor, if you can find it:

The latest cinematic rendering of Pinocchio is a Willy Wonka-esque version.
Rather than relying on Disney, this story is from the original 1883 novel by Carlo Collodi
and is much, much darker. Who knew? Roberto Benigni plays Geppetto.

Can't find the film. you can read the book!

Either Experience Calls for a Traditionally Made Tuscan!
2019 Paterna Il Rosso, Toscana IGT
75% Sangiovese and 25% Canaiolo

No photo description available.

A quintessential Tuscan quaffer with a price to quality ratio so rarely seen these days.
Achingly bright Sangiovese fruit blended with an alluring floral softness
thanks to co-fermentation with a small percentage of white grape varieties
- a practice once common in the region.


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Pompeii and Nicolini Malvasia

*** New Discovery ***

Pompeii Fast Food Counter 

Archaeologists excavate fast-food centres in Pompeii - it s viral -  Hindustan Times
Dinner in Pompeii:

The Wine? Pair Ancient to Ancient.
Nicolini Malvasia, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy

Most ampelographers believe that the Malvasia family of grapes are of ancient origin,
most likely originating in Crete, Greece. The name "Malvasia" probably comes
from Monemvasia, a medieval and early Renaissance Byzantine fortress on the coast
of Laconia, known in Italian as "Malvasia"; this port would have acted as a trading center
for wine produced in the eastern Peloponnese and perhaps in some of the Cyclades. 
During the Middle Ages the Venetians became so prolific in trading "Malvasia wine"
that merchant wine shops in Venice were known as malvasie!

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, sky, outdoor and nature
Giorgio & Rossana Nicolini and their son Eugenio Nicolini are the winemakers.
A blend of Malvasia, Borgogna Nera, Piccola Nera, Vitovska & Refosco
From the Importer:

It's an Andy Pick!
Andy says:
 This wine has weight making it a solid winter white but laced with good acidity.
Golden in the glass, the wine verges on orange. Spice, floral and apricot and bone dry.

Please note: Adorable dog not included!

Bottled Antiquity for Today: $24

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MetroWines Staff Picks 2020

*** Staff Picks for 2020 ***


A boy leaning on a rock, holding a wine glass in his hand, a greyhound to  the left by Jacob Esselens on artnet


** John's Pick **
Maestro 2016, South Africa $24

32% Roussanne, 23% Chardonnay, 23% Chenin Blanc, 15% Grenache Blanc,
and 7% Viognier. The nose shows notes of concentrated orange
and yellow stone fruits, with a hint of spice, citrus and blossoms.
The palate is full-bodied, textured and nuanced with a lingering finish.

"Not new to the shop but a consistently high quality and versatile wine.
The unique blend presents just enough crispness and texture resulting
in a familiar yet different and enticing palate."

** Gina's Pick **
VentiSei 2017, Italy $16.99

91 Points from James Suckling
Fresh raspberry notes, delicate underbrush hints and sweet spice aromas
will charm you. Serious wine drinkers will think Cru Beaujolais got their passport stamped in Italy while touring Montepulciano. Juiciness and mineral finish
will call for another glass straight away.

"Aside from the fact that this is just a great, easy drinking and pleasing wine,
it reminds me of the strawberry farm in Hammond Louisiana, owned by my father's immigrant family, where they occasionally made strawberry wine. This is no doubt
a much more complex and elegant version, but it still brings back memories
and sends me to my comfort zone. Wine can do that!"

** Zach's Pick **
Biortolone Frappato 2018, Sicily $16.99
Bortolone's 100% Frappato is from vines grown on sandy red soils at an altitude
of 260 meters. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel in order to preserve its prisitine fruit qualities. This Frappato is a pale, light ruby color with intense aromas of cherries, blueberries and raspberries with a subtle earthiness. The palate is light and fresh with moderate tannins and wonderful concentration of berry fruit flavors. Zach says: "Bortolone Frappato is an amazing value from a small family
that has been in Sicily since the 1800s. This organic Frappato over delivers.
Light to medium bodied, balanced fruit and acidity. Very versatile with food."

** Andy's Pick **
Chateau Musar Jeune 2018, Lebanon $19.99

Blend: Cinsault 50%, Syrah 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%
The 2018 Chateau Musar Jeune Red is a deep plum color with a violet rim.
Aromas of blueberries, dark red cherries with Mediterranean herbs,
tobacco and spice. A warm and fruity wine with medium tannins
and gentle acidity. Dense darkfruits –including blackcurrants, blueberries
as well as strawberries and pomegranate with a touch of Eastern spice. 
Andy says: "Musar is one of my favorite wineries in the world
and certainly the Middle East. Stylistically, it is halfway between
Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone with a generous dab of Napa Cab tossed in.
It's easy drinking enough on its own but also pairs well with food. 
The fact that it's under $20 makes it a treat that I can enjoy on a regular basis."

** Lou's Pick **
Shebang 13th Cuvee, California $14.99

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Blend: 55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre,
Alicante Bouchet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites
for aromatics much of which comes from old vines.

Lou says: The Whole Shebang! The most popular Red Blend at both our locations. And who doesn't love a good blend? This rich and full bodied beauty goes well with steak, grilled meats or just by itself. I'm Lou Collichio and I approve of this message!"

** Kristen's Pick **
Christian Etienne Brut Rose NV, France $46

From a small family grower. Their rosé is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay
from vines averaging 25 years old, and it bursts from the glass in bright,
fresh berry fruit and a resplendent color.

Kristen is our Wedding Coordinator and she is all about joy.
She says "This bottle is pink and bubbly like me, joyful and so, so good." 

*** Brett's Pick ***
2016 Clos Guirouilh Jurancon, $22
Clos Guirouilh Estate has been in the same family since the 16th century.
Jean Guirouilh is currently operates the estate. The climate is characterized by cooler temperatures, and the soil varies from clay-calcareous to grès.
The Jurancon Sec is made up of 85% Gros Manseng and 15% Courbu.
The vines are over 40 years old and are located at an average of 350 meters elevation on steep slopes. The nose of Jurancon Sec comes across as floral and sweet, but with a palate that is dry, flinty and bright. 

Brett says: This bottle is from a woman winemaker, the daughter
of the patriarch of the Jurancon region, Jean 
Guirouilh. Jurancon is just southwest
of Bordeaux. A Bordeaux Blanc with more of a cold climate mountainous core laced with an elegance throughout. Best bottle for classical old world French white.


Celebrate the End of 2020 with a case of staff picks!

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142 Hits

Vallana Wines

Reprinted from 50 Plus Living, December Issue

By Gina Trippi


Campi Raudii, Vallana | Astor Wines & Spirits

So here we are at the end of 2020. Finally. Most people seem to agree that this was a tough year. It’s time for it to go! Let’s usher out the old by bringing in the new.  Two wines from Vallana are a good place to start a new year and a new journey.


Antonio Vallana, the last of 11 children, had an immediate passion for the vineyard. His older brothers left home to find fortune abroad leaving, happily for us, Antonio to carry on his father’s work, family tradition and to expand the business.


In the early years, Antonio bottled grapes from each vineyard separately recognizing that each wine would have a different aging potential. Each hand blown bottle had a card tied to the neck with a string noting the vintage and the vineyard. Some of these bottles remain in the Vallana cellars!


With winemakers increasingly abandoning farming to work in the new factories, the demand for local wines grew and so did the Vallana’s business. In 1937 Antonio Vallana and his young son turned their small family business into a company, ”Antonio Vallana e Figlio”  (Vallana and Son.)  


And that brings us to today. While the Vallana winemaking method is old, the grapes are probably new to you. The best of all possible worlds!


First up is Erbaluce. This is a rarely encountered varietal, documented as far back as 1606, from Piedmont, Italy. Erbaluce is used to make dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Vallana Erbaluce is organic, dry, crisp and zesty.  A clear, pale lemon yellow in the glass, you will find characteristic aromas of apple and melon. The medium body contributes to a smooth palate expressing the aromas of apple and melon and adding just a taste of starfruit. Pair this wine with lighter dishes. 


Next is a red from Vallana. Spanna is the most traditional Nebbiolo based wine in Northern Piedmont.  Nebbiolo, like Pinot Noir, is a very soil specific grape meaning it reflects the soil from the vineyard where it was grown. Spanna is one version, one location, of Nebbiolo that is usually lighter and more earthy. And rather than the bottle being 100% Nebbiolo, producers in Spanna are allowed to blend in s small percentage of other varietals including Bonarda, Croatina and Vespolina.


All grapes are monitored during each ripening stage to ensure the best quality and to set the best harvest date, usually in the first half of October. Vallana Spanna is then vinified in cement tanks to obtain a wine suitable for aging. The wine is released after two years of maturation. Ruby red in color, the wine presents deep aromas of spices and red fruit. Spanna is gentle and persistent on the palate with flavors of dried fruit and red and black fruits.


Robert Parker described Vallana wines as “intense traditionally made wines that ooze with character.” We think you will agree.  And we think Vallana wines will make good partners for moving forward into 2021!

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Nick Demos and Kermit Lynch

Bio — Ampéli Wine Consulting


Nick Demos is an Advanced Sommelier and the Brand Manager around these parts for Kermit Lynch. But, mostly, Nick is known for being an all around nice guy. As one restaurant manager I know said: "He does not make you feel totally inadequate while you are learning about wine."  Nick tasted and talked four wines on Zoom on December 17th  hosted by Tryon Distribution and MetroWines in Asheville.

 What Are You Drinking, Kermit Lynch? | Serious Eats
Representing Kermit Lynch is a big deal because Kermit Lynch is a big deal. Although Kermit himself is a domestic product, San Luis Obispo to be exact, his name is synonymous with French and Italian wines. A writer and musician by trade, Kermit started his retail wine business in the early 1970s in Berkeley with $5,000 and 35 boxes. He went deeper into the biz becoming a distributor and importer with a focus on "authentic wines that express their terroir."  So, this revolution in the glass is all going on at the same time Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is revolutionizing what's on our plates.
Winner of two James Beard awards and knighted by the French government with their prestigious "Legion d"Honneur," Kermit is also the author of three books: Adventures on the Wine Route (1988), Inspiring Thirst (2004), and the 25th Anniversary Edition: Adventures on the Wine Route (2013). These days, partially retired, Kermit splits his time between Berkeley and Provence. "He is spending increasingly more time in Bandol," Nick says.  
Bandol is home to Domaine Tempier.  When Lucie “Lulu” Tempier married Lucien Peyraud in 1936, her father gave them Domaine Tempier, an active farm that had been in the family since 1834, near Le Plan du Castellet, just outside the Mediterranean seaport village of Bandol. Kermit says: "Of all of the domaines we represent, no other serves more as our cornerstone, stands more in the defense of terroir, and is more intricately interwoven with our own history, than that of the iconic Peyraud family of Domaine Tempier."
If you have read the MetroWines blog "Unfiltered" or our Newsletter, "The Public Palate: Putting Wine in Its Place," you know that I don't actually write about wine, I write around it. So while Nick is speaking wine in a very informative and poetic way, all I can think of is whether he met Kermit! I have to ask. Nick says "no, but almost," and he almost met Lulu.
At 102, Lulu is still considered, Nick says, "the mother of Provencal cooking." And, Nick told us, that the famed Alice Waters, "lived with Lulu to learn her cooking." When Nick was at Domaine Tempier, Lulu was taking an afternoon nap. Nick was asked if he would like the family to wake her. Tough call. (He did not say it but I bet that Jeopardy music was going through his head.) Nick knows this is probably his last chance to meet this living legend, but, as he says, he did not want to be remembered as the "American who woke Lulu up." Good call. See, I told you he was a nice guy.
Anyway, lets get on to the tasting. You can read the details of the wine on the Kermit Lynch website. What I really wanted to know was the cool stuff like the Lulu thing. So, here we go...
The first wine Nick presented was Quenard Les Abymes Jacquere from Savoie France. ( Nick says that the vines are grown on steep hills. I mean really steep. Downhill erosion, Nick says, is a "big factor." So big that "after the harvest, workers must bring the soil back up the hill."  (now that's cool) Regarding the wine, what Nick appreciates most is "the spectrum of minerality." (Is that a great wine line or what?)
Next up was Chateau La Grave Cahors Malbec, Southwest France. ( Now I am telling you that I don't know where this came from but Nick started telling us how "the Greeks were the first culture to drink wine socially." Nick is of Greek descent. This prompted me, circling around the wine, to ask him, as wine is an intrinsic part of his DNA, if he agreed with Elisabetta Fagiuoli of Montenedoli (we met her on Zoom last week), that you can't trust people who do not drink wine. Nick said that was the easiest question that he had ever answered, "yes!"
The more studious among us asked Nick about the difference between French Malbec and Argentine versions of the varietal. Nick said that France is cooler than Argentina so the wines display more salinity, minerality and earthiness. Nick prefers the French.
Now, we move to Italy and the members of Ciao Asheville, the Italian Cultural Forum in town, who are on the Zoom are moving closer to the screen. First up is Il Palazzotto Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba. ( Here we learned one of three new Italian words: sori. This is a term reserved for historical vineyards. And this sori made wine (can you say that?) "is what the Piemontese drink," says Nick. He clearly LOVES this wine. I think he stomped his foot when he said: "If you don't like this wine, you don't like Dolcetto!"
But this is truly serious business. This higher altitude vineyard just north of Barolo (OMG say the magic word)"is one of the most, if not THE most perfect places on earth for Dolcetto." Nick has a lot of it in his cellar. Judging from the sales the day after the Zoom, a lot of Asheville basements, including mine, will be lined with this Dolcetto. Perfetta!
Barbaresco is up next and our second new Italian word: neve. Nick says this means as "good as it gets." Much like the French Pinot Noir grape, the Nebbiolo grape that makes Barbaresco, is "thin skinned and finicky," Nick says. Nebbiolo is from the Italian word (number three!) nebbia, meaning fog. The Ciao Asheville Zoomers are feeling a little smug now. We knew that!
Because of the similar viticultural challenges in Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, the Italians sent winemakers to France to learn the techniques of growing this scamp of a grape.
Now Nick is coming into my world, "wines don't know political boundaries." This brought on the dilemma of big barrels that impart no oak and small barrels that make wine that needs to age. The Italians have resolved this problem by using 80% big barrels and 20% barrique. Now, Nick says, "they can produce traditionally made Barbaresco that can be served now."
We all thanked Nick for walking us through the Kermit Lynch wines. But I can't help thinking, say what you will about me! that I might have nudged Lulu and blamed it on the wind: "Le Mistral! Comment pourrais-je savoir."  Nick is such a nice guy.
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Bocelli and Vallana

Ciao Asheville Gift Pairing Suggestion

"Believe" by Andrea Bocelli 


Andrea Bocelli - Believe - Music

Vallana Campi Raudii | Vivino

Campi Raudii (Latin for red fields) is the name of one of the most important battles
in Roman history which took place near the estate’s current foundation.
Best after some time decanting, Old school Nebbiolo. Campi Raudi presents a nose
of dried cranberry, strawberry, cherry, rose hips and just a touch of tar.
After tannins open up, the palate is a silky texture with good structure and flavors
of raspberry, prune, spicy red licorice, balsamic, roses and leather.

“Intense traditionally-made wines that ooze with character.”
—Robert Parker 

 At 13% ALC, you can hear the entire CD - awake!


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Barbera del Monferrato


Keep the Conversation Going

The Kangaroo Court of Master Sommeliers
just won't cry "uncle" on lurid charges of discrimination.

Do you have E-Charisma? Tips on improvement.
  (In other words, the "kavorka")
The futures here. It won't be long before you can smell the coffee! (literally)
The Battle over Carbohydrates Rages
Should Americans get half their calories from carbs? As the U.S. government
revises its dietary guide lines, battle lines are being drawn.
from-carbs-two-camps-battle-it-out-11606150740 (One word: PASTA!)

Asheville chosen #7 of 10 Top Places to Retire by (Now what?)
And a Chinese Robot has Landed on the moon.

Your Discuss it Civally Wine
2018 La Casaccia Giuanìn Barbera Monferrato
Organic. Extraordinary.

La Casaccia Giuanìn Barbera del Monferrato | Vivino
$16.99 at Vivino (I would say thanks for the bottle shot but I am starting to feel guilty)
Websites with hundreds of bottle shots, at least one employee to manage
the site, box packaging and shipping is expensive. Shop your local merchant and save.

$14.99 @MetroWines. 
Always a "SOMM in The House" to answer questions!

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108 Hits

Barber of Seville - Virtually

Join Us Virtually
Italian Opera Series: The Barber of Seville 

Italian opera composer Gioacchino Rossini wrote 39 operas before retiring at the young age of 37. He was groundbreaking for his time in the world of both opera seria and opera buffa (comedic opera), but perhaps his most famous opera is the opera buffa Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The work is a prequel to Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, and both works are drawn from a three-part trilogy by the playwright Beaumarchais, several of whose plays were banned for their revolutionary nature and the power afforded to the lower classes. Learn about the history, structure, and prominence in modern culture of Rossini's exciting, innovative and fun opera! 

Instructors Ashley Galvani Bell (Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera) and Anton Armendariz Diaz (Rioja Forum, Principal de Castellón, Festival de Cine de Barcelona) come from a background of operatic performance and directing, and their passion is likely to ignite yours.  
Registration fee: $25 per class

Italian Opera Series Classes:
December 9: Barber of Seville by Rossini
December 16: Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti 
January 6: La Traviata by Verdi 
January 13: La Bohème by Puccini


Can't make the session? A link to the recording will be provided and accessible to you for 24 hours after the session. 

Questions? Email:

Missed a virtual event?  Check out all NIAF Virtual Events

Amb. Peter F. Secchia Building
1860 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

© 2020 National Italian American Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Fellini and Montenidoli


The iconic style of Marcello Mastroianni – Les Belles Heures
Cioa Asheville Suggests you Review
Fellini Films that celebrate the humor and compassion that make his work unforgettable.
(There is more to his work than Marcello Mastroianni!)

Your Watch it With Wine
2017 Chianti Colli Senisi

Dry Red Wine by Elisabetta Fagiuoli, Montenidoli
San Gimignano, Italy 13.5 ALC at bottling $21

Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi
Blend: 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo.
Vivid ruby red color, slight purplish hues.
The bouquet on the nose is fruity with hints of wild black cherry,
cherry and a delicate balsamic and herbal finish.
On the palate it is soft yet direct with excellent persistence.
This wine is best served with first course dishes or enjoyed solo.

Brett says: Let energy blow off for about 20 minutes.
Dollar more at Vivino but, as always, thanks for the bottle shot!

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