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!)


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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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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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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Wines of Kermit Lynch with Nick Demos


Thursday, December 17th at 5:30 on Zoom

Nick Demos takes us through 4 European Wines, two French and two Italian,

from Kermit Lynch Imports, all perfect for the holidays.

The Zoom is "on the house." This is a unique oppotunity to hear from and ask questions of an expert.

Logon HERE!

If you want to taste along with Nick, (and you really should!)

MetroWines will have all 4 wines packaged up for purchase.


Quenard Les Abymes Jacquere - Savoie, France  
Chateau La Grave Cahors Malbec - Sud-Ouest, France 
Il Palazzotto Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba - Piemonte, Italy 

Cantine Elvio Tintero Barbaresco - Piemonte, Italy 

All in $74 +tax  Please call (828) 575-9525.

Bio — Ampéli Wine Consulting


Nick Demos, native of Western North Carolina, has been immersed in wine culture since an early age. His grandfather opened the very first wine shop in downtown Asheville, NC just after prohibition.

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Nick became the general manager of a family owned wine shop in 2006. After two years in retail, Nick made the move to the wholesale side of the trade, where he has remained. Nick is presently serving as a Wine Specialist, Educator and Portfolio Manager for Tryon Distributing in North Carolina.

In July of 2016, Mr Demos passed the ever challenging Advanced Sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is currently pursuing his studies as a candidate for the Master Sommelier diploma. Nick has also earned the designation of Certified Wine Educator. This is the highest honor awarded by the Society of Wine Educators.

Nick has a natural inclination for hospitality, as well as food and wine pairings. Most of all, Nick truly enjoys sharing the knowledge and passion he has found through his experience, travel and accomplishments in the wine trade. Nick believes wine is a classic enjoyment, an art form of place and one of the world's oldest explorations.

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Legend of La Befana

National Organization of Italian American Women
Connecticut Region presents
NOIAW's Connecticut Region invites you and your entire household to "La Befana Takes America," a virtual family-friendly holiday celebration of Italian folklore, the power of empathy, and everyday magic too! La Befana & Friends will share the story of La Befana's ancient origins in Italy to her present-day search for the Holy Child. Join us for this journey and be inspired by La Befana's stories of how small acts made in the spirit of crazy love can make a difference! Not only will we meet the mystical La Befana but also co-creators Kate West, multimedia storyteller and author of La Befana and the Star, and Dina Gregory, a former educator turned writer and puppeteer!Kate will share with us more about La Befana & Friends' mission to transform the world one magical encounter (and cookie!) at a time, as well as her and Dina's inspiration for sharing this story.  
La Befana will also join Kate and Dina for a lively Q&A discussion; wherein audience participation is highly encouraged!
Monday, December 21st @ 5:00 PM (EST)
Registration Fee: $10
If you have any questions, please send us an email at
National Organization of Italian American Women | 25 West 43rd Street, Suite 1010, New York, NY 10036
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Italian Holiday Traditions

Join Us Virtually
Buon Natale:
Unexpected Stories Behind Holiday Traditions

Get in the holiday spirit with Carla Gambescia, author of La Dolce Vita University, to discover the surprising stories behind some of our most cherished holiday traditions. Carla's presentation will explore how both the pagan and Christian traditions magically coalesced into the Christmas holiday traditions we celebrate today, as well as a few less familiar uniquely Italian customs around the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany and wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve! 

Intrigued? Join us and let's celebrate Natale and Capodanno together. Following Carla's, presentation there will be a brief Q&A session. Registration fee: $25


Carla Gambescia is the author of La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z, Silver Prize winner of "Best Travel Book of the Year" awarded by the North American Travel Journalists Association. A regular lecturer on topics of Italian cultural interest, Carla has written about and toured every region of Italy on foot or by bicycle and curates the photoblog Postcards from the Boot. Carla conceived and co-led the Giro del Gelato bicycle tour winner of OUTSIDE Magazine's "Best Trip in Western Europe," and, for a decade, owned and operated Via Vanti! Restaurant & Gelateria in Mount Kisco, NY.

If you are not able to participate in the live webinar, all registered attendees will automatically receive a recording of the session within two business days after the event.
Refunds will not be issued.

We can't wait for you to join us! 

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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Suffragists & Italian American Women

Join NOIAW Greater New York's Staten Island Network on Zoom for a dual presentation featuring Gabriella Leone, History Archives Manager at the Staten Island Museum, and Ann Marie Nicolosi, Ph.D., Professor of History at The College of New Jersey. Ms. Leone will share with us the stories of Staten Island suffragists, as presented in one of the Staten Island Museum's most recent exhibitions, "Women of the Nation Arise!" focusing on the four tactics used by these determined women in the decades-long struggle for political change before they could vote: education, organization, agitation, and publicity. Dr. Nicolosi will elaborate on how Italian and Italian American women of the early 20th-century achieved autonomy (in the home and beyond) in the absence of the right to vote and formal avenues of power. 
These illuminating presentations will conclude with an interactive Q&A session. Audience participation is highly encouraged!
About Gabriella Leone
Gabriella Leone is the Curator of "Women of the Nation Arise!" an exhibition honoring the Centennial of the 19th Amendment at the Staten Island Museum. She has worked at the Staten Island Museum since 2014 and was promoted to Archives Manager in 2017. She was recently named the College of Staten Island’s John J. Marchi Visiting Scholar for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island. She is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in History from the College of Staten Island.
About Ann Marie Nicolosi, Ph.D. 
Dr. Nicolosi is a Professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at The College of New Jersey. She earned her Ph.D. in US History from Rutgers University with a specialization in American Women’s history. Her research interests include 20th-century women’s social movements, women and media representation, and LGBTQ history. Her article, “The Most Beautiful Suffragette; Inez Mulholland and the Political Currency of Beauty,” appeared in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and was a finalist the 2008 Fishel-Calhoun Article Prize. Her current research project is a study of how beauty product manufacturers and advertisers used the rhetoric and ideals of feminism and the women’s movement to create a false sense of empowerment to sell these products to women.
Tuesday, December 15th @ 6:00 PM (EST)
Registration Fee: $10
If you have any questions, please send us an email at
See what's happening on our social sites:
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Elisabetta from the Heart

Cream Wine Company


Elisabetta Fagiuoli. Historians and critics agree that she was and IS a ground breaker, a visionary and one of the best winemakers in the world. You can hear stories of her life and work on YouTube but what you can't hear is her heart speaking. And that is what we heard when Elisabetta joined us LIVE on Zoom from her B.C. built home in San Gimignano, Italy.
We heard her but Elisabetta is hearing too, hearing the earth, hearing nature. "Everyday, nature gives you a different message and you must be able hear it." Humility, attention and love are her guides in making wine and, of these, "humility is the key to making something good."
"We are a big family on a small planet." Elisabetta believes that "the goal is friendship and mutual understanding." And nature can teach us if you watch and listen. "If we follow the miracles of animals and nature, we will become very rich." Elisabetta shared that she has learned from watching the life cycle of the swallows in the trees near her home. In a somewhat solemn moment, Elisabetta said, "I love the birds." 
But what can make us friends? Not just observers but participants? Wine, says Elisabetta, is certainly part of the process.
"Wine for me is like making soup." Elisabetta blends and blurs the lines of wine and everything in life. "Wine is a good companion. It gives you strength." And when you hear the wine speaking to you, "each wine is like humanity, it has a personality of its own."
Bottom line: Elisabetta says "I don't like people who don't like wine." È vero!
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Michelangelo, Graffiti & Stefanago Rosso

Did Michelangelo Dabble in Renaissance Graffiti?

(Well this really takes the torta, as they say.)


Graffiti by Michelangelo in Florence


To consider this artistic conundrum, we need a high quality
yet unassuming bottle that does not take itself to seriously but knows
with great confidence exactly what it is and what it has to offer!

A Savio Soares Selection
2019 Castello di Stefanago Rosso 13.5% ALC 

The bottle shot of this wine is somewhat underwhelming
and does not speak to its good breeding and high standards.

But THIS is where Rosso was raised!

castello2_credits Cigognola (4)

Rosso by Castello di Stefanago is a red wine produced in Oltrepò Pavese
with a blend of local grapes such as Croatina and Uva Rara together with Merlot.
 With its ruby and violet color and floral and fruity scents,
the wine is smooth on the palate for easy drinking. Traditional, artisanal winemaking.
To enjoy this wine at its best, let it 'breathe" at least 15-30 minutes before serving.

*** Quiet Confidence: $16.99 ***

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Elisabetta Fagiuoli on Zoom

News Release: Monday, November 30th, 2020
About: Wine Tasting with Elisabetta Montenidoli
This is BIG! A Zoom Tasting with the Grand Dame of Italian Winemaking Elisabetta Fagiuoli of Montenidoli, San Gimignano, on Thursday Dec 3rd at 5:30 EST.  
Who is Elisabetta?

Elisabetta Fagiuoli has a spirituality about her that is present in her wines. She is the owner of Montenidoli in the San Gimignano region of Chianti, Tuscany. Montenidoli means "the mountain of the little nests" and it is comprised of 24 hectares of vineyards surrounded by 200 hectares of woodlands. The Etruscans were the first to discover this treasure and plant vines, followed by the Romans and the Knights Templar. 

The property which she owned with her late companion Sergio was brought under vine in 1965, and at the time was abandoned wilderness. Located on the top of hills, the farm is remote and has spectacular vistas of the Chianti hillsides. There is a profound respect of the vineyard and the land which is clearly present in the winemaking at Montenidoli. Fagiuoli's highest vineyards are comprised of Triassic soils which are over 350 million years old.

More on Elisabetta:                                                                                            Comprehensive interview and video with Monty Waldin of Grape Collective here:

How to Join Us to E-Meet Elisabetta!
Zoom Meeting Link:
You are invited to join the Zoom "on the house." But, if you want to taste along with Elisabetta, we have some of her greatest wines @MetroWines.
2019  Montenidoli Vernaccia "Tradizionale" for $22 @MetroWines (in shop now)
2017  Montenidoli Chianti Garrulo, $21 (arrives Thursday)
Also available from Montenedoli @MetroWines but not set for Zoom Tasting:
2018 Montenidoli Rosso Toscana for $23 
And for you Italophiles, the Montenidoli website is also in Italian:
Join us! This is a rare opportunity to meet one of the most respected winemakers EVER.
Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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239 Hits

National Wine Clubs and Cinque Terre

National Wine Clubs
We have to talk about it.
Time to stop just talking the talk and walk the talk.

In addition to not being as exclusive as presented,
not as convenient, not as inexpensive, Wine Clubs are by nature a dark,
smoky, negative impact on the environment. This is particularly hypocritical
and offensive when the Wine Club is hosted by a thoughtful organization
such as National Geographic or NPR. And since COVID,
membership in national Wine Clubs has gone exponential.

Ever hear the old saying that the expert is always from 50 miles away.
Not true there or here. We are the experts. We tasted every wine on the shelves.
We are not motivated by advertising $$s, just customer service!
Open letter to National Geographic, the latest offender:

Here is Lettie Teague's Take on Wine Clubs in Wall Street Journal

Bottom Line: SHOP LOCALLY 
And BTW, You won't be getting this treasure in any wine club!
A Ciao Asheville Approved Wine.
Bisson Marea Cinque Terre | Wine Info
From Rosenthal Imports - "Made from a blend of several traditional
local grapes: Bosco (60% of blend), Vermentino (20%) and Albarola (20%).
The vineyards that produce this wine are situated on south-facing slopes
in the hamlet of Volastra in the town of Riomaggiore, the heart of the breathtaking Cinque Terre region. In this instance, [winemaker] Pierluigi Lugano opts to leave
this cuvée on the lees for an extended period of time, respecting the old traditions
of the region. The result is a full-bodied, earthy wine of immense character,
almost briny, with a deeper golden tint to its color than is found in his other whites and marked by the aromas of heather, broom and juniper."

What's Cinque Terre (the place) all about?

$35 at Vivino
The 2018 is $34. Cinque Terre!

Cinque Terre? This one is going to MOVE. Call (828) 575-9525!

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133 Hits

Murder, Malaprops and Primitivo

From Ciao Asheville Book Suggestion Department
As the ONLY Italian Cultural Forum in Asheville, Ciao Asheville 
is  periodically called upon for their stamp of approval.


Since childhood, Helene Stapinski heard lurid tales about her great-great-grandmother, Vita.

In Southern Italy, she was a loose woman who had murdered someone.

Immigrating to America with three children, she lost one along the way.

Helene’s youthful obsession with Vita deepened as she grew up,

eventually propelling the journalist to Italy, where,

with her own children in tow, she pursued the story, determined to set the record straight.

“A murder mystery, a model of investigative reporting,
a celebration of the fierce bonds that hold families together through tragedies

Murder in Matera is a gem.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Book is Here at Malaprops:

Your Read It With Wine is @MetroWines
(also Ciao Asheville Approved)


Kaufen Parco Largo Primitivo | Gioia del Colle DOC - Azienda Plantamura |  2017 | DIVO.

100% Primitivo. Family farm working old vines. Ruby red in the glass.
The aroma is intense and fruity aroma with a sour black cherry, blackberry,
and cherry taste with an easy going, smooth palate for drinking with or without food!
Not widely available in country. Comes from one of our North Carolina Importers.


Got a Glass Left? Watch the new film with Sophia Loren:

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170 Hits

Italian Opera Virtually

Join Us Virtually
The History of Italian Opera

One of the many gifts of Italy to the world is the beauty and magic of Italian opera which has endured for centuries. To understand opera is to understand life. This 7-week series will open the door to the incredible story telling that can only be done through powerful music and staging. The stories are timeless. Operatic music has touched people's emotions since its inception and knowing about its origins and its history will allow a deep appreciation of this important and unique art form. 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. Choose one or all classes below.  Registration fee: $25 per class

November 18: The History of Italian Opera 
December 2: Don Giovanni & Lorenzo da Ponte 
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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100 Hits

Bread, Love and Dreams


November 18, 2020 - 4:00 PM ET

( Zoom Webinar )

breadlovedreams mimi

A scene from C'eravamo tanto amati by Ettore Scola (1974)

How many meals have been depicted in movies? How many secrets and intimate moments of family lives have been set around Italian stoves and tables? Since the Fifties, by combining food and cinema, the Italian film industry has not only been a precious lens to understand the country itself, but also a mean to experience its daily life.

On the occasion of the 5th Week of Italian Cuisine in the World, join us for a delicious expedition spanning over more than fifty years of Italian cinema. Through images, clips, memories and – last but not least – recipes, Italian journalist and food passionate Laura Delli Colli will unravel the evolution of Italian taste in film, and explore some of the most iconic foodie moments of our cinema as recounted and interpreted by movie icons like Federico Fellini, Alberto Sordi, Sofia Loren and Ugo Tognazzi.

WHEN: November 18, 2020 – 4PM ET 
WHEREZoom Webinar 

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138 Hits

Fontanavecchia: Deal of the Week

*** Big Deal of The Week ***
Patrizia Leonardi Wine Selection | Fontanavecchia
Sannio Piedirosso Fontana Vecchia 2017
Azienda Agricola Fontanavecchia, Piedirosso, Taburno, Campania, Italy, 
{organic} 100% Piedirosso

Piedirosso Grapes

One of the rarer single-varietal reds to come out of Campania, Piedirosso is more often used
in blends where it softens the intensity of bolder varietals (typically Aglianico).
This example from Fontanavecchia shows off bright, brambly berries, radiant red roses, black pepper,
soft tannins, and a definitely distinct aroma of campfire ash - a direct result of the very volcanic soil.
Mount Vesuvius is nearby, and looms large over the land and culture. If you've ever been confused
by the term "minerality," here's a volcanic, solid stepping stone to understanding.

***MetroWines Teaching Moment ***
Piedirosso is a black grape exclusive to the Campania region and not grown elsewhere.
The name Piedirosso ("red feet") derives from a peculiarity of the vine,
namely the color of the pedicel of the grapes, which reminds of pigeons' red feet.
This vine has very ancient origins: The scolar Carlucci sustains that it is identical
to the Palombina nera vine cited by Herrera-Sederini (in the XVI century),
which itself is thought to go back to the Colombina vine described by Pliny the Elder
in his "Naturalis Historia" (I century). Its tannins are less aggressive and its acidity
is lower than that derived from Aglianico grapes. As a consequence wines from Piedirosso grapes
are less tannic, less structured, softer and more balanced, with fragrances of red fruits.
In the glass, the wine is an intense ruby red with violet glints.
The fragrance is refined, fruity notes of raspberry and cherry, flowery notes of roses and geranium.
The taste is dry, slightly tannic and of good intensity.

All This and only 13% ALC!  

13.99 @MetroWines

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D&D Pinot Noir and Poldi Pezzoli

Poldi Pezzoli in Milan


Al Poldi Pezzoli di Milano, un'estate al museo (4 di 6) | Touring Club
Italian Count Gian Giacomo Poldi Pizzoli (1822-1879) strived to leave a physical legacy
creating one of the first house museums. The collection features treasures ranging
from  "Dante's Cabinet" to paintings by Mantegna, Bellini and Botticelli.

Take a virtual walk:
With a glass of This Wine:

Pinot Noir – Vallée d’Aoste Doc

D&D Maison Agricole, located on mountainside above the town of Aosta, was founded
by the Dellio family 2002. Their ancestors had owned vines on Valdostan hills since
early 1900s, but it was only in 2002 that the family decided to found a wine producing estate
and begin bottling wines. Daniella and her children Daisy and Denis resolved to maintain
the family’s holdings and recover abandoned sites that were also part of their heritage. 
All sustainable practices. Vines cultivated by hand. No pesticides or herbicides are used.
Grapes are all hand harvested and selected in the vineyard before transport to winery.
Dellio’s cool aging cellar is dug into the hillside, under the family home.

D&D Maison Agricole, Valle d'Aosta, Pinot Noir
"Di buon corpo ed equilibrio, caldo e morbido con una certa tannicità."
Read: Full-bodied and balanced, warm and soft with some tannins.

$14.99. è vero (it's true!)

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203 Hits