|WSJ Talks Summer Vacation Deals
Can't go? Travel vicariously through wine.
Shop bottles or plan a private tasting @MetroWines.
You are going? Be ready! Be the wine who knows the wine.
Great Rose Tasting @MetroWines
The Asheville School of Wine will be available all day
with a tasting notes for the "pours" and to discuss Rose!
Besides the US, Francois says his biggest markets are UK, Japan and, get this, Russia.
And one more thing. I had Disco playing on Spitify. I ask Francois if he would prefer a different music. "Yes, country," he says.
|"Are expensive Wines Worth It?"
John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines
Tells All for Capital at Play
Great Rose Tasting: May 5th from 10am to 7pm @Metrowines
Event Pricing (10% off any bottle) in RED
1. Le Quattro Terre Rosato 2017 Piedmont, Italy $11.99 ($10.79)
This Barbera Rose is a bright pink in the glass with aromas of strawberry and rose petal leading to a salty, mineral driven finish.
2. Fleur de Prairie 2017, Provence $14.99 ($13.49)
Crafted in the traditional Provencal style, this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault is a pale salmon color with flavors of strawberry, rose petals and herbs. Bright refreshing acidity. Fleur de Prairie translates as "wildflowers" celebrating the beautiful fields of wisteria, lavender, poppy (you might find a wisp on the nose!) and sunflowers.
3. DMZ Rose 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa $14.99 ($13.49)
A crowd pleasing Cabernet rose with alluring aromas and juicy flavors of strawberry, watermelon and pomegranate highlighted by delicate floral and spice notes.
4. OVR Old Vine Rose Marietta Cellars, California $13.99 ($12.59)
This juicy blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Grenache Gris presents bright red and blue fruits on the nose and palate. Balanced bright fruit and acidity.
5. Zoe, Greece 2017 $12.49 ($11.24)
"Zoe" means life in Greek. This dry rose, a blend of 70% Aghiorghitiko and 30% Moscofilero, is full of life! Ripe cherries, rose petals on the nose and palate.
6. Gateway Vinho Verde, Portugal $9.99 ($8.99)
A blend of regional varietals: 60% Touriga Nacional and 40% Espadeiro. Bright pink color. The nose is lively strawberry and red currant complemented with floral notes. Luscious palate presents good acidity with fresh, young fruit, slight fizz and delicate finish.
Register for this class through OLLI at UNCA HERE
Summer White Wines: Local Favorites Around the World Personal Development 4 weeks: June 19, 26, July 3, 10 Tuesdays, 2-4 p.m. Stretch your comfort zone and learn about the summer white wine favorites enjoyed by locals in several wine regions worldwide. See how to make your whites taste beer and cover the secrets of pairing white wines with summer dishes. Don’t be surprised if a few winemakers join us via Skype. You’ll try about six new whites at each class. Course fee: $50 for wine and food, payable to instructor at the first session.
On Tuesday, April 10th, from 5 to 6:30, Winemaker, Nate Ready, a Master Sommelier, will pour and discuss his well received, limited production wines @MetroWines.
Smockshop says: "Smockshop is an exploration of the Columbia Gorge by the team at Hiyu Wine Farm. The Gorge contains a diverse range of landscapes within a small area. It was this multitude of potential terroirs that drew us to the Gorge. We've been working on developing relationships with growers and landowners who share our vision of farming. We now lease and farm twenty acres of land outside of Hiyu and purchase fruit from an additional few more. All of the vineyards are farmed naturally and allow us access to the full spectrum of possible flavors from high altitude, cool climate sites on the western end of the Gorge to the more Mediterranean, dessert influenced sites to the east."
The Asheville School of Wine presents The Asheville Wine Focus Group the first Wednesday of every month. Check out the winners of the tasting this month:
Bryan Hendershot of Mims stepped out of the wine comfort zone presenting lesser known varietals or varietals done in a different style than is standard operating for a crowd. It worked.
Subscribe to our Sunday Email or follow our online calendar for news of dinners and wine pairing events.
It's been quiet in here as of late, hasn't it? For good reason, I promise. The end of February and most of March have been very busy for us at Metro Wines.
One of our favorite winemakers, Michele D'Aprix, was here not very long ago. Michele is the only American woman wine maker in Bordeaux! And she was actually here IN our store! Not Skype, or Facebook Live, but in the very flesh, enchanting us with stories about life in Bordeaux, and how she comes up with names for her wines. We had a significant turnout that evening, and I'm sure many of you had the pleasure of meeting Michele.
We also had a fantastic tasting featuring the wines of Donkey & Goat. Based in California, they take a very holistic, "hands off" approach to wine making: natural, sustainable, and biodynamic practices at the vineyard; in the cellar, they don't add or take anything from the wine, and they ever only use minimal effective sulphur. They don't stabilize, fine, or filter their wines at bottling. The result is a world of flavors that you don't usually get from these varietals, with a fantastic texture to boot. And, from what I hear, no donkies, nor goats, are ever harmed in the making of the wine.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the Beth HaTephila Congregation to do a presentation on Kosher wines. This was a great learning opportunity for me. Admittedly, I fell under the umbrella of everyone who believed that all Kosher wines are boiled, and of poor quality, because I was told that long ago, and never questioned it. It was eye-opening, as well as pleasantly surprising to find out that, while some Kosher wines are pasteurized, most are not, and as far as quality goes, there's no difference between a Kosher wine and its conventional counterpart. Chateau Valandraud double magnum, you say? $3,000 at auction. Quality, pedigree, and the history are there to rival the most legendary wines on earth. By the way, that's a picture of the Golan Heights at the top of this post.
We have also been making our Auction winners very happy with their tastings. Among the themes for these tastings are "Fun, but not weird," "Wine for Bourbon drinkers," and "Greek wines you've never heard of, or heard of but haven't tried." Retsina, anyone?
These are but a few of the activities that have kept me away from the keyboard here at Metro. While things don't seem to be slowing down (which is a good thing), I will try to keep the updates more consistently frequent. Until next time.
Bubbles and amuse-bouche; Pinot Gris and Squash soup; Bourgogne Rouge and Duck, fennel, and beet salad; Cabernet and steak. The pairings were fantastically executed (I would know- I was there!), and ensured love remained in the air long into the evening. So did the entire staff at the Princess Anne Hotel, without whom this would not have been possible, nor as successful or enjoyable.
With every new course came a new wine. Tom Leiner of Grapevine Distributors and I introduced these delights as they were poured, offering small bits of information about the wines and the people who make them. To my relief, it was well received- safe to say we made acceptable entertainers.
For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with every guest, meeting new faces, and sharing a little of what we do here at Metro. It was my first of such events, and I should like to know it won't be the last. Certainly a memorable experience!
Again, infinte thanks to the Princess Anne Hotel for hosting the event, their kitchen and wait staff for the impeccable service, and Tom Leiner and Grapevine Distributors for the libations. I had a great time working the event, and look forward to doing it again soon!
This was originally posted on the Wine Blog at the Metro Wines Asheville website.
Another week, another class! This time we went back to the drawing board, to expand on the finer details and cover the lesser-known bits of the basics, beyond fermentation, balance and complexity, and typical flavor profiles. For instance, did you know that many of the wines that you've drunk have gone through Malolactic conversion? You may associate this term with white wines, such as Chardonnay and Viognier, and the distinct buttery flavor and creamy texture it imparts on the wine. What's less known about MLF (as this conversion is usually referred to), is that nearly all reds will undergo this process, so it isn't considered a distinctive or differentiating quality. To showcase the effects of MLF, we tasted Talbott Chardonnay from Monterey, California.
We also covered "lees". Lees are, in simple terms, the dead yeast cells post-fermentation, when they've essentially eaten themselves. This may sound odd, but for some wines, keeping these little critters can enhance the texture, and add complexity to the flavor. Muscadet, legendary friend of oysters, is a great example of a wine aged on the lees, and very often the words "sur lie" will be printed on the label. Albariño and Champagne often get cozy with their defunct friends as well, except it isn't explicit on the packaging. We did in fact taste a wonderful Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie to identify those delicious bready, brioche flavors, as well as the incredible texture that results from this, and we learned that every time we heard the words "autolytic character" this is what was being talked about.
These are just two of the topics we covered in addition to oak (French vs. American, toast levels, size of the barrel), extraction, terroir, variety vs. varietal (yup, there is a difference!), decanting (when and how to do it), clones, crossings, hybrids, and mutations (Pinot Noir, Gris, and Blanc are the same grape with varying degrees of pigment). We even discussed how to interact with your sommelier at the restaurant to get your wine in perfect drinking condition! To wrap up the evening and, well, enjoy ourselves a bit, we chose a fantastic example of a crossing: Austrian Zweigelt. Delicate flavors of red currants, raspberries, violets, lavender, and earth were just the perfect kiss to send us off.
For more information on our classes, as well as our schedule, visit www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com
Wine can be, and often is, an expression of the place where it's made; a representation of the local taste and culture, a sense of 'what grows together goes together.' As part of our ongoing Italy class, and thanks to Mark Orsini of Orsini Wines, we tasted our way Tuscany. This means we got really friendly with Sangiovese, as well as other much more rare, but no less tasty varietals: Malvasia frizzante; a Vermentino blended with Fiano, Verdicchio, Incrocio Manzoni, and Petit Manseng; a Bordeaux left-bank style beauty with the kingly name of Atis. While these uncommon wines showcased Italian artistry and creativity, the more familiar names reminded us of the power of tradition: Chianti Classico, Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
And then, there was Jassarte. Oh, Jassarte! Where old meets new, tradition meets experimentation, and the diversity of the world grows in one small lot of land. This wine is a blend of thirty (yes, THIRTY) grapes, all contributing the same 3.3% to the bottle, with origins that go beyond Italy, both in location and in history. France, Spain, and Greece lend their flavors, as well as the Saperavi grape from Georgia! Saperavi was found in amphorae dating back over 8,000 years, and it is still planted in Georgia today. All of this amounts to a wine that is powerful, but not opulent or hedonistic; complex, yet approachable; great friend of food, and a pleasure to enjoy on its own.
This experience would not have reached such heights without Mark and his wines, and Mr. Michele Scienza of Guado al Melo, who was beyond kind to connect via Skype with us so late in the day and take us through the history, land, fruit, and flavor of his little piece of Tuscany. For that, the team at Metro Wines are infintely thankful!
*For more information on our classes, visit www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com
Have you ever had anyone ask if "you want a little cheese with that whine"? Well, there's a reason. While that play-on-words refers to attitude and not vino, wine and cheese are a match made in heaven. Cheese accentuates wine and the wine accentuates cheese. Plain and simple. That being said, you want to make sure you pair the correct cheese with wine. It doesn't have to be particularly complicated, just follow a few simple rules.
If it grows together, it goes together. While this is somewhat of a blanket statement, it is mostly true. Generally wines pair well with foods that grown or produced regionally, benefiting from a congruence of ingredients and food culture. If you are unable or don't care to follow that simple rule, try to pair wines and foods that have complimentary flavors. All of that being said, lets get started with a few of my favoirte pairings.
Wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel match up well with equally intense cheeses. Match them with a cheese that's firm and a bit salty too. As an example, Sean Minor Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon would pair very well with aged cheddars and peppery cheeses.
If lighter red wines are more your speed, wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais match up nicely with delicately flavored, washed rind cheeses, and nutty medium firm cheeses. Gruyere, Fontana, Pont L'Eveque, Taleggio are great example of cheeses for lighter red wine pairings. Consider a Pinot Noir from Grochau Cellars paired with some thinly sliced Gruyere.
For those that prefer white wine, there are many great options. Try cheeses such as brie, tripple cream, or chevre with Riesling, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. One of my personal favorites is chevre on crustinis paired with Le Bouchet Sparkling Vouvray. This Chenin Blanc based wine has wonderful acidity and stone fruit flavors that pair excellently with the tang of the chevre.
Once again the Asheville School of Wine was on location this past weekend at the Grovewood Gallery pouring wine and answering wine questions for all. Not only do we enjoy tasting great wines with everyone, we also love helping people learn more about how to serve and maximize their enjoyment of wine.
As it turned out the most popular question I received about wine was "Whats a great summertime red and what temperature should I serve it?". This seems to be a persistent question as the weather warms and folks are looking for a more refreshing way to enjoy red wines.
In general I would say try to find lighter-bodied, lower tannin, and higher acid reds to quench your thirst as the mercury rises. Some personal favorites of mine include, Altaroses Granaxta from Spain, Zweigelt from Austria, and Beaujolais from France.
Now to tackle serving temperature. As it stands, most Americans drink their red wines too warm. In the summertime I enjoy putting my reds in the fridge for 20-30 minutes just to put a slight chill on them. They don't need to, nor should they be cold, just slightly cool to temper the heat of the alcohol without muting the flavors and aromas.
If you follow those simple tips, you'll find a new world of enjoyment with red wine in the summertime.
Here at the Asheville School of Wine we love pouring educational tastings and this past Saturday we held a great one. Let's just say no one had to twist my arm when I was told our group of students wanted a greatest hits of French wine regions!! Man do I love Frech wine. It's well executed, seductive, and honestly its much more approachable than many people believe.
So where did we go and what did we pour? We made stops in Burgundy, Rhône, Bordeaux, and Languedoc!
With our quick stop in Burgundy we enjoyed a little Pinot Noir from Domaine Maurice Charleux & Fils. Their estate is located in the village of Maranges in the greater area of Côte Chalonnaise. Wow is all I can say. The wine was a stunning representaion of what Pinot Noir is capable of. It displayed earthyness, had wonderfully bright acid structure, and great notes of dried rose and cranberry.
For our next stop, we traveled south to the Rhône river valley to Domaine de la Janasse. They are known for being a classic Chateauneuf de Pape house and producing amazing wine. We enjoyed their Côtes du Rhône Reserve, which is a wonderfully rich and powerful blend of Grenache, Syrah, Caignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre. The vinyard plot for this wine is directly adjacent to their Chateaunuf property and is an amazing value.
Staying in southern France, we next moved on to the Languedoc. This wine region, located on the Mediterranean coast, existed for centuries without much acclaim. They were the home of bulk wine production for France. All of that has since changed and the Languedoc is now producing incredible, rich reds and stunning whites. Everyone really enjoyed the Le Prestige offering from Château Puech-Haut. It's a rich, oaky blend of Syrah and Grenach and everyone agreed it would be the perfect pairing for smoky BBQ this summer. It would also be a great wine for someone who typically drinks big California Zinfindels and wants to try similarly styled wines from other areas in the world.
Our last stop on the grand wine tour of France was Bordeaux. I mean come on, how can you taste across France and not stop in Bordeaux. We made a quick stop on the Right Bank at Château Tour Bayard and man was it good. It's your classic Merlot driven Bordeaux with amazing notes of green pepper, leather, and plump dark fruit. This wine showed really well and would be a perfect accompaniment for juicy steaks off the grill.
The Asheville School of Wine has done it once again. We hosted yet another successful tasting here at Metro Wines. This past week we had Alchemy Women's Networking Group here to taste across wines from the western United States.
The evening began with a comparative tasting of Gruet sparkling wines. We sampled both the Blanc de Blanc and the Blanc de Noir and they were a huge hit. Not only are these wines affordable, but they are also served at the White House. That's a pretty good endorsement if you ask us!
It should come as no suprise that the most popular wine of the evening was the Donati Family Vineyards Claret. It has all the things that we look for in a great bottle of red. The Claret is a traditional Cabernet heavy Bordeaux style blend but instead of originating in France, it hails from the Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. This warmer growing environment allows for a slightly richer, fruit forward style that is a little more approachable, especially at an younger age, than Bordeaux wines tend to be. The icing on the cake with Donati however is their wine maker. Denise Valhoff, who joined Donati in 2007 and became head wine maker in 2011, is a bit of a pioneer. She brings a great deal of experience in viticulture and viniculture and has a deft hand when it comes to crafting beautiful wines. I guess this all explains why we sold out of every Donati Claret bottle after the tasting!
Check out a more indepth writeup about Donati Family Vineyards on Metro Wines' Women Vintners blog http://metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/women-vintners/entry/donati-family-vineyard
This past week the Asheville School of Wine did an educational Champagne tasting for a group of brokers from the local Merrill Lynch office here in Asheville. As usual it was a riot. There were plenty of great questions about the process of Champagne production and as always there were plenty of great wines tasted.
Though all of the Champagnes were good, there were a few favorites of course. One of the most popular of the evening was Pol Roger. It’s the official Champagne of the British Royalty, was Sir Winston Churchill’s favorite, and is the choice Champagne of the Metro Wines staff. What other Champagne can boast endorsements like that?
Another shining star of the tasting was the Jacquesson Cuvée 737. This stuff is like liquid gold in a bottle and is everything we love about Champagne. Notes of lemon curd, brioche, toasted almond, citrus peel. Wow!! To top it all off with an interesting historical fact, Jacquesson invented the cage which secures the cork in the neck of the bottle and that deserves a big thank you from all Champagne lovers.