What Pairs with Breaking Up?

What Pairs with Breaking Up?

What wine pairs with breaking up?

So I read an article in the New York Times recently called The Stuff of Broken Dreams http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/fashion/museum-of-broken-relationships-los-angeles.html?_r=0 about a Museum in Los Angeles that displays the leftover relics from failed relationships. The owner of this museum talked about the future of breaking up. He predicted buying "Breakup Insurance" where you would call a number if you broke up and "someone will come and get you in a car, take you to a bar, buy you a drink and spend two hours talking with you".

This got me thinking, if I were the person you called on your "Breakup Insurance" number, what wine would I serve you to make you feel better? What do you serve with heartbreak?

Here are five factors to look for in wine following a breakup.

1. High Alcohol. Let’s be honest, the reason we are drinking here is to numb the pain. Just like Aspirin for a headache, get an "Extra Strength" wine with more of the active ingredient.

2. Low Cost. This isn't the time to buy a really incredible, complex, multifaceted wine. I'm not suggesting you buy rot-gut, but don't waste your money on a really nice bottle of wine. You won't appreciate all of the nuances and complexities. Get something $20 or under in my opinion. This also leaves more money to buy multiple bottles.

3. Low in Acid. I love wines that are incredibly tart. I'm very comfortable at about 9.5 on the pucker scale. But while the searing acidity may make my food taste twice as good, this isn't the time for that wine, you’ve had enough acid in your day already. You will be drinking a lot of this bottle, and likely on its own, and that much acidity can make your teeth hurt and your stomach feel sour. Opt for one from a warmer climate, like California, Argentina, or Australia that will have less of a harsh, acidic flavor.

4. Fruit-Forward. While I love wines that taste like dirt, this isn't the time for that either. Reach instead for a big, rich, fruity wine that will comfort you like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket. Fruity wines are made to fly solo without any food so it's a great choice for a night like this. Now is the time for a rich, hedonistic, indulgent wine like Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, or Chardonnay.

5. Drink Your Favorite. Go for a classic wine that you love, whatever that is. Whether it’s Moscato, Muscadine or White Zinfandel, choose a wine that comforts you and makes you happy. This is not a time to worry about the expectations of your friends or what Robert Parker thought of the wine. If it makes you happy, this is the night for it.

I think the wine that best fits all of these factors is hot climate California Zinfandel. It's high in alcohol, low in acid and tannins, rich fruity and easy drinking. If you don't want to over think it, try a Zinfandel from Lodi.

Breaking up is never easy, even if it’s amicable or you do the breaking up. Make your night better by taking care of yourself and indulging a little. Put on a good movie, wrap yourself in a blanket, cook up some comfort food and pop open a good bottle of wine. Hopefully things will seem better in the morning. Just don't call your ex!

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You Want Some Cheese With That Wine?

cheese plate

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. 

smnapa

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.

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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.

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Rosés That Age?

Rosés That Age?

Everyone knows that when it comes to Rosés, you drink the current vintage, right? The younger the better.

As a general rule of thumb, that's true. Age can diminish the subtle fruit flavors that swirl in a glass of rosé wine, making the fruit taste less "fresh".

But what if the wine was more of a serious food pairing wine and less of a "porch-pounder"? What if the flavors lean more mineral and less fruity? Believe it or not, there are some rosés that taste better after a few years in your cellar then they did right off of the shelf at your favorite wine shop.

As Eric Asimov mentions in his article There's More to Rosé than You May Think, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/dining/wine-school-rose.html?_r=1"the most serious rosés will benefit from a little more bottle age." He mentions Bandol, the crown jewel of Provence in France, as an ageable rosé. True enough, Bandol is incredible! Try Domaine Tempier for arguably the best wine from this region or Domaine Antiane for an affordable alternative.

Speaking of Eric's article, check out one of his favorite rosés from Provence (and a favorite of ours as well) Commanderie de Peyrassol. If you like the Commanderie, you should definitely try the MiP, Made in Provence. Its a smaller producer and there isn't a lot of their wine to go around, but we have some!

But Bandol isn't the only region with ageable rosés. Try wines from Tavel, the only wine region that I know of that only makes rosé wine! Also, the rosés from Sancerre, the home of everyone's favorite Sauvignon Blanc, drink tremendously well for a few years after bottling.

One of my personal favorite rosés is Montenidoli's Canaiuolo Rose coming from San Gimignano in Tuscany. This winery actually used to hold back their rosé for a year before releasing it because they liked it better after a year of age. Unfortunately, the wine didn't sell well because consumers thought it was too old, since it was last years vintage. Now they release the current vintage of their wine, but they still recommend waiting a year before you drink it.

Get some of our favorite ageable rosés here, https://www.metrowinesasheville.com/store/rose/

And don't forget to come by and taste 10 different Rosés for free at the third Great Rosé Tasting all day long on Saturday, July 16th!

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5 things you didn't know about Rosé but were afraid to ask

5 things you didn't know about Rosé but were afraid to ask

Well, it finally happened. Rosé wine has finally made it into the mainstream and is no longer mistaken for its sweet cousin, White Zinfandel. It wasn't long ago that we couldn't get most people to even taste pink wine, let alone buy a bottle! Now our customers come in asking for it on their own, without me begging them to try it or anything!

But in the new age of Rosé, many people are intimidated by the huge selection of rosés available in many shops. To help out with your questions, here are 5 things to know about drinking pink wine but were afraid to ask.

1. You should drink your Rosé chilled. Treat it just like a white wine.

2. You can drink your Rosé all year long. It's not just for the warmer months. If you feel comfortable drinking a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc in the winter months, you can definitely enjoy a glass of rosé. I actually think rosé wines pair incredibly well with Thanksgiving dinner!

3. Light colored Rosés aren't better than darker ones. There is the idea that paler rosés are better than darker ones. This is absolutely not true. They can be very different styles though. The pale rosés are usually much more delicate and light, perfect for sipping on the porch while the darker ones are usually more powerful and rich in flavor. For me, nothing pairs with grilled ribs or BBQ Chicken like a rich, dark colored rosé!

4. All Rosés don't taste the same. Rosés can be made from any red grape and depending on which grape is used, they can contribute different flavors. Rosé made from Cabernet can be powerful, ones made from Pinot Noir can be delicate and acidic, and those made from Syrah can be peppery and spicy. There are even some made from mostly white wine with around 2% of red wine added. These tend to be the most light and delicate, and more closely resemble white wines.

5. You want to drink the current vintage (usually).  Rosés are prized for being clean, fresh and fruity, and the longer your wine ages, the less fresh the fruit tastes. For that reason, you usually want to drink the fresher rosés. Although, some serious rosés might be able to age for a while. Some winemakers intentionally age their rosés for a few years before releasing them. These are usually more serious wines intended for pairing with food and less for picnics.

Well, I hope that helped! Feel free to email us if you have any questions. Until next time, happy drinking!

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Grovewood Gallery Rocks!

Grovewood Gallery Rocks!

richardrottiers

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. 

Alta

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.

Zum

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The Farm's First Ever Wine Dinner

The Farm's First Ever Wine Dinner

"The Farm", my favorite event venue in Candler, is holding their first-ever wine dinner and the Asheville School of Wine will be there!

Chef Mike Ferrari will be using skills he has learned working at 7 country clubs across the country to put together a tremendously innovative four course meal with wines paired by the Asheville School of Wine.

The dinner will be held at 6:00pm on Sunday, July 10th in the main barn. The cost will be $100 per person. If you haven't been to their fantastic facility yet, check out their website. It's absolutely breathtaking! http://thefarmevents.com/

Call the Farm for tickets at (828) 667-0666 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Come out next month for great food and wine, and have dinner in an incredibly beautiful setting!

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Springtime Sippers

Springtime Sippers

In case you missed it in print, check out my new article about wines for warm weather in Sophie Magazine. These are some that I have been drinking as the weather warms up.

http://sophiemagazine.com/home-garden/spring-time-sippers-wines-to-drink-in-the-sun/

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Grovewood Rocks!

Grovewood Rocks!

Grovewood Gallery, in the shadow of the historic Grove Park Inn, is hosting a show on artisan-made rocking chairs and the Asheville School of Wine will be there! The gallery will host works from ten American woodworkers ranging in style from traditional to very modern.

How often do you get a chance to see unique works of art and then sit on them?

Charley Stanley, educator at the Asheville School of Wine will be there at the reception this Saturday, June 4th from 3:00-6:00, to pour wines for you to taste as well as answer your wine questions.

Come out and see us this weekend at Grovewood Gallery!

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What's really causing that red wine headache

What's really causing that red wine headache

Suffer from headaches when you drink red wine? Here is a great article on what might be causing your headaches and what you can do to avoid them.

Spoiler Alert, It's not sulfites!

If you've ever visited a salad bar, enjoyed a glass of orange juice, or worst of all, eaten a raisin or two, you have literally consumed multiple wine bottles worth of sulfites in that one sitting! They are loaded with the stuff.

So if we can't point the finger at sulfites, what is responsible for our headaches? Find out in this article!

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/health/sc-red-wine-headache-health-0608-20160525-story.html

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Wines of Spain Tasting

Wines of Spain Tasting

This week, we had the opportunity to host a Spanish wine tasting for a local business. We spoke about Spain and tasted a number of wines ranging from somewhat well known, to downright obscure! I love obscure grape varietals!

Here are the wines we tasted if you want to try them out yourself!

Vina Mayor Verdejo, Rueda, 2014 - Verdejo is kind of like Albarinos obscure little sister. It's powerful, lemon-curdy flavors are very refreshing, and it's a terrific wine for $14.99!

Ostatu Rioja Rose, 2015 - This is one of my new favorite roses! It's been a favorite of mine for years, but this vintage is especially good! Tart raspberry, a hint of cherries and a ripple of cinnamon-spice makes this one a home run at $13.99

Luna Beberide Mencia 2013 -  A great lesser known grape that I think resembles Pinot Noir. A little lighter and silkier, with a touch of earth and a good bite of acid. $17.75

Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla, 2013 - A house favorite! Monastrell is Spanish Mourvedre, and this is the most famous house for it. Big and rich, with a slightly smokey, spicy flavor. It's a real crowd pleaser at $17.99

To host your own private wine tasting, contact Metro Wines at (829) 575-9525.

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French Tasting - Greatest Hits of France

MarangesJanasse

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.

 

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John Grochau hosts Wine Tasting at Metro Wines

John Grochau hosts Wine Tasting at Metro Wines

That's right, THE John Grochau (pronounced Grow-Shaw)! If you've never heard of him, he's the owner and winemaker behind Grochau Cellars from Willamette Valley, Oregon and one of our favorite winemakers. His Pinot Noir has been a staple in the shope since we opened, and frankly it's so popular, we have a hard time keeping in stock!

If you haven't had the opportunity to try these wines, now is your chance! He will be here in person, pouring his wines and discussing his winemaking philosophy! Come by the shop Thursday May 5th, from 5:00-6:30 to meet the man and taste his wines! The tasting is, as always, on the house!

For more about Grochau head to their website here http://grochaucellars.com/. For more on the tasting, check out Metro Wines' Blog here https://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/john-grochau-metrowines

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Alchemy - Women's Wine Tasting

DonatiVin Claret2008 LgWeb

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

 

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Merrill Lynch Champagne Tasting

Pol

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.

 

 

 

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Taste the Wines of Saumur, Asheville's Sister City in France

Taste the Wines of Saumur, Asheville's Sister City in France

Saumur is a village in the Loire Valley that makes terrific Cabernet Franc and world class Chenin Blanc. It is also Asheville's Sister City in France.

To learn more about this fantastic town and the wonderful wines that it makes, come to Metro Wines on Sunday, April the 24th from 2:00-4:00. Taste wines from Saumur and listen to representatives from the Asheville Sister Cities Committee and the Asheville School of Wine, as well as the music of Edith Piaf and hors d'ouvres!

The cost is $15 per person.

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The Great Annual Rosé Wine Tasting

The Great Annual Rosé Wine Tasting

Once it gets above 60 degrees for a few days in a row, I'm ready for Rosé! My fridge is already loaded up with pink wine and I'm putting it away as fast as I can. To me, Rosé is synonymous with spring and eating outside.

If you aren't a fan of Rosé wine, you owe it to yourself to try some of the dry wines that are popping up all over the world. These are miles away from White Zinfandel and Mateus!

The best time to test drive some pink wine is Saturday, May 7th. Once a year we break out some of our favorite rosé wines to taste side by side, so that we can see the little differences between a rosé from Provence and one from Rioja, for instance. Winemakers all over the world have started making rosé and they all are a little different. Come taste the wines and learn about Rosé wine from the Asheville School of Wine!

Read more about it here http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/the-great-rose-tasting

Come by next month and try them out!

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We Skyped with Bruwer Raats!!!

We Skyped with Bruwer Raats!!!

The Asheville School of Wine had a great turnout last week for our live-via-Skype wine tasting with our favorite South African winemaker, Bruwer Raats! We spoke to him while he was on holiday in Cederburg. The sun was setting behind him while he sat in the back of his truck.

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We had a chance to not only taste some great wines, but also to ask Bruwer our questions about making wine in South Africa, his work with our favorite bargain wine Indaba and also the aging potential and food pairings for his wines.

Not only were the wines good, Bruwer proved to be the charismatic, funny, humble person that I have heard he was! Its always fascinating to meet the person behind your favorite wines!

Check out our interview with Bruwer on Unfiltered here http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/bruwer-raats-interview-by-skype

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Wine Tasting at the Grovewood Gallery!

Wine Tasting at the Grovewood Gallery!

This past weekend Metro Wines held a wildly successful tasting in conjunction with Grovewood Gallery at the Grove Park Inn. As the weather warmed and the flowers bloomed, we really enjoyed showcasing a few of our favorite wines from the shop.

 

A perennial customer favorite, Yali Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere blend from Chile, was loved by all who were looking for an earthy, fuller bodied red wine while browsing through the art gallery. For those who were looking for something a little lighter in body, the Nunes Barata white wine from Portugal was a huge hit. It’s light, crisp, and ever so slightly citrusy.

 

Now for the Grand Finale - Mirabilia Rosé from Ippolito! It by far the most popular wine we poured and it makes total sense. Nothing accentuates a beautiful spring afternoon like a beautiful glass of rosé. The Mirabilia is light, crisp, and as floral as a blooming botanical garden!

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Learn about Minervois from Francois Le Calvez herself!

Learn about Minervois from Francois Le Calvez herself!

Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of Minervois. It is a tiny place in the Languedoc Region of Southern France which until this decade hasn't really gotten a lot of attention at all. In fact, the entirety of the Languedoc region was mostly known for producing cheap, Tuesday-night plonk and wine rations for the French Army.

That's right, the French Army gets wine rations.

Anyway, things are changing quickly for Languedoc wine. It is starting to get it's own identity. It is getting a sense of its terroir and is figuring out which grape varietals grow best in it. It has gone from producing cheap wines from borrowed varietals from Burgundy and Bordeaux, to excellent wines made from Carignane and Mourvedre.

The only problem is, now we have a new region to study. New villages and obscure grapes to learn.

Of the new villages in Languedoc, one of the best is Minervois. They are known for their reds, made from Carignane blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. They are more rustic and powerful than those of Bordeaux and pair very well with venison, smoked meats, and rich foods.

To learn more about Minervois, come meet Francoise Le Calves. She will be here in person pouring her wines and discussing her winemaking philosophy on Wednesday, April 13th from 5:00 to 6:30. More info on Francoise here http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/chateau-coupe-roses-minervois-tasting-with-winemaker

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Who makes your wine?

Who makes your wine?

One of the best things about my job has been the opportunity to meet the people behind the wines I love. To be able to ask them questions about how they make their wine, what makes it unique compared to the millions of other wine brands out there, to ask why they make their wine in a certain way and to learn the secrets and stories behind their wines.

Every wine has a story, and it is always interesting to meet the storyteller! This coming week you will have a few opportunities to meet the "storytellers" behind some of our favorite wines from the Southern Hemisphere.

Tuesday March 29th we will be hosting a double feature! Representatives from the Allen Scott Family Wines from New Zealand will be here, along with the Australian winery Vinaceous Wines. They will be pouring their wines and discussing their unique winemaking styles and philosophy. They will both be joining us from 5:30 to 7:00pm, stop by and meet your winemakers!

Learn more about Allan Scott Family Winemakers at www.allanscott.com, and read up on Vianceous's wines at https://www.vinaceous.com.au/

On Saturday, April 2nd we will be speaking with one of our favorite winemakers in the world, Bruwer Raats! He will be hosting a wine tasting live via Skype from his winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Come hear a short crash course in South African wine by Andy Hale of the Asheville School of Wine and stay to learn about Raats wines from the man himself! We will taste several of Bruwer's wines while he tells us about how he made them. Bring your questions about South African winemaking and ask them to one of South Africa's most famous winemakers. It really is a rare opportunity! The tasting starts at High-Noon on Saturday! Come out and start your weekend off right!

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