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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Andre Mack was here!!

Andre Mack was here!!

I still can't believe it! Monday afternoon we had THE Andre Mack, you know, the Sommelier, Author and Winemaker pouring his wines at here at Metro Wines!

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If you haven't heard of Andre or tasted his wines, check them out. In my opinion, they are some of the most innovative wines coming out of Oregon currently. He poured his Rosé called "Love Drunk", his Pinot Noir called "O.P.P.", and his red blend called "Horseshoes and Handgrenades". The crowd loved the wines and loved listening to Andre tell his story!
Andre stayed long enough to sign some bottles and then he was off to a wine dinner at the Junction.
Check out his website here http://moutonnoirwines.com/, and while you are there, get some of his T-Shirts. They are some of the funniest wine-geeky shirts I've seen!
We still have signed bottles available of the three wines he poured. Get some before they are gone!

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It's going to be a Big Week for Wine Tasting!

It's going to be a Big Week for Wine Tasting!

Next week will be a good time to come by Metro Wines if you like free wine tastings! The Asheville School of Wine will be offering three wine education classes with tastings hosted by wineries PradoRey and Rodney Strong as well as the famous importer Votto Vines.

Monday brings PradoRey from Spain, a winery established in 1503. They've been making wine longer than I have even been drinking it! If you enjoy the Tempranillos from Rioja, then try them from lesser known, but equally esteemed Ribera del Duero, and stay around for their Verdejos from Rueda!

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

Wednesday brings Rodney Strong in from California. I was familiar with their cheaper, grocery store line of wines, but was really impressed by their higher end ones! I tasted the "Rockaway" Cabernet next the Joseph Phelps Insignia and liked the Rockaway better!

Learn more about it here: http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/rodney-strong-wine-tasting-1

Thursday brings legendary importer Votto Vines, specializing in all things Italian! They were recently named Wine Enthusiast's Importer of the year for 2015. Come see what all the fuss is about!

Read more here: http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/wine-blogs/blog/entry/votto-wines-tasting

All tastings are from 4:30-7:00 at Metro Wines and are "on the house". Parking is convenient and free. Come taste and learn!

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"Reds for Ed": Drink Wine and Support our Schools!

"Reds for Ed": Drink Wine and Support our Schools!

If only all the wine that I drank helped out a cause, the world would be a much better place indeed! Fortunately for us, there is a way to help out our Public Schools with the wine that we drink. From 3:00-5:00pm on Valentines Day "Reds for Ed" will be having a wine tasting at Metro Wines to raise money for our School System. So, for $25 + tax, you can drink great wine and support our community at the same time!

Try these fantastic wines!

Paitin Barbera 2013

                One of our favorites in the shop! Made by a winery which predates the Renaissance, it is likely that Caravaggio enjoyed this wine himself. Barbera is the “everyday” wine of Italy’s Piedmont, but is capable of great complexity and beauty. Medium bodied, crisp and earthy, with flavors of cranberry, sour cherry and dusty strawberries, this wine is an excellent Pinot Noir alternative.

Chateau Monestier LaTour Bergerac Rouge

                A classic Bordeaux blend from the only American, woman winemaker in Bordeaux, Michelle D’Aprix! Merlot based, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, this wine is sure to please your palette whether you prefer Bordeaux or California! Flavors of blackberry, smoke, plum, leather and red cherry.

Maria Mora Reserva

                Portugal has been making fine wine for hundreds of years, but has only started exporting their dry table wines within the past few decades. Because they are less known, they are probably the best values coming out of Europe today! This is a blend of Portugal’s national grape, Touriga Nacional, blended with Syrah and Alicante Bouchet. Big and bold, with black pepper and spice. This wine sells for $36 in New York, but we are able to get it for far less because it is imported into Asheville!

Alto Sios

                A fantastic wine from a very small producer in Coster Del Segre, Spain. This is a blend of Syrah, Tempranillo and Garnatcha. Bold and powerful, with exotic spices and rich, jammy fruit. If you like Napa Cabernets, you will love this little gem from Spain!

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Go Big or go Sweet: Pairing Chocolate and Wine

Go Big or go Sweet: Pairing Chocolate and Wine

Pairing chocolate and wine is harder than you might think! Check out my latest article in Sophie Magazine for a quick guide to wine and chocolate pairing.

Go Big or Go Sweet: Pairing Chocolate and Wine

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Choosing the right Holiday Fizz

Having a hard time picking out the right bottle of bubbly for New Years eve? Check out my new article in Sophie Magazine!

http://sophiemagazine.com/uncategorized/choosing-the-right-holiday-fizz-from-cava-to-prosecco/

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Climate Change and the Wine in your Glass

Climate Change and the Wine in your Glass

 Another great article from the Wall Street Journal on the future of winemaking!

http://www.wsj.com/articles/6-reasons-why-the-future-of-wine-is-looking-bright-1449678164

I have always been a fan of Organic and Biodynamic farming for wine and welcome a return to the "old days" of winemaking, where wine was made from grapes and wasn't a manufactured product. (if you ever want to give yourself nightmares, do an internet search for "list of approved additives for wine"). Biodynamic wines are the way to go!

Also, I love their list of new wine regions that are thriving due to global warming. I look forward to trying those soon! They forgot about Austria and Germany, however. A few decades ago it was hard to get grapes to ripen here, now they are starting to produce incredible, powerful reds with great earthy qualities! Try out my favorite, Tinhof's "Zwei" Zweigelt around $18 and the Koehler Ruprecht Pinot Noir around $20. They are even starting to grow hot weather loving grapes like Syrah!

Furthermore, tthe future of wine will involve llearning lots of new regions other than Napa, Chianti, and Bordeaux. There are lots of new wine appelations popping up all over the world that are just as good as the more famous regions, at a fraction of the cost.

If you like the wines from Spain, try Potugeuse wines! They are practically giving them away right now in order to get onto the world's wine scene. For a wine that will knock your socks off at an everyday price, try Maria Mora Reserva around $15 or for a great alternative to expensive Cabernet, try Julia Kemper's Touriga Nacional at $21.

If Barolo is your poison, seek out some Aglianico from Campania. Try Fontanavecchia's from Taburno. It drinks a lot like a Barolo for less than $18!

If you prefer French wine, look to some of the new appelations in the Languedoc. Try the wines from Bandol, Maures, and Pic St. Loup. They are all similar to a good Rhone blend, but a bit more powerful and a touch more earthy. Try La Croix Peyrassol at $15 and Ermitage for $18. You will definitely get more complexity and flavor than you expect for that price!

We may have to learn a lot of new regions for fine wine in the near future, although it sounds like they will be made more responsibly and with less chemical additives than some of the "bulk" wines we currently have to sidestep. The future looks bright indeed!

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MetroWines Goes Global ON Skype Blog

MetroWines Goes Global ON Skype Blog
Staff at Skype picked up an online post by Kat McReynolds of MountainX and contacted MetroWines. "I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories showcasing original ways in which people use Skype and wine tasting over Skype totally grabbed my attention," said Natacha Brown, Skype Blog Editor.
 
Brown put together a post that includes a discussion of past Skype events as well as a video clip of our latest Skype with Gaetana Jacono Gola of Valle dell'Acate in Sicily. Link here: http://blogs.skype.com/2015/12/09/skype-and-metro-wines-share-a-taste-for-success/
 
The story will be promoted to the 5 million followers on Skype Twitter and to Skype Facebook that hosts a whopping 30 million followers. 
 
"We plan to broaden our use of Skype to bring winemakers from around the world to MetroWines," said Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "We also plan to make our Blind Tasting League (http://www.blindtastingleague.com/)  available to participants remotely through Skype."
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Talking Aglianico in the New York Times

Talking Aglianico in the New York Times

One of our favorite Italian varietals, Aglianico, was in the news today. Wine critic for the New York Times, Eric Asimov, compared them to Barolo and Barbaresco, but said that they could be difficult to find.
Read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/dining/wine-school-aglianico.html?_r=1

Here at the school, we are fortunate to not only have one but two Aglianicos of tremendously different styles!

The first is Terra di Vulcanos from Basilicata. Basilicata is basically the "ankle" of Italy's boot, and currently isn't very well known for fine wine production. The only area that actually does produce wine for export is along the slopes of the volcano, Mount Vulture. Aglianico thrives in the volcanic soil here. This wine is medium bodied and somewhat fruity, with flavors of raspberry, smoke and grape bubble gum.

My absolute favorite is the Fontanavecchia Aglianico from Taburno in Campania. Campania is located in the lower "shin" of italy's boot, near where you might kick a soccer ball if you were using Italy instead of your foot. This wine compares much closer to Barolo to me than the Vulture, with flavors of sour cherry, tobacco, and earth with a bracing shot of tannin to add structure. If you have ever wished that you could drink Barolo every night, this will get you pretty close without having to take out a second mortgage on your house!

Aglianico is probably my favorite obscure grape to recommend to Italian wine fans and I really can't think of a better pairing for a dry-aged ribeye steak! It was also a favorite of the ancient Romans. If you happened to find yourself in an ancient Roman restaurant and ordered from the reserve list, you would likely have been served an Aglianico! Do as the Romans did, drink Aglianico!

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December 2nd Blind Tasting Results

December 2nd Blind Tasting Results

Check out what happened over at the Blind Tasting League this week!

 

http://www.blindtastingleague.com/blog

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Holiday Wine Pairings that will get along better than your Family

Holiday Wine Pairings that will get along better than your Family

Check out my new article in Sophie Magazine!

 

http://sophiemagazine.com/features/holiday-wine-pairings-that-will-get-along-better-than-your-family/#more-19577

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Blind Tasting at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival: Round 2!

Blind Tasting at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival: Round 2!

Well the Asheville Wine & Food festival has come and gone again, and as always it was wonderful to attend! The Asheville School of Wine was there with blind tasting for both wine and beer. I was thrilled to be asked back to demonstrate the basics of deductive blind tasting not once, but twice to two seperate groups of people! Our resident beer expert Anita Riley showed a sold out crowd that blind tasting isn't just for wine, it can be done with Beer as well.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and especially to Sommelier Eric Crane who educated and entertained the crowd with me! If you missed the blind tastings at the Festival, fear not! Our Blind Tasting League meets twice a month at Metro Wines, the first wednesday is for Wine and the third wednesday is for Beer! Call ahead to make reservations or buy tickets online at www.blindtastingleague.com.

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