Travel Vicariously Through Wine

WSJ Talks Summer Vacation Deals
https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-the-travel-are-deals-this-summer-1525871296
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.
Plan a private class and tasting. And Bon voyage.
Call (828) 575-9525

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Great Rose' Tasting June

Great Rose Tasting @MetroWines
Saturday, June 2nd @MetroWines from 10am to 7pm
6 Bottles from around the world "on the taste" and "on the house"

As Featured in Carolina Epicurean
http://carolinaepicurean.com/2018/05/great-june-rose-tasting-at-metro-wines/

The Asheville School of Wine will be available all day

with a tasting notes for the "pours" and to discuss Rose!

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Francois Servin Talks @MetroWines

 

Francois Servin poured his Chablis @MetroWines on Saturday Night, May 19th.
There were over 40 people crowding the bar through the two hours of the tasting so a sit down interview was not possible. This is what I gleaned from Francois as he responded to questions from the crowd.
 
First, Francois is a lovely and engaging person, with or without great Chablis!
 
Francois is ALL about Chablis and so was his father before him and his father before him. So he likes, he makes, and he almost exclusively drinks Chablis. 
 
Francois says there is a danger beyond diversity in this singular approach to wine. If all you drink is your own, he says, "it's hard to tell if the wine is off."  Francois and other makers in Chablis have a regular get together where they taste test each other's wines.
 
But what if you got crazy, I asked Francois, and drank another wine? Waht wold it be? "Red Burgundy," he says. Some security, Francois believes, in this choice. "Because there is some pain with Bordeaux," says Francois.  "Bordeaux is either too old or too young, there is always something wrong and you don't know until you open the bottle!"
 
What if you get crazy again and decide to grow another varietal. What would it be?Sit down. "Zinfandel," says Francois. "Zinfandel is fruity and easy to drink." 
 
So not all things California are bad! But one thing that is bad is what the big early produces did to the name Chablis. The truth is that jug had a concoction of mostly table food grapes, not Chardonnay from Chablis. I ask Francois how we can get past the stigma of a big jug that calls itself Chablis. Francois suggests we refer to the bottle first as Chardonnay and then say it is "from Chablis."
 
BTW, Francois does not eat cheese. I ask what the cheese eaters would pair with his Chablis. Francois says some french cheese that I can't pronounce and "gruyere."
 

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.

All in all a good night. 
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Summer Class through OLLI Asheville

Asheville School of Wine 

Presents

Summer Wines

Local favorites Around the World

Tuesdays

Register through OLLI

olliasheville.com

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Are Expensive Wines Worth It?

"Are expensive Wines Worth It?"
John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines

Tells All for Capital at Play
http://www.capitalatplay.com/expensive-wines-worth/
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Great Rose' Tasting May

 

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. 

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OLLI Class: Summer White Wines

 

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. 

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Smockshop Wine Tasting

 
News Release: Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
About: Wine tasting with Winemaker for Hiyu and Smockshop
 

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. 

 
A very thoughtful and environmentally aware wine maker, Nate Ready operates a polyculture farm and uses biodynamic and organic practices in his production.
 
Wines "on the taste" and "on the house" include Hiyu Falcon Box, Arco Iris, Smock Shop Pinot Noir and Smock Shop Columbia Valley Red. 
 
“When I have Hiyu/Smock Shop wines, I am struck by the sense of place, complexity, and thoughtfulness which they embody," says Charlie Stanley of Rise Over Run, Distributor for the wines. "Master Sommelier and winemaker Nate Ready’s wines harken to  historical classics of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley, while they are firmly rooted in American expression existing at the intersection of natures agricultural beauty and human ingenuity.”
 

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."

 
Read more about Smockshop here: https://www.smockshopband.com/About-Us

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Asheville Wine Focus Group

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.
 
The Group really liked all four wines for various reasons. When making decisions, in addition to versatility and being well crafted, price to quality ratio is also a consideration.
 
The Pala Cannonau from Sardegna was a less fruity more structured version than you generally encounter. The Group determined that this wine needs food and as we discovered a little air. After we tasted all four wines, we came back around to the Cannonau and those that were not fans on the first taste, appreciated the wine with the changes the air brought. Bryan explained that different wines call for different amounts of air and temperature.
 
And the Remo Farina Ripasso! We really liked the fact that this bottle was not heavy on the raisin taste. Some of the Group said they have hesitated to try Ripasso and certainly Amarone because the raisin taste smothers the bottle and not in a good way. If you like Amarone and find it out of your price range, Bryan suggested a Ripasso as an alternative. This full bodied, full flavored bottle at $23 is well worth it.
 
And now the winners!
 
Copertino is a blend of 95% Negroamaro and 5% Malvasia. This is where price to quality ratio was a factor. It is very unusual to find a bottle of wine that CAN be aged, that HAS been aged and successfully aged for 10 years for only $16.99.
The wine is rustic yet soft with flavors of black berries and earth. A robust wine, Copertino is always aged 2 years  prior to release becoming refined and elegant with the aging. Serve at 65 degrees. Copertino has the WOW factor. You can enjoy this wine by the glass at Nightbell and Cucina 24 in Asheville.
 
Terlano Muller Thurgau was a close second. Muller Thurgau IS the varietal. You can see how it might have suffered securing placement in the American market. The German grape Blaufrankish is called Franconia in Italy. Same taste on the palate but easier on the ear! Just a thought. Made in Northern Italy, Alto Adige, the wine is German in style.
 
Pale yellow in the glass with aromatic tropical fruits on the nose, the wine is medium bodied on the palate with flavors of mango and peach balanced with a crisp acidity. The Group agreed with James Suckling who awarded 91 Points! We thought this wine was perfect to enjoy without food but would make a take out bowl of fried rice from Gan Shan Station sing! And you have time. Bryan tells us that this wine could go another 10 years in the bottle.
 
Other wines from Mims that you may know include "Shop Favorites" such as Pentimento and the Maz Caz wines from Michele d'Aprix as well as Flor de Montgo organic Tempranillo.
 
Join us for Asheville Wine Focus Group on May 2nd when Derek Rubio of Skyland Distributing will be our host.
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Women Winemakers Dinner

 

WOW! What a night. Good wine. Great menu. Excellent pairings. And Juniper Cooper of Mutual Distribution took us through the amazing world of women winemakers! The menu was set but at the last minute, we decided to step outside the wine box and called an audible.
 
First, we served Beef Carpaccio with Soave. Oh yes, we did! From Sauvia, the Soave is made by a family of four women. Founded in the 1600s, the family started exporting in the 1800s to Spain and England. The emphasis today is on sustainability and the women are pioneering the biodynamic movement in wine.
 
 
We shook up it up again and paired the Priorat with tuna and avocado with sesame and ginger dressing. GR-174 2015, a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the wine is made by Anna Gallisa. 
 
First established as a priory in the 1500s by a group of friars seeking to be closer to God, this high point was called "Scala Dei." The priory kept copious records. The methods and blends are historically accurate. The wine is balanced, structured and offers up black fruit on the nose and palate. Juniper Cooper says the wine is "a big bang for the buck" and is "approachable yet complex."
 
Pork Belly was paired with, although they said it couldn't be done! Napa Valley!  Made wine by Sarah Fuller, Piccolo Red is a Bordeaux blend. Starting her career scrubbing the floors, Sarah Fuller carries credentials and clout including stints at Quintessa and Estancia in South America. Her focus is on sustainable farming.
 
 
Vanilla Sky partnered up with Signature Rose, a blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir, from Susana Balbo made in the UCO Valley, Mendoza. Born in the 1950s in Argentina, Susana was encouraged by her parents to study nuclear physics. Fun as it was!!, Susana finally said NO to physics and yes to wine. She also started down the winding wine road scrubbing barrels. Susana was the first woman winemaker in Argentina and is still considered one of the best.
 
Juniper described this rose as "manifesting spring!" But even more than that, what we found was that the wine had a cameleon like quality. The wine works with flavors, adjusting where necessary, without losing it's character or strength. Here again, we went off campus. The dessert was sweet, no question, and some might have thought a dry rose would clash, but no, cameleon! The inclsuion of 40% Pinot Noir provided enough fruit to partner.
 

Subscribe to our Sunday Email or follow our online calendar for news of dinners and wine pairing events.

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Comings and goings

Brechat ram mt hermon

     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.

Cheers!  

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Valentine's Day dinner at the Princess Anne Hotel

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     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!

Cheers!

 

This was originally posted on the Wine Blog at the Metro Wines Asheville website.

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Featured

Wine Basics Class

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     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.

Cheers!

For more information on our classes, as well as our schedule, visit www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com

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Featured

Traveling Vicariously - Tuscany

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     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!

Cheers!

    -Juan.

*For more information on our classes, visit www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com

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It's a Fracas!

It's a Fracas!

Wine is subjective, and that is part of the fun of drinking it. You might spit out a taste of my favorite wine, and I might not think your prized Napa Cab is worth $200. And that's ok. It wouldn't be as much fun if we all agreed on everything and liked all of the same things.

What I'm getting at is even professionals disagree from time to time, and that's exactly what is going on a Metro Wines right now. Normally this sort of thing is handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy when regarding your collegue's opinion.

But not this time. It's getting ugly and turning into a real fracas.

You may have seen signs around the shop boasting "Andy's Pick" right next to a bottle showing "Gina's Pick." Andy likes Guido Porro's Barbera, and Gina likes Paitin's. Gina likes the O.P.P. Pinot Noir, and Andy prefers Montinore's. Which do you like better?

If you want to get in on the fracas, come by the shop and try each of our wines. See which one you like better, and report back. It's like taking the "Pepsi Challenge," but with wine and way more competitive! 

 

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Piedmont, Barolo and Barbera Class

Piedmont, Barolo and Barbera Class

 Have you ever noticed that almost all of the wines from the Piedmont region of Italy have similar names? Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera...it can be hard to keep them straight!

This is why we are excited to hold a class on just the wines of Piedmont! We will talk about all of the famous grape varietals and wine regions and even pour tastes of several wines. We will even pour Barolo, the most famous and expensive wine in Piedmont!

To get an insider's view on Barolo, we will even speak to Valentina Abbona from the famous vineyard, Marchesi di Barolo, live via Skype! A truly rare opportunity to speak to someone who has made wine in Barolo all of her life. We will also taste some of her wines!

Join us on Tuesday, September 19th, from 5:30 to 6:30 for a night of fun, information and of course, great wine! The cost is $20.

Call 828 575-9525 to make your reservation.

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The Grapevine: Learning about Wine

The Grapevine: Learning about Wine

In case you missed it, there was a great article on blind tasting in the Laurel of Asheville magazine!  The author, our own Gina Trippi, sites blind tasting as the best way to learn to taste wine like a pro.

I agree. To me, learning to describe the complex flavors in our favorite wines is the main reason to blind taste, learning to guess the grape and place is secondary.

Check out the whole article here!

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About Wine and Wedding Cake...

About Wine and Wedding Cake...
Wedding cake and Champagne are a surprisingly bad combination. They are frequently served together, but have you really ever enjoyed the combination? A Brut Champagne tastes bitter and overly acidic next to a bite of the sweet, frosting covered cake. The solution? Try a bubbly that is just a little off-dry.
 
In our food and wine pairing class, our students gave the thumbs down to a slightly sweet Spanish Cava when they were drinking it on its own. But when served next to a cake with buttercream frosting, the perception of sweetness disappeared! The Cava no longer tasted sweet and it didn't taste bitter like the Brut Champagne did.
 
The next time you are serving bubbly with cake, opt for one with some residual sugar and avoid making a bitter wine face.
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The School Hosts a Class on Food and Wine Pairing at OLLI

The School Hosts a Class on Food and Wine Pairing at OLLI

Well, we finally did it! We've been threatening for a few years to hold a class on food and wine pairing through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville and we finally did it.

I've always said that the best way to teach food and wine pairing is to show it with actual food and wine combinations and let everyone decide what works and what doesn't. This experimental course sought to do just that.

We had a different lunch catered by a local restaurant for our class each week and we paired different wines with the food. We picked wines that would pair well with the food, and intentionally picked some that would be a terrible pairing so that we can see what works and what doesn't. I'll admit, after so many years pairing wine, it was a surprising amount of fun picking wines that will be an absolute disaster with the food we were serving!

Here are some of the things that we learned in our class:

  1. Wines that are slightly sweet go really well with spicy Asian cuisine.
  2. Champagne is a curiously good pairing for fried chicken.
  3. Pinot Noir worked "ok" at best as a universal pairing.
  4. Champagne and wedding cake was a surprisingly bad combination, but a sparkling wine that was slightly off-dry tasted much less bitter.
  5. Sauternes and Apple Pie are "birds of a feather"

The food was catered by Strada, the Golden Fleece, Gan Shan Station, Corner Kitchen Catering, Homegrown, and also Geraldines and 50 Fifty Desserts for our dessert class.

If you didn't make it into the class this semester, we will offer a repeat of the same course for the spring semester. More information about the OLLI program here https://olliasheville.com/

 

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The Asheville School of Wine holds it's First Class!

The Asheville School of Wine holds it's First Class!

Well, we have actually been teaching classes through the continuing adult education department at our local university for a few years now, but this was the first class that was open to the public.

The class was called "Wine Essentials" and went over the basics of wine. We started off by learning to describe the different flavor components of wine, then talked about common grape varietals, followed by a crash course in terroir and then finished up with some practical tips to get the most enjoyment out of your wine. How to start a wine cellar, when to decant and why, serving temperatures for your favorite wines and the basics of food and wine pairing.

If you missed it, there are 5 more classes in our series with one premiering every month. The next classes will deal with the major grape varietals and regions of some of our favorite wine making countries.

We still have a few seats left for our next class in which we will cover the wines of France. Learn about the grapes and history of Bordeaux, why you can't call your favorite California bubbly "Champagne" and why "White Burgundy" isn't an oxymoron!

Learn about the other classes in our series and buy tickets here: http://www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com/schedule

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