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At each Blind Tasting League gathering, using the techniques of the masters, you will learn how to identify the grape, country of origin and more and more as we progress through the wide world of wine. You can pick and choose the classes but the more you come, the more you learn!

May 5th Blind Tasting Results

Another exciting night at Asheville’s Blind Tasting League, and a high scoring game as well! Our taste buds were tuned in and we were guessing very accurately.

The Wine:  Riff Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy, 2015
What We Tasted: Lemongrass, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Earth, Pear, Green Apple, “Plastic,” “Wet Slate,” Strawberry
What we Guessed: Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, German Riesling, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio
What we Thought: This affordable Pinot Grigio was relatively popular with our group overall. Comments ranged from “So-so,” to “I wouldn’t turn it down,” to “I could drink a lot of this!” Tasters commented on its “smooth finish” and “light body,” but some thought that it “needs food.” Still a good showing for an $11 Pinot Grigio.

The Wine: Frisk “Prickly Riesling,” Victoria, Australia, 2015
What we Tasted: “Petrol,” Unripe Peach, “White Camping Gas,” Passion fruit, “Pool Floaties,” Pear, Spicy, “Diesel fuel,” Round Mouthfeel, “Sparkling Pear Juice from the kid’s table at Thanksgiving,” Apple Cobbler
What we Guessed: We were all pretty sure this was Riesling, but we couldn’t agree on where it was from. Guesses were German Riesling, Alsatian Riesling, “Riesling from somewhere else”, Sauvignon Blanc
What we Thought: Despite having a little residual sugar, this wine was really popular with our tasting panel! “I like it,” said one taster, “I could drink that!” exclaimed another, and one taster said that the flavor was “soothing.” A few tasters didn’t like it as much, one just said “not so much” while another taster who wrinkled up her nose at the diesel smell of the wine admitted that “it tastes better than it smells.” Most of us agreed that it had a “lingering finish,” and would be “good with dessert.”

The Wine: Jason Stephens Merlot, Santa Clara Valley, California, 2012
What we Tasted: “Wet Pavement,” Medicinal, “Freshly Painted Room,” Plum, “Saddle Leather,” Chocolate covered Cherry, Dried Figs, Blackberry, Anise, Cigar, Vanilla
What we Guessed: California Bordeaux-Style Blend, High Altitude Chilean Zinfandel, Argentinian Cabernet, California Merlot, California Pinot Noir
What we Thought: As soon as we got our noses into our glasses, a wave of oohs and aahhs swept through the room. I feel like that is a very good sign! I don’t think there was a single negative comment on this wine. “It’s great,” said one taster, “I’m a fan,” said another, “so smooth!” said another. This is why blind tasting is so great! It’s been hard to get our customers to try merlot in the post-Sideways world we live in now, and our entire panel really enjoyed this one when they didn’t know it was Merlot. Always trust your own taste buds over the opinions of wine experts!

The Wine: Four Vines Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2014
What we Tasted: Red Raspberries, Black Pepper, “Cherry cotton candy,” Vanilla, “Jammy,” Mulberry, “Rust,” “Grape Bubble Gum,” “The inside of a powedered jelly doughnut”
What we Guessed: Northern California Barbera, California Zinfandel, California Cabernet Franc, Italian Nebbiolo, “Atypical Pinot Noir”
What we Thought: This one wasn’t as popular with our tasting panel as the previous Merlot. While some found it “inoffensive,” or “not horrible,” it was downright disliked by some others. “This tastes like a by the glass wine at a restaurant” said one taster, another said it was “the diet coke of wine” and one guessed that it was a “Gallo wine.” Ouch!

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April 5th Blind Tasting Results

At our most recent Blind Tasting League, we had the opportunity to meet with the “Treasure Hunter” himself, Hunter Vogel. Hunter is a modern day negociant, he buys wine from some of the top producers in California, Washington State and Europe, and bottles them under his Treasure Hunter label. He donated two of the wines for our Blind Tasting League that night, and we had a lot of fun speaking with him about how he chooses the wines he buys, and also how he is able to convince the winemakers to sell them to him for pennies on the dollar!

The Wine: Zaca Mesa Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Pineapple, Grapefruit, Apple, “Metal Nail File,” Marshmallow, Honey, “Cavity Filling,” Tropical Fruit, “Bitter Mineral”

What we Guessed: Our tasting group was mostly split between Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and most of us guessed that we were in France on this one. We were way off! We didn’t pick up much in the way of the usual floral Viognier aromas, and mostly got rich, citrus fruit flavors.

What we Thought: We were split on what we thought of this acid-heavy Viognier. Some tasters thought that it “needs food,” and one specifically said that it “needs Salmon,” while some liked it on its own. “I would just drink it by itself” said one acid-loving taster, and I agreed. We all agreed that it would happily keep a Salmon filet or Grouper company!

 

The Wine: “Churn” Chardonnay, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Pear, “Golden Delicious Apple,” “Butterscotch,” “Circus Peanut Candy,” Kiwi, “Canned pears,” “Garden with too many flowers,” “Del-Monte Fruit Cocktail,” “Orchard where the fruit is too old”

What we Guessed: German Riesling, California Chardonnay

What we Thought: Most of us really liked this new Chardonnay from the Treasure Hunter series. “A great porch sipper” said one taster, “I like it” said another. Although some tasters found the rich, spiced-apricot flavor unappealing. “I would drink it if I was out of everything else,” quipped one taster. A good reason to keep a well-stocked wine cellar!

 

The Wine: Decero Cabernet Sauvgnon, Mendoza, Argentina, 2013

What we Tasted: “Sweet berry goodness,” Cigar, Caramel, “Jammy Currants,” “Goji Berry,” “Dried Cherry,” “Alcohol,” “Luden’s Cherry Cough Drop,” Chocolate, Black Fruit, Smoke

What we Guessed: Spanish Temranillo, California Cabernet Franc, Barbera/Petite Syrah Blend, Sangiovese, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

What we Thought: This one was a big hit! When we dug our noses into this big, spicy red, we all guessed that this was the Treasure Hunter. It just tasted expensive to us. “Love it,” said one taster, “I want to drink this in front of a big fire,” said another. “This would be good with a roast lamb on a spit” commented another taster. The only negative comment was that the nose wasn’t great, although they said that “it tastes better than the nose.” Overall, this was a great cab for the price!

 

The Wine: Treasure Hunter “Side Piece” Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla, Washington, 2015

What we Tasted: “Berry fruit,” Licorice, Tobacco, Spicy, “Itchy,” “Alcohol,” Lavender, “Grape Popsicle,” Blueberry, Vanilla, “Unripe Persimmon,” “Peach Yoghurt”

What we Guessed: Argentine Malbec, California Zinfandel, California Pinot Noir, Syrah

What we Thought: When we finally tasted the Treasure Hunter wine, our group of tasters was definitely impressed, although we were thrown by the lighter style of this Washington State Cab. Comments were very good though; “I like it,” said one, “this would be awesome with a steak,” said another. “This has a nice long finish,” commented another, a former wine judge. Overall a good showing for this Treasure Hunter Cabernet.

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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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Meet the "Treasure Hunter" at the next Blind Tasting League!

Meet the "Treasure Hunter" at the next Blind Tasting League!

Many of you that frequent Metro Wines have tried the wines from Hunter Vogel, the "hunter" from "Treasure Hunter" wines. They are a favorite of ours, and if you ask us for a $20 wine that drinks like a $60 one, odds are very good that we would suggest one of his.

There is a reason that Hunter's wines are so good. He buys leftover wine from some of the top producers in the world. Producers that are so famous that they can actually make more money by selling less wine because the increased demand drives the price of the wines up. Basically, Hunter is able to buy leftover wine from producers like Caymus and Silver Oak and sell them for pennies on the dollar. The only catch is, he can't tell us who he bought them from. But it is a lot of fun to guess!

If you want to meet Hunter, you will get a chance at the next Blind Tasting League. We will feature two wines from Hunter's collection, but of course, we won't know which ones are his until after we taste them. Hunter will also be on hand to talk about his wines.

Come out on April the 5th at 6:00 for a chance to taste some really great wines and to meet the producer himself! 

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March 1st Blind Tasting Results

 Another sold out Blind Tasting League, and a high-scoring one at that! 

The Wine: Woodlands Chardonnay, Wilyabrup Valley, Australia, 2014

What we Tasted: Tart Apple, banana, Tropical Fruit, Pear, lemongrass, Steel, “Stale Water,” Vanilla, “Lemon Curd,” Ginger, Chalk, “Funky Smell,” Lemon/Citrus, Floral

What we Guessed: US Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Argentine Pinot Grigio

What we Thought: For the most part, our panel enjoyed this wine. Comments ranged from “Strong, but not complex,” and  “relatively simple” to “Enjoyable.” Although one taster said it was “too tart,” most agreed that this Australian Chardonnay was a nice alternative to the more common California Chardonnays.

 

The Wine: Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2016

What We Tasted: “Starburst Candy,” Smoky Apricot, “Bouquet of Flowers,” “Gooseberry,” banana, “Passion Fruit,” Grapefruit, “Fruity Minerals,” Mango, “Dragon Fruit,”

What we Guessed: While everyone guessed Sauvignon Blanc, we were divided about whether it was from New Zealand, Chile or California.

What we Thought: New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs can be a love it or hate it kind of thing, and our tasting panel was divided on this one. One taster shouted “Awesome!” after tasting it, while another scrunched up his nose and said “I don’t like it.” “Different” quipped another taster while another said it “needed food.” Regardless of whether they loved it or hated it, it was definitely a classic New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc.

 

The Wine: Pietralta Sangiovese, Chianti, Italy, 2015

What we Tasted: Black Cherry, “Truffles,” Cedar, “Sandalwood,” Black Pepper, Sour Cherry, “Wet Pavement,” Chalky, “Raspberry Taffy,” Spicy

What we Guessed: While one taster guessed Pinot Noir for this lighter than average Chianti, most of us were firmly in Italy. Nebbiolo was a common guess along with Barbera, while a few correctly guessed Sangiovese. I was sure this was Barbera.

What we Thought: Mostly we liked this lean and spicy Sangiovese. “I would like it with food,” said one taster, “So dry” said another at the high levels of acidity in the wine. Another mentioned that while she didn’t like the nose, it “smelled better than it tasted.” All in all, most of us agreed that it would happily keep pizza or bruschetta company!

 

The Wine: Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2014

What We Tasted: “Rubbing Alcohol,” Cherries, Honey, Nutmeg, “Pickle Juice,” Licorice, “Dried Fruit”, Molasses, “Minty,” “Dr. Pepper”

What we Guessed:  While almost all of us guessed new world and most of us guessed California specifically, we couldn’t agree on the varietal. Zinfandel was a popular guess, along with Merlot. There were a few guesses for Australian Shiraz and even a Grenache from Spain. No one actually guessed Cabernet on this soft, fruity wine.

What we Thought: Despite no one recognizing it as Cabernet, it was very popular with our group! “I would drink it while watching a movie” said one taster, “Likeable enough” said another and another said they liked it “better than the other one.” Although we had a few grumbles about the wine being overly soft and “like drinking felt” most enjoyed the wine. One taster said that it “tastes better the more of it you drink.” Don’t they all!

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