WOW Wine Tasting


It’s time for our first Grape Nuts Wow Wines tasting of 2012, and the generous folks from Fine Wine Trading Company will join us to show off some of their best selections.  The tasting takes place on Monday, March 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the store.  These quarterly tastings are just one of the incentives of becoming a Grape Nut, as we only accept members for these events.  To learn more about what a Grape Nut is, click here.

We’ll sample nothing but delicious, small lot wines from a number of boutique California wineries.  Even better, you’ll have the chance to purchase the wines at seriously discounted prices.  All wines will be offered at 20% off by the bottle, and light palate cleansers will be served as well.  Take a look at the awesome lineup!


1. 2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc – This Napa Valley based winery was started by James Stewart with winemaking handled by Stephen Test, who formerly made wines for Merryvale.  It is a great way to get our little party started – bright, fresh and packed with tangy citrus, this will get the taste buds “opened up”!

2. 2011 Tensley Camp 4 Vineyard Blanc – Robert Parker named Joey Tensley “one of Santa Barbara’s budding superstar winemakers”, and I would have to agree.  This is the new vintage of his only white wine, a 180 case, white Rhone lookalike blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.  It is dry, beautifully aromatic and reminiscent of a white Chateauneuf du Pape.

3. 2010 Frank Family Chardonnay – Who likes Rombauer?Rich Frank purchased his winery on the advice of his friend Koerner Rombauer in 1992 – it happens to be the site of the old Larkmead Winery.  The estate Chardonnay is rich, buttery, fat and very easy to like………..if you like Rombauer!

4. 2010 Fiddlehead Pink Fiddle – Dry Rosé season is right around the corner and Fiddlehead makes one of California’s finest.  100% Pinot Noir from estate vineyards in California’s Santa Rita Hills, only 300 cases are produced and it is a lot of fun to drink.  It is not anything like White Zin!!!!!

5. 2007 Lava Cap Grenache – This small family winery was founded in 1981 by Tom and Jeanne Jones in El Dorado County in California’s Sierra Foothills region.  Super low yielding Grenache forms the basis for this 350 case production, soft, lush fruit bomb of a wine with ripe cherry, strawberry and spice notes.

6. 2008 W.H. Smith Pinot Noir – Bill and Joan Smith founded their winery in 1992, and early on, they were mentored by none other than Helen Turley, one of California’s top winemakers. They obviously listened to Helen, as their wines win awards and praise yearly.  This is their “entry-level” Pinot made with fruit from four sites along the Sonoma Coast, and it is a lovely expression of the grape with notes of ripe black cherry, plum, rose petal and spice.

7. 2008 Fiddlehead Pinot Noir “728” – Kathy Joseph makes incredible Pinot Noirs from her vineyards scattered throughout California’s Santa Rita Hills AVA.  In fact, one of her wines was featured in the movie Sideways, and yes, Miles loved it!  You will too.

8. 2009 W.H. Smith Pinot Noir “Maritime” – This is the estate’s flagship wine and is the wine the Smiths consider their finest in each vintage.  The 2009 is from a fantastic vintage and only about 800 cases were produced.  It is a big Pinot with lots of ripe dark fruits, exotic spices and velvety texture.  I can’t wait to try it with you!

9. 2009 Andrew Murray Esperance – Andrew Murray is in love with Rhone varietals, and he likes to make big, jammy, intense wines.  This one is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre with tons of body and depth highlighted by notes of cherry liqueur, blueberry, pepper and spice notes.  Can someone please bring a leg of lamb to pair with this one!?

10. 2009 Klinker Brick Zinfandel “Old Vine” – Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.  This is no shy wine at 15.8% alcohol, but it holds that octane very nicely and offers up very easy to like notes of jammy strawberry and black cherry with vanilla, cedar and spice notes galore.

11. 2010 Tensley Syrah “Coulson Canyon” – This is one of Robert Parker’s favorite California Syrahs – one taste, and you’ll see why!  It always scores in the 93 to 96 point range, and this is their newest release – try it and buy it before it gets reviewed and gets sold out!

12. 2008 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon – We’ll finish up with a wine that took my breath away when tasted last Friday.Rich Frank produced a wonderful wine in the difficult 2008 vintage in Napa that was rewarded with a 92 point scored from Robert Parker.  The distributor is almost out of this one, but they’ve moved into the 2009 vintage, which has been compared to 2007……….that means 2009 could easily be better!!!

Ridge and Ribs

Ridge and Ribs

Thursday, August 4 at Table Wine
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
$50 per person/$40 for Grape Nuts


If you love wine, you’re probably familiar with the wines of Ridge Vineyards.  This California estate is run admirably by the iconic Paul Draper, one of California’s most respected winemakers both at home and abroad.  If ever the “wine authorities” were to classify the estates of California like they’ve done in Bordeaux, Ridge would without a doubt be a First Growth.

We’ll sample 6 Ridge wines accompanied by barbecue from either Luella’s or 12 Bones.  Yes, we’ll be sampling several Zinfandels as these are the wines that many associate with Ridge, but we’ll also sample the wines from their Santa Cruz Mountain estate vineyard which includes fruit from the famous Monte Bello Vineyard.

With the focus primarily on big, hearty and spicy reds, the smoky and rich flavors of slow cooked meat will work incredibly well.  Yes, we’ll have ribs, but we’ll also have other meats and sides of course.  We’re taking 36 lucky folks for this one, so call us at 828.505.8588 to reserve your spot. Here’s the lineup of wines:

Ridge and Ribs

1. 2009 Chardonnay “Estate” Santa Cruz Mountains

2. 2009 Zinfandel “Three Valleys” Sonoma County

3. 2009 Zinfandel “Ponzo Vineyard” Russian River Valley

4. 2008 Zinfandel “Lytton Springs” Sonoma County

5. 2009 Zinfandel “Geyserville Sonoma County

6. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Santa Cruz Mountains

A Fourth of July Winedown

Friday, July 1 at Table Wine – South Asheville’s Top Wine Store
“A Tasting To Celebrate Independence Day”
4 to 7 p.m.
In honor of Independence Day, this tasting is FREE!!!!

Wines For the 4th

Table Wine wants to make sure that you’re properly prepared for your Fourth of July Celebrations, so we’re offering a free wine tasting in honor of America gaining her indepedence from the British.  Richard McKinney of Tryon Distributing will be in house to pour some classic favorites from California.  As always, we’ll provide a nice little spread of palate cleansers, but we welcome folks to bring in their own culinary concoctions.  Oh yeah, the lineup of wines is super……….take a look!

2009 Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – $15.99/bottle………….$6/glass
The Honig family make one of California’s most popular Sauvignon Blancs and when you taste it, I think you’ll see why.  It is fresh and lively with nice citrus, apple and fig notes.  This small family winery is probably one of the “greenest” in California with a long legacy of sustainable and organic viticultural practices.

2009 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros – $35.99/bottle……………..$12/glass
Rombauer Chardonnay is the prototype Cali-Chard – big, rich, buttery and toasty, this is not a shy, delicate Chardonnay at all.  Try it with lobster and dip your lobster right in the wine instead of using butter!

NV Marietta Old Vine Lot 53 Sonoma County – $15.99/bottle……………$6/glass
Robert Parker has consistently called this one of the great red wine values of California, and I tend to agree with him.  The blend changes from year to year, but it’s always Zinfandel dominant, with smaller amounts of Petite Sirah and assorted other varietals.  It’s also always juicy, jammy, spicy and delicious.  The perfect 4th of July grilling wine.

2008 Peirano Estate Petite Sirah Lodi – $12.99/bottle……………$5/glass
This family estate makes some of the most reliable values in California, but their Petite Sirah really stands out.  It’s a rich, dark fruited wine with plenty of body and grip and a nice toasty oak finish.  Another great grillin’ and chillin’ wine.

2007 Robert Sinskey P.O.V. Napa Valley – $35.99/bottle…………….$12/glass
Robert Sinskey is one of California’s leading authorities on organics and biodynamics, and his wines are consistently awesome.  This one, which stands for “Point of View” reminds me of a really great Right Bank Bordeaux.  It is primarily Merlot, with smaller amounts of Cabernt Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and it just really glides across the palate with lovely notes of ripe cherry, cassis, spices and smoke.

2008 Neyers Syrah “Old Lakeville Road Vineyard” Sonoma Coast – $37.99/bottle…………….$13/glass
Goodness gracious this wine is good!  From rootstock obtained in Cornas, Hermitage and Cote Rotie, this is California Syrah in top form.  Notes of creme de cassis, black cherry liqueur, exotic spices and bacon fat burst out of the glass and the palate is firm, but not austere in the slightest.  This would be great with a heavily peppered steak or lamb dish.

10% off on 6 bottle purchases
15% off on 12 bottle purchases
20% off on 60 bottle purchases, and you can team up with friends to get this one!

An All American Friday Winedown!

Friday, June 24 at Table Wine – South Asheville’s Premiere Wine Retailer
“California Dreamin”
4 to 7 p.m.

$10 per person/$5 for Grape Nuts – includes taste of 8 wines and light palate cleansers!

California Wine Country

Table Wine will be the Asheville wine shop to be at this Friday, as we’re really upping the ante this week with 8 awesome wines from all over California.  John O’Shea of Juice Wine Purveyors will be joining us and pouring a number of limited production, boutique wines from his portfolio.  We’re charging a little bit of money for this one, and I think once you see the list, it will make sense.

As always, we’ll provide cheese, crackers and some other nibblies, but we welcome you to bring your own appetizer or light bite to share with your wine loving friends.  A special thanks to Betsy Metcalf and George Lowe for bringing the rum cakes and bacon jam last week……..both were awesome!  See you this Friday.

2010 Anne Amie Muller Thurgau Willamette Valley, Oregon – $17.99/bottle…………….$7/glass
Ok, so I know this isn’t from California, but it’s so good I had to include it in the tasting.  Muller Thurgau is a grape of German heritage, but the up and coming Anne Amie estate makes a small amount of it from vines originally planted in 1979.  It is a super clean, crisp white wine with aromas and flavors of green apple, melon, passion fruit and white flowers.  Great with a bowl of mussels or on the back porch with friends.

2009 Dancing Coyote Chenin Blanc Clarksburg, California – $14.99/bottle………………..$6/glass
Dancing Coyote is a family run, owned and operated vineyard located in a beautiful stretch of land in California’s Clarksburg appellation.  They blend some Gewurztraminer and Muscat into their Chenin as well, creating a beautifully aromatic and fruit driven white wine.  It displays ripe and zesty aromas and flavors of pear, apple and lime and is just a great all around summer wine.  Just 218 cases made!

2007 De Sante Sauvignon Blanc “Old Vines” Napa Valley, California – $29.99/bottle……………..$10/glass
This is one of the best California Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever had!  It very much reminds me of Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that consistently gets 93 to 96 point scores from Wine Spectator and that costs a lot more.  It is not grassy or lean at all, but instead is very exotic, rich and full bodied with beautiful notes of honeysuckle, honeydew melon, pear and citrus.  Just 240 cases made.

2008 Mellisa Kelly Chardonnay Sonoma County, California – $31.99/bottle………………..$10/glass
This is incredible Chardonnay that tastes like one of those impossible-to-get, highly rated, super expensive Chardonnays from a “cult” producer.  Mellisa and Mark Kelly moved from South Carolina to California about 8 years ago, and after working for some superstar wineries, they took the leap and started their own operation.  400 cases of this wine are made and all of the fruit is from the Sangiacomo Vineyard, one of California’s unofficial “Grand Cru” sites for Chardonnay.  It tastes really good and that’s all I’ve got to say about that one!  Come see for yourself.

2007 Byron Kosuge Pinot Noir “Seri” Mendocino Ridge, California – $26.99/bottle…………….$9/glass
Byron Kosuge was the long time winemaker at Saintsbury, one of California’s early reference point estates for Pinot Noir.  He recently started his own operation, and the wines are all ready receiving glowing praise.  A whopping 125 cases of this wine were made, and it is just lovely, luscious Pinot Noir that tastes like one that would typically cost a lot more money.  Layers of ripe cherry and blueberry mingle with smoky spices in this fuller bodied, richer-styled Pinot Noir.  It would be perfect with filet mignon, lamb chops and other grilled meats.

2009 Clif Family Climber Red California – $14.99/bottle…………………$6/glass
This is the same Clif family that makes Clif Bars!  This is an extreme California value with fruit sourced primarily from organically farmed vineyards in Lodi and Mendocino.  The blend is 63% Zinfandel, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah and a little bit of Petite Sirah and Merlot, and it is a boisterous, rich, spicy red wine perfect for grilled meats, bbq and the like.

2008 Odisea Veritable Quandry Red California – $20.99/bottle……………..$8/glass
Odisea is a unique operation run by industry veterans Adam Webb and Mike Kuenz.  They started their operation to produce wines from varietals that they love and are truly passionate about. They love the wines of southern France and Spain’s Iberian Peninsula, and they work primarily with Mediterranean grapes.  This one is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and Tempranillo from old vines throughout the state and only 440 cases are produced.  If offers up intense notes of black cherry, cassis, plum, black pepper and assorted spices.  Really delicious wine!

2007 Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California – $24.99/bottle……………….$9/glass
This wine tastes like it should cost $50 or more and it’s got some great credentials as well.  The wine is made by Scott McCleod who carved his niche in the Napa Valley and beyond by launching, defining, and perfecting the Rubicon Estate and Francis Ford Coppola wines.  Grapes are sourced from a vineyard in Rutherford right next door to Caymus, and the wine is just plain delicious with lots of creme de cassis, black cherry, cedar and spice box notes.

Table Wine offers 10% off on six mixed bottles and 15% off on mixed cases.

Cazar Chardonnay

A Really Classy California Chardonnay

2008 Cazar Chardonnay
Russian River Valley, California

Cazar Chardonnay

Table Wine is one of the top spots in Asheville to get traditionally made wines from small family producers, and we are more than pleased to be stocking our first wine from Bill Hunter.  Bill is the man behind the highly rated Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Chasseur (French for hunter), and I truly admire his hands-off approach to making wine.  In a previous life, when I was employed with The Country Vintner, I sold an awful lot of Chasseur Chard and Pinot in the Highlands and Cashiers markets, and I’m glad to see that Bill is now bottling a delicious and affordable “second wine”.

What makes Mr. Hunter different than a lot of winemakers in California is not what he does to his wines, but what he doesn’t do to them.  He believes that great wines are made in the vineyard as opposed to the laboratory and that if you have good, mature, ripe fruit you don’t really need to do much to the wine for it to taste great.  Thus, Bill chooses to use wild/native yeasts to ferment his wines as opposed to yeasts developed in a lab that are created to bring out certain flavor components and characteristics in a wine.  The wild yeasts are those that are present in the vineyard and on the vines, and many of us believe that using these yeasts results in wines that express a true sense of place.  Bill also believes in long, slow and cool fermentations, thus ensuring that every ounce of flavor is extracted from the high quality grapes, and he doesn’t fine or filter his wines, thus preserving all of the good stuff inherent in good grapes.  The result is a delicious, rich and lively expression of Chardonnay.

The first whiff I get upon pouring the wine is an almost caramel, roasted nut aroma, but as I sink my nose deeper into the glass, I get at the nice, ripe orchard fruits within.  As the wine comes closer to room temperature, more tropical fruit notes come out as well as some wet stone/mineral accents that you rarely find in California.  On the palate, the wine is pretty full bodied and nicely textured, but there is a nice vein of acidity that holds everything together.  Pear, white peach, honeyed citrus and nutmeg are the first notes I write down.  For about $22, you get a lot of the attributes that you typically pay $40 to $50 for, so this goes down as a great value wine in my book.  I see this wine as a great aperitif to serve before dinner, but if you must, try it with scallops in a creamy citrus sauce or roast chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs.