South Asheville’s Best Free Wine Tasting

Every Saturday, we host one of Asheville’s best free wine tastings from 2 to 5 p.m.  It is free to the public and the tasting typically features 4 affordable wines from small family wineries.

The “smaller guys” use a more artisan approach in the farming of their grapes and the making of their wines and they are driven more by quality than profit.  Much like the local Asheville organic farmer or cheese maker is driven by the quality of their product as opposed to the quantity produced, the farmers/producers we champion share a similar ideal.

At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding, so stop by Table Wine on Saturday’s to taste what we’re talking about! We love to talk about wine, so feel free to ask questions, even if they make you think the sound dumb.  We won’t make you feel inadequate! 

This Saturday’s lineup (July 21) will include the following wines: 

1. 2011 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia – This wine comes from one of the top young producers in Italy’s Veneto region and it blends the native Garganega (typically found in Soave) with Chardonnay.  It is an intensely aromatic and flavorful white with notes of wildflowers, peach, apple and honey.  Great on a hot afternoon by itself, this one also loves spicy Thai and other Asian fare.

2. 2011 Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato – This dry Rosé hails from Puglia in southern Italy.  It blends the native Negroamaro with a splash of Malvasia Nera to create a dry, but fruit filled pink wine with aromas and flavors of ripe strawberry, cherry, cranberry and peach.  The wine works with almost any sort of food, but really loves sunny back porches and friends.

3. NV Garofoli Antica Osteria Rosso – Here is Italian table wine at its finest!  A blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese, it is super friendly, with flavors of ripe black cherry, plum and spice.  Perfect for washing down Marco’s pizza or spaghetti and meatballs.

4. 2008 Schola Sarmenti Roccamora – Here’s something many of you have probably never tried – 100% Negroamaro from a single, 35 year old vineyard.  Hailing from Nardo, along Italy’s southern, Salento peninsula, this is a big, boisterous, delicious wine.  Flavors of wild cherry, plum, roasted herb and complex spice make this a wine that loves grilled meats and stews.

“545” Wine Tasting – Big Italian Reds

We love Italian wines and so will you once you try these 5 at our tasting this Friday, May 25.  The issue that many of our customers have with Italian reds is that they can be tangy and sharp and not especially likable without food, but that’s not always the case.  Come by and try these 5 that we think work well on or off the dinner table this Friday.

The sampling gets started at 4:00 and ends at 7:00, and the cost is $5/person or it’s free if you’re a Grape Nut.

Here’s the lineup:

1. Falesco Sangiovese – The brothers Cotarella make some of Italy’s most splendid values from their home winery based in Umbria.  This is dark, rich and structured Sangiovese that sees a little bit of oak aging that serves to soften the wine a bit.  It is a consensus best value in The Wine Advocate and sells for a song.

2. Gianfranco Alessandria Barbera d’Alba – Gianfranco Alessandria is a shy and quiet man, but his wines aren’t.  This is a nice, full bodied Barbera with loads of black currant and plum fruit with subtle suggestions of violet and spice.

3. Falesco Merlot – Here’s a 92 point rated wine (The Wine Advocate) that drinks like it should cost you about $30……it’s about $15.  Ripe, almost jammy blueberry and blackberry fruit are interlaced with notions of baking spices and nicely integrated French oak.  Yum!

4. Zenato Cormi – “Cormi” is a fun, uncoventional blend of Corvina (the top grape in an Amarone) and Merlot from Zenato, one of the top names in Amarone.  The Corvina is allowed to dry for a short period of time, thus intensifying the flavors, and the Merlot adds a nice plush texture to this pleasure heavy offering.

5. Bodegas Renacer Enamore – This is a joint project between Mendoza based Renacer and Verona based Allegrini and some of you know how good of a hand Allegrini has with Amarone.  The wine is produced in Argentina and the blend is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of Malbec, Cab Franc and Bonarda.  The grapes are allowed to dry in the Amarone style and the wine is simply delicious.

2010 Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso "La Rustia"

Wine of the Week – Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso “La Rustia”

Erbaluce is a grape native to the northwestern part of Italy, and it grows especially well around the town of Caluso in the Alpine foothills.  The soils of the region are high in acidity and the grape really thrives in these types of soils.  Gianoluigi Orsolani and his father, Francesco have run this little operation since 1967, and they are one of just a handful of producers still working with Erbaluce.  Thank goodness they are, because this is a very special wine……… special in fact that it was the first Erbaluce to ever receive the coveted Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso, which is essentially the equivalent of receiving a 95+ point score from one of the major U.S. wine journals.

“La Rustia” means the “roasted” slopes in the local Piemontese dialect, a reference to the vineyard’s ideal location for maximum sun exposure.  Fermented entirely in stainless steel, this is a complex white wine with lovely layers of peach, melon, grapefruit and citrus followed by intriguing notes of essential oils, sage, lavender, and flowers.  It is dry and zippy and would taste really good with a lemon roasted chicken or with a wide variety of seafood.  You should try a bottle, as this is the estate’s top bottling.  We also stock the estate’s entry-level Erbaluce, which comes in a liter bottle for just $17.99.

Regular Price: $21.99/bottle

On sale through May 22 at $19.99/bottle

Northern Italian Wine and Food Experience

Our last small plate food and wine pairing was a huge hit, and we’re extremely excited about the next one.  All of the dishes will be prepared by Les and Barb Norman again……….those of you who were with us last time can attest to the fact that they know how to cook extremely well and we know how to pick out great wines to go with their culinary creations.  Our next wine and food event will focus on the wines and good of Northern Italy, including the regions of Piemonte and the Veneto.  The event takes place on Thursday, April 19 at Table Wine beginning at 7:00 and going until about 9:00.  The cost is $60/person or $50 if you’re a Grape Nut and this price is all inclusive.

For these events, the store is transformed into a restaurant of sorts with full table and wine service so that you get to actually enjoy each course with the selected wine.  The goal is to educate you about the way wine and food work together, but we also promise that you’ll have a good time.

We’ve put together a great small plate menu paired with a wonderful selection of wines.  Each plate is accompanied by a 2 ounce pour of each wine, and we promise you that you’ll leave sufficiently full, happy and more educated about the way that wine and food work together.  Please read below carefully:

Table service will start promptly at 7:00 p.m., so it’s a good idea to get to the store 10 or 15 minutes early. 

Reservations can be made via phone only please and pre-payment is required.  Call us at 828.505.8588 to reserve your spot. 

If you should need to cancel your reservation, please call within 48 hours of the event and we will issue you a refund.


1. Antipasto Sampler
 Italian Meats, Aged Parmigiana and Balsamic Glazed Onion

Paired with Belstar Prosecco 


2. Bruschetta Two Ways
Zucchini Pesto, Ricotta and Roasted Bell Pepper
Oil Poached Tomato and Basil

Paired with Cordero di Montezemolo Roero Arneis 


3. Chicken Liver Mousse on Toast
With Fennel Gelée

Paired with Corte Majoli Amarone della Valpolicella 


4. Beef Cheek Ragu Over Fresh Fettucine
With Aged Parmigiano Reggiano

Paired with Paitin Barbaresco “Sori Paitin” 


5. Hazelnut and Chocolate Tart

Paired with a Surprise Wine You’re Gonna’ Love!

Sartarelli Verdicchio

Wine Of The Week – Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

“Sartarelli is one of the premier, reference-point producers of fine Verdicchio. Readers should do whatever they can to taste these fabulous whites from the Marche.”  Wine Advocate, 6/30/2010

After sampling this wine out on Saturday and selling it to almost everyone who tasted it, I would have to agree with the above statement!  The wine hails from Italy’s Le Marche region, a zone east of Tuscany along the Adriatic Coast.  It is believed by most that Verdicchio originated in this region and has thrived here since the 14th century.  This region gets especially hot during the summer, and an ice cold glass of clean, fresh and zippy Verdicchio is the perfect way to beat the heat.

Sartarelli Vineyards

Sartarelli's Verdicchio Vineyards

Donatella and Patrizio Sartarelli craft some of the finest Verdicchio in the area.  They farm their vineyards sustainably, meaning they only use pesticides if absolutely necessary.  This pragmatic approach to farming is very common among smaller, family owned and operated wineries throughout Europe.  These folks farm and nurture their own vineyards, and often craft relatively small amounts of wine to sell.  In most vintages, the Sartarellis use 100% organic practices in their vineyards, but they reserve the right to do what they need to do to make sure they can produce their wines each and every year.  Make no mistake about it, they depend on the sale of their wine to make a living and thus reserve the right to do what they feel necessary to get their wine to market.  I can appreciate that.  Back to Verdicchio though, and this one in particular.

Sartarelli’s Verdicchio is served ice cold in restaurants and wine bars along the Adriatic Coast to cool off and/or to wash down fresh fish simply prepared and spritzed with lemon.  The wine is unoaked, super fresh and packed with white peach, lemon and green apple fruit notes along with complex mineral nuances.  It is the perfect wine for a sunny, Asheville spring day – try it ice cold on your back or front porch or try it with a simple, olive oil pan seared piece of flaky white fish spritzed with lemon and sprinkled with fresh herbs.  Yum!


$11.89/bottle in a mixed case

Friday Winedown – A Vinous Tour Of Italy

Table Wine is happy to have Mike Tiano back to our South Asheville store for a sampling of 7 Italian wines from all over the country this Friday, April 6.   The fun gets started at 4:00 and goes until 7:00 and the cost is just $5/person or free if you’re a Grape Nut.  In Italy, wine is an important part of their culture and their daily lives, and the grape is grown in almost every corner of the country.  We’ll sample wines from north to south and east to west and light palate cleansers will be offered as well.  We hope to see you.

Maremma, Toscana

Moris Farm's Vineyards - Maremma, Toscana

1. Garofoli Guelfo Verde – This sparkling wine hails from Central Italy, Les Marches to be exact, just east of Tuscany.  It is a blend of Chardonnay and Verdicchio that shares a slight resemblance to Prosecco.  Dry, bright and fruit filled, it is a great everyday sparkling wine at a very affordable price.

2. Cantina Frentana Cococciola – This is one of the best co-operatives of Abruzzo, and this is one exotic little white wine. Cococciola is an obscure grape variety that produces light, fragrant white wines with notes of white peach, apple, citrus and gentle spice.  It is dry, fresh and you will love it!

3. Cantina Sant Evasio Gavi – We now head north on our journey of obscure Italian varietals to the village of Gavi, in Italy’s Piemonte zone.  The grape is Cortese and this one offers up nice weight and concentration with lovely notes of peach, pineapple, citrus and mild mineral nuances.

4. Tenuta Canale Sangiovese di Toscana – No, this grape isn’t obscure, but no Italian wine tasting would be complete without at least one Sangiovese.  Tenuta Canale is a tiny Chianti producer and this is the family’s “house wine” – bright, tangy and perfect for pizza or pasta with red sauce, it is a simple and delicious red wine.

5. Vecchia Torre Salice Salentino – We’re heading back into the “unknown”, although many of you know that this wine is delicious as we’ve stocked it for some time now.  We now head into the heel of Italy’s boot and the region of Salice Salentino, which is a part of greater Puglia.  A blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, this rustic red is packed with ripe berry fruit, spices, licorice and earth.

6. Paitin Nebbiolo d’Alba “Ca Vieja” – This family run estate got its start in 1796, and they’re still going really strong.  This will be for many of you your introduction to Nebbiolo, the same grape that makes the legendary wines of Barolo and Barbaresco.  This one is a touch softer and more accessible in its youth than the above mentioned and offers up lovely notes of sweet cherry and raspberry with underlying earth, spices and herbs.

7. Morisfarms Monteregio di Massa Marittima – This wine comes from Tuscany’s western coast and from one of the finest producers in the region.  A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a very impressive and full bodied red wine with layers of black cherry and black raspberry fruit along with nuances of mineral, smoke, spice and mocha.

545 Tasting This Friday – New Italian Arrivals

I’m really excited about some of the new Italian wines that have come into the store this year, and I’m even more excited to share them with you!

We’ll sample 5 newbies to the store that all come from importer Domenico Valentino Selections.  This New York based importer is bringing in some of the best Italian juice I’ve consumed in a long time, all from small family owned and operated, sustainably farmerd wineries. 

Bacchus drinking wine.

Bacchus/Dionysus - The Italian God of Wine.

 1. Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso – The obscure Erbaluce grape produces an absolutely beautiful white wine – I’m currently in love with it!  Dry and beautifully aromatic, it offers up a notes of white peach and citrus and finishes with honey, mineral and spice notes.  It comes packaged in a liter bottle and is my pick for patio/deck drinking during this mild winter!

2. Luca Ferraris Monferrato Bianco “Sensazioni” – Who’s had Viognier from Italy?  Me neither, until I sampled and fell in love with this one from a famous Barolo producing zone. White peach, citrus oil, honeysuckle and all of the stuff you expect from Viognier, but this one has fierce acidity and minerality.  Yum-Yum!!!

3. Luca Ferraris Barbera d’Asti “Vigna del Martin” – Old vine, single vineyard Barbera for less than $20?  That’s hard to find these days, but here you go.  Lively, zesty and full of personality, this one will wow some of you with its berry fruit, herb and floral notes.  Lip-smackingly good!

4. Gaspare Vinci Nero d’Avola – Here’s another liter offering that I hope you will buy before I drink it all!  It is dry, fruit filled and more than interesting with a nice mix of black cherry and raspberry fruit intertwined with subtle clove and allspice notes.  Elegant, easy to drink and easy on the budget, this is the perfect all-occasions red wine.  Stock up on it for March Madness!

5. Pirro Varone “Vigne Rare di Grisola” – Like Erbaluce, Grisola was a grape I had never experienced until I tried this one.  The wine struck me as being Zinfandel-like, with a warm and spicy nose and flavors of jammy cherry, raspberry and blackberry.  I predict it will be the most popular wine of the day!