2006 LAN Crianza, Rioja (100% Tempranillo) at Santé Wine Bar

How lucky was I to have spent Labor Day weekend Sunday in both a wine shop and a wine bar in Asheville, North Carolina!

Vinsite Wine Shop is a very unpretentious place. In fact, if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss it due to the rather plain storefront and building. But once inside, you find an intimate, yet modern wine shop that describes itself as, “…a wine shop focusing on wines that are made as naturally as possible. The wines are biodynamic, organic or at least sustainable in practice. Our intention is to introduce wines that demonstrate a clear sense of place.” The selection is small, but unique. I discovered wines and grapes that I had never seen or heard of before. The front of the store had wines priced from around $10-$40. In the back was a reserve area of more expensive wines, which my boyfriend and I did not visit. I tried my first Romorantin and Lagrein wines, as well as three others. Three tastings I tried from the “wine vending machine” at $1.50 per pour and the other two were left over from a previous tasting and were complimentary. We purchased two bottles of 2008 François Cazin le Petit Chambord Cour-Cheverny Vendanges Manuelles (100% Romorantin). If you want a personalized and different wine shopping experience, definitely add this to your next Asheville visit.

I had been wanting to visit Santé Wine Bar for a few months now and I was able to convince my boyfriend that it was a good idea to taste more wine. Once inside, we discovered a lively and friendly wine bar and even better, a Sunday and Monday tasting special of 10 one-ounce pours for $10. There was no way we could pass that up, so we bellied up to the bar, ordered a couple of appetizers, and starting tasting our 10 red, white, and rosé wines from around the world, including Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, Napa, Portugal, Sonoma, and Spain. Interestingly, the pours were more like two ounces, so we definitely got our money’s worth and we had an amazing experience. The wines are also for sale by the glass, by flight, and by the bottle (both to go or to stay) and the corkage fee is only $5.00 to consume a bottle there. We decided to purchase a bottle of my namesake wine, the 2009 Domaine Bahourat Costières de Nîmes Cuvée Elisabeth (80% Syrah, 20% Grenache).

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