At Le Metro, Wine Goes Underground on #WineStudio

Wine clubs are popping up all over the place. My inbox is full of pitches from start ups touting their specially curated selections, wines that no one else has and the experts selecting their wines, all for a monthly or quarterly fee. Hello, this is so boring. Maybe I’m super critical because I’m lucky enough to get to taste a lot of wine. Plus I have no room for more wine bottles. I’m storing them under the bed for gods sake. So for a wine club to get my attention, and especially my dollars, it has to be offer more than just a monthly or quarterly selection of wines with a newsletter. I want something more.

Aaron Epstein must have felt the same way I do, because he, along with business partner Tina Morey, has created more than a wine club. Le Metro – Wine. Underground is an experience, an education and a connection. He doesn’t even call it a wine club, it’s a “wine subscription.” We connected thanks to mutual friend and wine blogger Elaine Chukan Brown of Hawk WakaWaka Wine Reviews. She’s a super talented person and quite the artist. Elaine is known for her illustrated wine tasting notes, and now her clever custom drawings are included with each Le Metro wine shipment. The artwork is the size of an old LP album (remember those) and even comes in a “sleeve.” It’s a great visual while you are tasting wine, and brilliant of Aaron to tap Elaine to do this.

le-metro_seduced by syrah

“Each month I select a unique theme for our new wine collection then select six wines around it,” Aaron explains. He writes a e-zine post for each monthly edition. The current edition is “Seduced by Syrah.” I love that Elaine includes musk, a perfume element, in her tasting notes.  When Aaron contacted me the theme was “Argentina Express,” very fitting as I had just returned from a week in Mendoza.  He sent the six pack of Argentine wines as a sample.

I was invited to join a Twitter chat – #WineStudio – moderated by Tina, who also owns Protocol Wine Studio, wine central for tastings and wine education in San Diego.  But it is not just one #WineStudio session – it is four sessions, once a week, for the month of the theme.

The first three weeks of #WineStudio are all about the grape or region being featured. The last week is the so-called grand tasting, where all members pop the cork and try the wines together. For the Le Metro tasting there were six wines, quite a party if you wait to try all the wines on that one night. It’s ok to taste some ahead of time. You probably won’t be able to hold off trying at least one of the bottles during those first three weeks.

Sure, it’s a big time commitment, and I’ve told them so. What I do like is that you get to go in-depth on the wines and really share more than just your own tasting notes. You get into climate, soils, weather, food, culture. You get stories about wineries and winemakers and a lesson in history and geography. By that last week, you are so ready to taste the wines, you’ve built up such a good foundation for understanding what’s in your glass.

We tasted Recuerdo Torrontés, one of my favorite Torrontés. This is such a perfumey, aromatic grape. I can just smell the wine and be happy. We tried a Pinot Noir and Syrah, varietals you don’t typically identify with Argentina. The best wine of the tasting was the Quimera, a Bordeaux blend from noted winery Achaval-Ferrer. This is the wine that Elaine’s illustration depicts.

Le Metro argentina express

Even better, you become part of a community, the wine underground. Week after week you start to recognize the Twitter handles. It’s a virtual classroom and tasting bar.

I enjoyed the experience so much that Tina, who also runs #WineChat, has invited me to take part in a #WineChat on a subject that readers of my blog know I’m super passionate about – wine and perfume!  It’s happening this Wednesday, February 12 at 5 pm. PT.  You can read more about the event on #WineChat’s Facebook page.  Be sure to join us online with your favorite glass of aromatic wine!

By the way, February is the last of the Le Metro #WineStudio series.  Tina says they’ll be bringing in other producers and clubs going forward to offer diversity and the widest range of wines possible to their #WineStudio audience.

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