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About this Episode

Whitney Grant, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas navigate their way through the wine list at Metropolitan Grill to find the best, bold reds to pair with a steak. Whitney shares a little background information on iconic Napa wineries, stand-out wines from Oregon, and tasting notes, and points out a few stellar vintages and white wines on the list. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2014 Bergström, Cumberland Reserve
  • 2012 Domaine Serene, Grace Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2018 Rombauer Chardonnay from the Carneros AVA
Transcript: The Metropolitan Grill

Metropolitan Grill

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules!

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Whitney Grant, wine educator and certified sommelier.

Hello Whitney, it’s great to have you back on with CorkRules.

WG: Hi Robert! Thanks for having me! I’m excited to share these wine selections with you and the CorkRules listeners.


Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine list’s because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Today we are talking about The Metropolitan Grill a classic steakhouse rich in tradition, located in the historic 1903 Marion building. Known not only for great food and martinis, the Metropolitan Grill has also earned a number of awards for their wine list.

From 2000-2017, the wine spectator award of excellence, in 2018 the wine spectator grand awry as well as the Washington Wine Commission's award for wine restaurant of the year

Whitney I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their extensive wine list.

WG: I am so excited to talk about this wine list, Seattle is such a great wine town and Metropolitan Grill is definitely a great place to dine if you love wine. One thing that is super unique about this place is that they offer a wine club. The cellar club allows you to build your wine collection with the assistance of a personal sommelier, exclusive access to their wine list, invitations to quarterly wine tastings, access to reservations, as well as bottle discounts while dining.

I would also recommend taking a look at their Sommelier Selections on the menu. This is a curated list made by the professional somms who manage the wine portfolio and discuss these wines daily. They know the list inside and out and I’m confident they have some killer selections

RT: Wow that is pretty cool a restaurant with a wine club, you know they must take their wine list seriously if they’ve got a wine club!

WG: I know right? I thought that was pretty cool!

RT: A steakhouse and great wine go hand in hand. What would you recommend to pair with a juicy steak dinner?

WG: When I think of a steak dinner I think of a hearty Bordeaux blend. Bordeaux is divided into two categories,  right bank and left bank, and the wine list here is categorized the same way. In general wines from the left bank will be blends that are driven by cabernet sauvignon whereas the right bank wines are dominated by merlot and to a lesser extent cabernet franc.

RT: I see there are a lot of different regions listed, can you tell us a little more about them?

WG: Looking at the left bank there are 4 I would recommend, Saint-Estephe, Poy-yak (Pauillac), Saint Julien, and Margaux. Again these wines will be mostly cab sauv, with flavors of black currant, and other black fruits, complimented by cedar and oak notes. When young the wines will have grippy tannins but can age for a long time.

On the right bank, I would recommend a wine from Saint-Emilion or Pomerol.

In Saint-Emilion, merlot and cabernet franc are the key wines, depending on the producer. Expect silky tannins, floral, herbal, and savory aromas with flavors of red berries, plums, and spice on the palate.

Pomerol produces some of the best merlot anywhere in the world. These wines tend to be richer with integrated tannins, spicier flavors with blackberry character, and chocolate notes with age. 

RT: Pomerol really does make some of the best, if not the best merlot from around the world. Metropolitan Grills really has a great selection of Bordeaux wines.

WG: They really do, and with so many options for all of these regions you can find what fits your own personal budget and choose a great wine from any of these regions.

RT: Another classic cabernet region is Napa, what Napa wines would you recommend for a steak dinner?

WG: Yes Napa is where it’s at in the new world for these big bold reds and this list has some amazing options.

Harlan Estates is located in the western hills of Oakville where the terrier is perfect for producing low-yield, slow, and even ripening grapes resulting in incredible quality wine grapes. At harvest, the grapes are picked by hand, triple sorted, and every final barrel is meticulously selected so only the best of the best of the best make it to the bottle.

RT: Harlan Estates makes incredible wines, definitely sometime I would enjoy.

Another iconic Napa winery from the Oakville AVA making some of the most sought-after wines in Napa is Opus One. The flagship One red is a cabernet sauvignon-driven blend with small amounts of merlot, cabernet franc, and petite verdot added to the blend to round out the wine.

RT: Those wines are pretty incredible but out of the price range for a lot of people, are there other Napa wines that you would suggest that

I understand not everyone has the budget for these wines, but you can still get fantastic Napa wines at more reasonable price points one option would be the 2019 Prisoner Red Blend. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, malbec, petite syrah, and charbono. On the nose aromas of black cherry, vanilla, and ripe plum. On the palate berry, cocoa, and baking spice. This is another well-known Napa Valley brand that has really expanded the idea of what a red blend can be.

RT: They source grapes from some very well-respected producers, great call.

Another Napa wine to explore on the list is The Maiden also made by the producer at Harlan estates. Expect dark plum, deep boysenberry, blackberry compote, hints of violet, and earth with a lovely deep purple color. Made from the second selection of Harlan Estate wine so the resemblance is very similar. Not exactly a bargain but slightly more affordable. 

RT: Whitney I know you love your Oregon wines! With nearly 2 full pages of Oregon Pinot Noirs they've got to have some great options, I’d love to hear your recommendations.

WG: Yes! I absolutely love the wines produced in my home state and this list has some great options but two producers, in particular, stand out on this list.

RT: Let’s hear them.

To start the 2014 Bergström, Cumberland Reserve. 2014 was an outstanding vintage and this wine is one of their best reserves.  This wine is a beautiful dark burgundy color with aromas of dark fruit with blackberry, marionberry, and blueberry lovely aged characteristics of earth and tobacco. Vibrant acidity and full-bodied, especially for a Pinot.

The other wine I would recommend is the 2012 Domaine Serene, Grace Vineyard Pinot Noir. Ken and Grace Evanstad founded Domaine Serene in 1989 and have an absolutely breathtaking estate. This wine is just as stunning as the property expect dense aromas of red cherry, nutmeg, cranberry, and baking spices from the french oak maturation. Rich forest floor and cola as this wine has aged those tertiary characteristics are really shining.

RT: We’ve talked a lot about red wines, what would you recommend for white wine drinkers?

WG: While reds certainly are the star of the show on this list there are some awesome white wines as well. Circling back around to California you can’t go wrong with a California Chardonnay. The 2018 Rombauer Chardonnay from the Carneros AVA is a great example of this classic style with aromas of peach, mango, and hints of citrus, balanced by vanilla and spice with a rich round texture on the palate and balanced acidity.

RT: Rombauer is certainly a classic for fans of Chardonnay. What would you recommend for whites out of Europe?

If you are looking to explore white wines German Rieslings are wonderful. There are two Maxim Grünhäuser rieslings from the Mosel region that really caught my eye, while both are from the same region, the style and age give these wines different characteristics.

RT: Tell us more about these Maxim Grünhäuser wines.

The 2011 Kabinett style is the most delicate, light bodied with high acid, green apple, citrus, balanced with residual sugar. The acidity gives this wine great aging potential and now being 10+ years old we are enjoying the dried fruit and petrol flavors.

The 2016 Spatlese style will be more concentrated, riper, fuller bodied, and higher alcohol than the Kabinett style with notes of crushed slate, lime, and peach with the expected high acidity of German Riesling.

RT: Staying in the old-world category, what white would you recommend from France?

The 2006 Condrieu from the Northern Rhone region in France is made solely from Viognier. Most of the wine is made from low-yielding vineyards planted on steep, well-exposed, terraced vineyards. This older vintage has developed those lovely aged honey characteristics with complex flavors of blossom, apricots, and stone fruit.

RT: Great suggestions, anything catch your eye that would be a sweet option to end the night?

WG: I would have to recommend one of the Tokaji wines on the menu.

Now the 2016 Tokaji Aszu, this production starts with a base wine that is made from healthy grapes (typically furmint). The aszú berries are botrytis-affected grapes and are macerated into the base wine for 12 - 60 hours. This mixture is then pressed and the wine matured in oak for a minimum of 18 months.  The resulting wines are a deep amber color, sweet with high acidity and intense aromas and flavors of orange peel, apricots, and honey.

RT: I see another Tokaji on the menu, the Eszencia, tell us more about that wine.

I would highly recommend the 2008 Tokaji Eszencia. These wines are extremely rare but absolutely incredible if you are so lucky to experience them. Eszencia also referred to as Essence or Nectar is made just from the free-run juice of the aszú berries. The must is so sweet it can take years to ferment, and even after that will remain low in alcohol. The legal minimum level of residual sugar is 450 g/L as opposed to the Aszú minimum of 180 g/L so these wines will be sweet, but they are balanced by high acidity and enormously concentrated flavors and are able to age for a century.

RT: It would certainly be a memorable experience enjoying a glass of that wine!

RT: Whitney, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and for helping us navigate The Metropolitan Grill’s wine list. There were so many excellent selections.

WG: Thanks for having me Robert, this was an exciting list to review and I hope you get the chance to enjoy some of these wines!

RT: To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.




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