Aboveground (at the hottest spot in town)

Note: This event is now sold out! Make sure you’re signed up for our email bulletin (at the top of your screen) to be kept apprised of future Le Metro events. 

San Diego has been buzzing since sleek and delicious Juniper & Ivy opened in February. This partnership between Top Chef Richard Blais and financier Mike Rosen (with whom Aaron shares the pages of this month’s Riviera Magazine Men of Style spread!) is further endowed with a beverage program helmed by illustrious sommelier Tami Wong, who also provided the food pairing suggestions for our current release. It’s no wonder that it’s so tough to get a reservation.

We invite you to join us on April 24 for an intimate dining experience at the hottest restaurant in town, featuring the wines from Volume XI: The Lure of the Loire alongside Chef Richard’s culinary delights.

Seats at our communal table are $79 (all inclusive) and may sell out quickly. Click here to purchase yours now.

We’ve also partnered up with Uber to get you home safely from Le Metro events. If you’ve never ridden with Uber, use promo code LEMETRO to save $20 on your first trip. (Or signup here.)

We’ll see you soon at Juniper & Ivy!


Food Pairing Profile: Tami Wong (Volume XI)

“This one time, at Pinot camp…” 

When I arrived in San Diego in 2012, the lovely Tami Wong was one of the first wine folks that I had the fortune to connect with. I was immediately struck by Tami’s deep passion for wine – and her incredible palate – and since getting to know her better my respect and affection have only grown. Now she has control of her own wine list over at brand-new and highly anticipated Juniper & Ivy Restaurant, and it is undoubtedly among the most dynamic in town.

It’s been clear to me since Tami and I first tasted together than one of her favorite regions is The Loire Valley; in fact, I’ve come to see her smiling face in my mind’s eye any time I catch a whiff of Chenin. So when I was due to select a sommelier to come up with food pairing suggestions for this month’s Le Metro edition, The Lure of the Loire, it was a pretty easy call to make. All that remained to be seen was if Tami herself would be able to make the time to collaborate with me given her (very) full-time job.

In the end, Tami not only offered culinary recommendations for our current release, she also opened up some space for Le Metro at the hottest new restaurant in town. So keep your eyes on this blog! Tickets will go on sale next week for our upcoming Aboveground dinner at Juniper & Ivy on Thursday, April 24, and Tami’s food pairing recommendations will soon be online.

Personally, I can’t even wait that long – I’m taking my family to Juniper & Ivy for dinner tonight.

Aaron Epstein, Curator

AE: Tell me about that pivotal moment when you decided to dedicate your life to wine. (Come on, we’ve all got one…)

TW: One night early in my tenure at 3rd Corner, my GM Alex gave me a crate of white Burgundies and told me to check them out with a book, a tasting grid and a spit bucket. They blew my mind because a)this is chardonnay? Wow! And b)they were all from the same tiny little area of France and were all so different. I haven’t been interested in much else since.

AE: What food(s) did you find most comforting as a child?

TW: My mom’s lasagna and my Grandma Wong’s bao, which are the steamed Chinese dumplings that have the sweet red filling with barbecued pork and other goodness. Grandma Wong also made Chinese sausage and rice that we put soy sauce on and put down in quantity. 

AE: And what does “comfort food” mean to you today?

TW: I love any kind of pasta. When I really feel out of sorts, I need Chinese food. That always gets me back on track.

AE: Do you have a go-to “house wine” that you always have stocked at home?

TW: I always have different wines, but they are usually light bodied, high acid whites or rosés. They tend to be Old World.

AE: When you’re planning a meal, do you generally develop it around the food, or the wine?

TW: I get a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from Be Wise Ranch, so I start with the vegetable in the fridge, then go to protein, then wine.

AE: Is there a dish that you’re famous for among your friends?

TW: I found this recipe for a Watermelon Gazpacho on Epicurious that was a Cat Cora. It’s so fresh and summery. I’ve taken it to multiple gatherings and it is always a hit.

AE: How do you decide where to eat when you’re traveling?

TW: My husband likes to research online, but when left to my own devices, I just go for a walk and let the place find me. When we went to Spain, our plane landed around 8am. We put our stuff in the hostel and went searching for breakfast. Mike asked me, “How will we know where to go?” I said “We will know.” Not ten minutes later, we came upon the Museo del Jamon. A museum of ham? Yes please!! It was magical.

AE: What is your favorite place to shop for food?

TW: I like funky little neighborhood markets. We live right by Gala and Food Bowl, which has a great butcher. I like to make the journey to North Park Produce, which is a jalal market and super cheap. Ranch 99 of course for Asian goods. Nothing sets off a string of “What is this?” from a toddler like a Chinese market! Half the time I don’t have the answer but that is the fun.

AE: Imagine yourself as a culinary ingredient or grape variety. What would you be, and why?

TW: I would be syrah because it works well in both warm and cool climates. Aussie shiraz was my gateway wine. It is friendly, dark, and sweet. When I discovered Northern Rhone syrah, my world changed. That wine has so many non-fruit characteristics with all the flowers and stones. Syrah is full bodied, has great depth of character and complexity and ages so gracefully!

AE: Would you consider your approach to food & wine pairing to be more scientific or intuitive?

TW: I think of my approach to pairing as academic. I read a lot about pairing and make decisions based on tradition. This one time, at Pinot Camp, I took the Zing! Pairing seminar and that is a more scientific approach. At the end of the day, I would have to say that I pair intuitively.

Volume X Food Pairings

The food pairing suggestions for California Soil, Italian Soul come courtesy of Southern California’s beloved Italian Wine Geek, Joanie Karapetian. As well as writing one of my favorite wine blogs to read – especially when I’m feeling nostalgic for Italy –  as a representative of AI Selections Joanie has access to some of the coolest imports in the state. She’s a hell of a good friend to have, and has supplied some of Le Metro’s choice bottles over the past few months. It was a lot of fun to share with her these selections from our own home state.

Click here to read my interview with Joanie from a couple of weeks ago!

Aaron Epstein, Curator

  1. Ryme Cellars, HERS Vermentino: ”I would drink this with ANYTHING.  Literally, could pour it over my cereal in the morning.  Bright and crisp and lively.  This would be great in place of a sparkling wine with antipasti, cheese, raw veggies.  Truly beautiful crispy goodness.”
  2. Ryme Cellars, HIS Vermentino: ”The HIS Vermentino is a serious, brooding wine that pairs with food more like a red.  This wine would be a terrific match for some very stinky cheese.  The acidity is hidden under layers of fat, luscious fruit, and I think saline, mineral, pungent flavors would do well…  Caviar?  Anything with salty bottarga- spaghetti anyone?”
  3. Piedrasassi, Sangiovese Rose: ”Can I just have this bottle chilled, served to me on a beach with a straw?  Seriously.  I want this with sushi!  Fresh slabs of salty, fatty fish and creamy sushi rice.  A dab of wasabi, a slosh of soy, a swig of Rose.  What could possibly be better?” 
  4. Idewild Wines, Dolcetto: This wine made me want a rainy day and the smell of a roasted chicken in my house.  I think it’s plump black fruit would do well with juicy roast game meat- salty crisp chicken skin- maybe a roasted beet or two (or three).  I also like it slightly cooler than room temperature – I think it really highlighted the freshness.”
  5. Giornata Wines, Aglianico: ”One of my Italian friends from Campania noted, “this-a wine does not taste-a like Aglianico!”  He’s wrong – it tastes uniquely like Aglianico grown in California!  Ripe, sturdy red fruit, trademark tannins.  None of that serious, meditative structure, but all of the power.  I tasted this and immediately craved a thick slice of roast beef.  Gravy, potatoes, peas.  Fluffy Yorkshire pudding even?  Basically the makings of a Sunday Supper at Grandma’s house.  Well maybe at your Grandma’s house – mine doesn’t like to cook.” 
  6. Bacio Divino Cellars, Pazzo: ”California sunshine is right!  Hello big, fat, blousy red fruit!  Welcome back, Opulence!  This is something that deserves to be enjoyed with dripping platters of pork rubs, barbecued on one of California’s many beautiful summer days. Abundanty, lavish, excessive even- this is a wine for a rich, truly bacchanal feast!”

Joanie Karapetian, ItalianWineGeek.com

Le Metro makes headlines!

We’re on top of the world here in San Diego. Le Metro – Wine. Underground. is featured in today’s Washington Post!

After almost a year of flying under the radar, it’s time to take to the rooftops. Check out our first national headline and please share it with your wine loving friends to help us get the word out!

How do you find those boutique bottles you’ve been itching to try but can’t track down? Subscribe to Le Metro, that’s how.

Here’s the link again….


Aboveground (and in the kitchen!)

Join us for dinner on March 27 at La Villa’s intimate chef’s table.

After filling up the table for last month’s Aboveground event before tickets even went on sale, we’re incredibly excited to announce our March dinner. We invite you to sit down with us at the awesome chef’s table in the kitchen at La Villa Restaurant in San Diego’s Little Italy.

This delicious, family style meal will feature Aaron’s selections from Volume X: California Soil, Italian Soul accompanied by La Villa’s rustic Italian flavors. This edition shipped on Monday and has already sold out, so this may be your only chance to try these wines!

Seating is limited as usual, and tickets are $75 (all-inclusive). Tickets are available for purchase here via PROTOCOL wine studio.

La Villa is located at 646 India Street in San Diego, and dinner will run from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. We hope to see you there!

We’ve also partnered up with Uber to get you home safely from Le Metro events. If you’ve never ridden with Uber, use promo code LEMETRO to save $20 on your first trip. (Or signup here.)


PDF Offer

Welcome to Le Metro Wine, where wine and art make a classical pairing through our pioneering wine zine. Receive a free digital download of this limited edition offer and begin your wine adventure today! Ready your palate, Open your mind!

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