Archive for December, 2012
What Better Way to Start Than with THE Grand Bordeaux Tasting..
Most Start-ups launch with a big PR blitz and lots of sizzle and noise. That’s great, especially if you have lot’s of venture capitalists/financiers behind you and money to throw..unfortunately, I do not! Still, what better way to launch TasteDC (still needs some Design work – sort of a house that needs door knobs and paint) than with a GRAND Tasting – I mean it’s even in the name – Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux!
So what should you expect at this tasting?
1) Great Producers Showcasing a Fantastic Vintage -I’m attaching the list of producers (below) – I know, it’s completely Overwhelming – sort of like going to the store and seeing all those Chateaux on the wine labels and trying to figure out: 1)which one will taste good and 2)why are the prices all over the place – I mean should I really spend $49.99 on a wine when the label on the wine next to it is $8.99? The Grands Crus are the best wine makers in Bordeaux, so you can expect to taste some really great wines.
2) A Chance to Connect and Understand Bordeaux Better – first of all, what is Bordeaux? Bordeaux is one of the largest wine growing regions in the world – it’s in Southeast France just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The French label their wines primarily by Region (versus by Varietal as we do in America – we say “Cabernet Sauvignon”, the French say “Bordeaux” – get it?) If you like Big Reds, then Bordeaux has them – most are Cabernet or Merlot based, so these give them some weight. Meat eaters love Bordeaux, but they’re surprisingly good with hard cheeses and earthy dishes, especially the kind most people eat in Fall and Winter.
3) Finally Understand What “Vintage” Means and If It’s Important – Vintage is the year the grapes are picked/harvested..NOT the year the wine is bottled – Memorize that! Now that you know, why does it matter? Because grapes are grown outside and the weather and external conditions has a major impact on their ripeness and flavor. Some years are good, some not so much – but 2010 was a stellar growing season for great grapes and thus great wines from this region. Also in great vintages, everyone makes great wine – so you don’t have to purchase the top Names, try and enjoy wines from lesser known producers.
5)There are Five Grands Crus – Five Growths – usually a First Growth costs more than a Second, Second more than Third, etc..it’s not always true, but if you want to understand this better (also called the “1855 Classification”) go here.
Event: Official Unions des Grands Crus Bordeaux Tasting – the Amazing 2010 Vintage
Date: January 24th (Thursday), 2013
Time: 5 – 8 pm
Location: The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20004
Ticket Price: $99/per person (note Special Valet Parking Price Available on Ticketing Form)
***Tickets Have Limited Availability***
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 marked 3 Stars Brewery’s launch into the world of Art and Beer with their new Mural at their 6400 Chillum Place Brewery and a Who’s Who of DC Food and Drink Artisans.
This was a DC Foodie Scene:
-I finally tried (and met the owners of DC’s First Distillery) Green Hat Gin – I really like their blend of spices with alot of Indian spice like cardamom and interestingly it reminded me alot of Pisco. Michael Lowe and John Uselton were both there and I could feel their enthusiasm for DC’s first Distillery in many years. Currently, they offer the chance to work their bottling line at the Distillery, but we talked about a more in-depth class like a Distilling 101, more news soon..
-Qualia Coffee’s Joel Finkelstein was sampling his off-premise brand “Fresh Off the Roast” and talking about his recent tasting with some DC Local Press – Here’s the article from Tim Carman over at WaPo about Joel’s indignation over the lack of quality crafted coffee in DC Restaurants
-I sampled some of Righteous Cheese ‘s well, cheeses, and chatted with the Founder Carolyn Stromberg about the need for more cheese classes in DC. Her schedule is so busy and a retail cheese shop is so demanding of her time, that she felt she could only do a limited number, but expect to see more in 2013.
–3 Stars was pouring Pandemic Porter, Southern Belle, Peppercorn Saison, Sea Change Pale Ale, Winter Madness, Global Pandemic (Bulleit barrel-aged Pandemic Porter (aged six months from the first brew in the brewery) blended with fresh Pandemic Porter) and all were delicious – I definitely remember the oak, vanilla and smoke of the last beer which would be perfect with some BBQ pork ribs! Dave Coleman was having a great time with the release of the new mural made by local artist Kendra Kuliga – I also noticed that the warehouse space had room for expansion..sort of a hint?
–Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s was slicing up some salty and delicious brisket as well as some briney Edwards Virginia Hams (which remind me alot of Spain’s Serrano Ham).
-Sampled some charcuterie with Three Little Pigs co-owner Carolina Gomez – she told me the store would be closed much of January because she’ll be getting married.
–Gordy’s Pickles Sheila Fain spoke with me about the phenomenal growth of her spears and how Whole Foods was carrying them in all of their DC markets. I had to bring up the curious local connection of Rob Duncan of Dolcezza creating a special Thai basil jalapeño sorbetto, featuring Thai basil jalapeños from Gordy’s Pickle Jar
Rappahanock Oysters was tasting some of their wonderful salty Virginia oysters. I’m hoping they do more tasting events and dinners in Washington, D.C. – Although we have one major oyster fest (Oyster Riot at Old Ebbitt Grille), there is definitely enough demand for more events around oysters and easily we could pair them with other local artisan products..speaking of which..
There were also Cocktails by Nick Nazdin of El Chucho & Carlo Bruno of Sidebar, but by this point I was so looped, that I had no palate to speak of!
A fun time had by all and a very good idea for future new concept events – maybe we could do a DC Brew and Oyster Fest, or a DC Cocktail Expo, or even a Chesapeake Wine and Oyster Fest..there are a myriad of possibilities and definitely the demand is there for these type of Foodie Experiences – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
6 Courses of Pleasure Champagne and Sparkling Wine Dinner – A Celebration with Mayfair & Pine and Thibaut-Janisson
This dinner showcased how sparkling wines make flavors shine..
The meal began with an aperitif which was the sparkling wine served also with the first course – Virginia Fizz. It’s a good starter wine which is light, crisp and not too minerally and with a touch of sweetness to get your taste buds going! The first course was a delicious slightly sweet pumpkin soup that Chef Sprissler said was “like pumpkin pie in a bowl”..it also had a nice aromatic touch of truffle oil, this was a very nice starting dish. Afterward we had the goat cheese which were little balls (I thought they were quail eggs!) like Mozzarella bocconcini with a spicy tomato almost salsa which contrasted nicely – creamy/sweet to spicy/savory..and of course those little toast squares! The third course was Chef Emily Sprissler’s own take on the bar food she ate when she worked as a chef in London and had little money for food – The samosas had handmade puff pastry (once a rarity, but great chefs like Sprissler are really starting to raise their game – one of the things Foodies can credit to both the TV show Top Chef and the fact that chefs travel the world to perfect their craft). The first 3 courses were paired with Virginia Sparkling Wines by Thibaut-Janisson – the speaker for the first 3 VA wines was owner Claude Thibaut who explained about the challenges of growing grapes and making wine in Virginia’s climate vs. in the Champagne region of France.
The last three dishes were paired my Manuel Janisson who is the Champagne side of this wine producer – as you may or may not know, Champagne is actually a region and unlike American wines, the French tend to label according to region/appellation (like Bordeaux and Burgundy). Interestingly, it was difficult to tell the wines were French vs. Virginian – although acidity levels and minerality tend to be higher in the cooler region French Champagnes, these winemakers are so expert that they know how to make great wines from their respective vineyards.
6-Course Champagne Dinner Menu
Tomato Goat Cheese Napoleon
Thibaut-Janisson Cuvee d’etat 2008, Virginia
Janisson et Fils Tradition Brut NV, Champagne
Chocolate Pear Tart
Janisson et Fils Brut Rose NV, Champagne