Archive for the ‘wine classes’ Category
It’s that time of year where everyone wants to know which wine goes with the Thanksgiving Turkey..
Here are some fun wine classes around Thanksgiving that offer more than just the usual suspects like Beaujolais Nouveau and German Rieslings – both great, but there are so many fantastic and fun pairings to consider! The key to Thanksgiving is to consider the whole family..or at least those over 21 years of age – I mean does Aunt Harriet really want some complex pairing partner to her pumpkin pie with marshmallows? Maybe something not too heavy, and even a touch sweet works better! I always say bring 2 bottles to the Thanksgiving meal – one cheap for everybody who just wants something fun to drink and one for yourself..who’s going to notice anyway – just put your favorite bottle under the table, grab and pour when needed..
In this walk-around style event, you will be “Thankful” to taste 15 of our most sought-after. Those wines are hand-selected by our Chef and Sommelier Staff and beyond Beaujolais with 3 stations of wine styles that are perfect compliments to a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Whether you are planning dinner at your own home or want advice on what to bring to a party, our 3 sommeliers will assist you while you taste delicious, great value wines.
This is with Wine Workshop which not only does excellent tastings but some pretty awesome (pricey too!) wine dinners with some of the world’s greatest wine producers..Since Turley’s debut vintage of 1993, it was quickly established that Turley Cellars was deadly serious about making blockbuster Zinfandels from some of California’s oldest, pre-prohibition, head-pruned vineyards. The wines are made from super ripe grapes that express the essence of Zinfandel. Larry Turley’s wines are extraordinarily rich and clearly the most concentrated and powerful Zinfandels ever made. As Robert Parker has stated many times in the past, “Turley Cellars’ offerings have become the reference point for Zinfandel, as they are the most complex, concentrated, hedonistic wines ever produced from this varietal.”
Taste among these classics:
1996 Aida; 2002, 2003 Dragon; 1998, 2001 Duarte, 1999 Estate; 1997, 2001 Moore ‘Earthquake’; 2001 Pesenti; 1999, 2001 Pringle Family; 2003 Rattlesnake Ridge; 1999, 2000 Tofanelli and 2001 Vineyard 101. Fantastic Fortified Flavors of Port, Sherry and Madeira, Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at Chain Bridge Cellars, McLean, VA
As Fall turns to Winter and Thanksgiving and the December Holidays come close, it’s a fine time to explore the warming wonders of the world’s best fortified wines. They can be dry and savory (like Rainwater or Sercial Madeira) or sweet and unctuous (like Bual Madeira or Port). Some are complements to a fine meal, while others are the crowning touch after dessert. But all are fascinating, fun to explore, and very, very, delicious.
Join us on Sunday, November 23, as we explore the world of sweet and savory fortified wines from Port and Medeira. We’ll taste four Ports, ranging from a wood-aged white Port to a rare single-vintage Tawny and two wines from the great 2011 Vintage Port release:
Rozes Porto White Reserve NV
Quinta Dona Matilde Vintage Port 2011
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2011
Quinta Dona Matilde Colhieta Port 2004
For the Madeiras, we’ll travel back in time to the 18th Century, when Madeira was the most popular drink of our Founding Fathers. The Rare Wine Company and Madeira producer Barbeito have created a line-up of wines that showcase styles most popular in various cities of Colonial America – we’ll try four of them:
Barbeito New York Malmsey Reserve
Barbeito Boston Bual Reserve
Barbeito Baltimore Rainwater Reserve
Barbeito Charleston Sercial Reserve
We’ll serve you some wonderful pairing bites like walnuts, dried fruit, salty bleu cheeses, and even a little dark chocolate so you can enjoy how well the wines play with food. You’ll learn how they were created, are made, and the best way and time to enjoy each wine. Most of all, though, you’ll enjoy eight delicious fortified wines and a rousing good time!
I’ve loved attending wine dinners in the Washington, D.C. area (Northern Virginia and Maryland too!) for the past 15 years over at TasteDC . I’m sort of a wine dinner specialist – so what exactly does that mean? It basically means that I understand and consume plenty of wine, and the whole concept of creating a dinner around wine and food pairing just seems natural to me – and quite enjoyable!
My baby TasteDC just got hired to promote a series of wine dinners for a very reputable local Spanish restaurant chain – La Tasca Restaurants. I like both their concept and their willingness to use wine dinners and cooking classes as a smart way to extend their brand. Today’s restaurant goer has so many choices, but what will get her attention in the crowded restaurant scene. How about treating going out to eat as an experience for all the senses and not just an excuse to fill the belly? Just from experience, people who attend wine dinners are generally not only Foodies, but they’re also more intelligent, better paid, travel more and appreciate the nuances of pairing food and wine in a multi-course dinner. Sound snooty? Actually, wine dinners can be really fun, and often the banter and conversations are very interesting and entertaining!
Here’s a series of Washington, DC wine dinners, Virginia wine dinners and Maryland wine dinners that TasteDC is promoting/marketing for La Tasca:
4-Course Torres Spanish Wine Dinners,$75 inclusive of food, wine, tax & tip
Various Dates and La Tasca Locations – See Below
Fall Torres Wine Festival Dinners
8 Wines * 4 Course Dinner * Prize Trip to Spain * Flamenco Show
La Tasca — Washington, DC 722 7th Street NW, November 13th, Wednesday (6-9 pm)
La Tasca – Arlington, VA 2900 Wilson Blvd, November 14th, Thursday (6-9 pm)
La Tasca-Baltimore, 201 E Pratt St, November 16th, Saturday (6-9 pm)
La Tasca – Rockville 141 Gibbs St, November 19th, Tuesday (6-9 pm)
La Tasca – Alexandria 607 King St, November 24th, Sunday (6-9 pm)
Fall Torres Wine Festival Dinners
8 Wines | 4 Course Dinner | Prize Trip to Spain | Flamenco Show
An Exciting Evening!
We are thrilled to invite you to join us for an incredible evening, complete with tastings of eight notable wines led by the passionate and amazing folks at Torres Wines. In addition, enjoy a four-course dinner prepared by executive chef Josu Zubikarai, an open bar, an exclusive flamenco performance, and a small gift to take with you. And let’s not forget that, as part of the Torres Wine Festival, all guests will be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Barcelona, Spain!
Have you ever thought of wine as art? Now is your chance. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss!
When and Where?
We are hosting Torres Wine Dinners at all of our La Tasca locations. Every event will be held from 6-9pm. If events reach capacity, we will add additional dates.
It’s Cocktail (Half) Hour
For the first half hour, from 6–6:30, a choice of sangrias and signature appetizers will be served. During this time we will also introduce our Torres host, who will lead the wine tasting for the evening.
Wine, Anyone? Oh, and Dinner Too
Paella Square Prepared by Chef Josu, dinner will be served over three courses. At moments during dinner, guests will be led through a tasting (and a fascinating history) of some of Spain’s most interesting wines, stretching across various regions and including popular varietals like verdejo and tempranillo. Not a wine connoisseur? No worries, this is a perfect way to learn and get excited about wine.
Dessert will be served following dinner, along with coffee and teas and a featured dessert wine.
During dessert, watch the passion and the heritage of Spain come to life with a spirited flamenco performance from the most well-known dancers and musicians in the area.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
The cost of the event is $75 per guest and is all-inclusive — the wine tasting, dinner, all beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), dessert, flamenco performance and all taxes and gratuities are covered in the ticket price. Dress is casual and accommodations will be made for guests with any dietary restrictions.
To register for the event, please select one of the event dates shown on the calendar to the right. After selecting a date, scroll down the event details and click on “Book Now”. All guests will be entered for the chance to win a trip for two to Barcelona in 2014. Details on this contest and prize are being finalized, but information will be updated at the link on the right.
Portugal is Unique in that they produce 250 grape varietals unique to their region..
OK, I didn’t actually try to taste 250 new grape varietals (can you say “Alvarinho”, “Baga” “Trincadeira” or “Touriga Nacional” ?) but I did try to better understand the wonderful variety of wines coming from a country with a unique language and known more for fortified wines – their Ports – than for their still wines.
The best part of my tasting was the seated seminar with Evan Goldstein
– I had seen him in videos, but it was great to actually meet the wine powerhouse in person. Passionate is not a wasted word on this wine lover – he really presented with energy and humor and a keen sense of fun and adventure – he popped a few key Portguese words into the presentation but for the obvious effect – few people understand the language!
-Vinho Verde which translates as “Green Wine” does NOT mean green-hued wine, but rather a wine meant to be consumed “young”.
-Portuguese “Verdelho” is NOT the same as Spanish “Verdejo”
-There is a Rose Vinho Verde
-There are many micro-climates and the wines from the southern planes tend to ripen very evenly from year to year.
-Moscatel de Setubal is a Muscat Fortified wine other than Port from the southern Peninsula and has more of a golden raisin/apricot flavor than Ports more prunish, dark fruit flavors.
Overall I was impressed by the consistency of the wines – most had abundent acidity and enough fruit and flavor for backbone. Some of the reds such as the pure Touriga Nacional’s were quite tannic and “cedar box” spice, but still the average quality of wines was quite good.
I do want to mention that TasteDC was affiliated with the Consumer Grand Tasting that evening and helped to sell it out – although the wines were the same in the consumer tasting, the food was much better than the Trade got which is actually a good thing. Also the food was quite good – really tender carved Roast Beef, Ham Table, Specialty Taco Table and something I hadn’t seen before – a Ramen Noodle table with the chance to choose your own noodles and fixings- this kept the Vegetarians happy – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
“In Order to Make Great Wine, the Vines Must Suffer..”
I attended a recent trade tasting given by the Bureau of Burgundy Wines on Tuesday, April 23rd at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C. – it was taught by a very affable and precise Jean-Pierre Renard who took us through history, philosophy and ultimately a tasting of 9 wines from the lowest classification up to a Grand Cru – Corton Grand Cru, les Renardes, 2008 Domaine Maillard.
We covered the basics of Burgundy which can actually be quite confusing. In a nutshell, Burgundy is a region and the wines are named from their location in that region. The basic breakdown is Regional wines, Village wines, Premiere Cru wines and Grands Cru wines, each respective layer being more rare and specific to a smaller number of wines and thus normally costing more as well. If you purchase a regular Bourgogne with little more information on the bottle, it most likely can come from grapes grown anywhere in that region. Village wines have regionality, but are not specific to any site while Premiere Cru and Grands Cru grapes come from specified parcels. Add to this the complexity rule-wise of “climats” which loosely translates according to the speaker as the “DNA of the individual Bourgogne Vineyards” – I actually found a site in English that delves deeper into the climats concept – the “climats”. Climats equates closely with “terroir”..
OK, now that you’re probably totally confused, let me say that much of what the speaker said rang true with what I had learned over the past 15 years at various wine classes and courses.
Burgundy has been producing serious wine since the Roman times, and afterwards the plots of land came from Church donations by nobles – they always gave their worst sites (poorest and rockiest soils) to the local Monasteries. Ironically, the rocky soils and hills they donated actually produce the world’s greatest wines!
The concept of “terroir” has really been developed from the wines of Burgundy more so than any other region – why?
1)They pretty much only use Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines (a few exceptions like Aligote, but these are not blended)
2)hillside vineyards grow very different quality grapes from vineyards grown in the valley – hillier/higher sites produce more intense wine flavors, valley grapes are more generic.
3)Each vineyard site has it’s own weather patterns, geology, geography and even human/historical conditions. This last point is very confusing to most Americans: wine is made by humans, NOT by nature! Choosing the right site and propagating the best grapes is a human endeavor, but Nature is always adding chance to the equation. There is science as well as mysticism in the vineyard, maybe even some witchcraft..
“People can’t wait for aging wine any more, they want to drink everything young..”
A sad refrain by Jean-Pierre, but the reality of the modern wine drinker – people today don’t want to age their wines, so they want to drink young vintages before they’re ready to shine. There is so much history in Burgundy and even though winemaking today is better than ever, to truly understand and appreciate a fine age-worthy Burgundy, you simply must wait – Patience!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Upcoming French Events on TasteDC April/May 2013:
-April 30th – French Cooking: French Basics 101 at Cookology, $65
-May 1st – Wine Maker Dinner at Eola, featuring Château Léoville-Poyferré, $135
-May 20th – French Classics: The Suckling Pig, $60
I attended a really fun Sparkling Wine Comparison Tasting of Champagne vs. The Rest at the Hill Center as part of the Barracks Row Culinary Crawl on Sunday, February 17th, 2013. There were actually 2 speakers at the event: Burnie Williams of Chat’s Liquors who did most of the educational component of the event and a French gentleman I only remember as “Charles” who spoke about the specifics of the 4 wines we tasted because he imported them.
The Wine: There were 4 sparkling wines poured of which 2 were non-Champagne (one Italian, one French Cremant) and two “true” Champagnes. (I’ve included “suggested retail price” which usually means you can get them for a bit less..)
- Ca’ dei Zago DOC Proseccor Coi Fondo 2010 – Prosecco is actually made in a less expensive method than traditional Champagne – the Charmat method, where the second fermentation is done in tank. This was also a pretty dry version of Prosecco – they usually are a bit more sweet.
- Klein “Cremant d’Alsace” Chardonnay Extra Brut (Alsace, France), $29.99 – very nice Chardonnay based sparkler – pretty good value.
- Champagne Francois Diligent Rose Cote de Bar, NV (Champagne, France), $36.99- this wine was a bit funky, but I think the cork had ruined it..
- Laherte Freres “Les Vignes d’Autrefois-A Chavot” Extra Brut, 2006 (Champagne, France) $74.99 – My favorite by a long shot – price doesn’t always determine quality, but this wine had the wine on the lees for 3 years in bottle and this created that nutty, smokey, yeasty complexity that I LOVE in Champagne – by this one for me!
The Education: Burnie Williams, the owner of Chat’s Liquors did an excellent job of covering a pretty involved and complex topic. You see, sparkling wines are created different from other wines – they must go through a second fermentation to create the bubbles, the first fermentation creates the “wine” and alcohol. He did an excellent job of covering both the history (yep, Dom Perignon was NOT the inventor of sparkling wine!) and the process of making sparkling wines. I’ve attended many sparkling wine classes so rather than bore with you with all the details, the most interesting parts of making this type of wine are:
Lees – these are the dead yeast that drop to the bottom of the barrel or bottle, depending on how you’re aging your wine. If you let them stay with the wine and age, they create a yeasty/nutty flavor and aroma, if you take them away (slightly different than “filtering” a wine, but similar process), then the wine will have a cleaner more fruit-driven expression.
Riddling – this is the process of turning the bottles a few turns every so often for maybe a year or two to get the dead yeast from the 2nd fermentation out of the wine. This was once done by humans wearing cages on their face to prevent chards of glass from cutting their faces if the bottles exploded (19th century bottles had poor technology!), but now often done by machines.
Disgorging – After riddling, the dead yeast/lees are now upside down in the bottle and form a plug of..dead yeast! This has to be removed or “disgorged” – the way it’s done today is by freezing this gook but putting the bottles part way into an ice bath with salted water – the low temperature freezes only the plug and thus it is pulled out.
Dosage – This is after the dead lees are taken out, the final flavor and sugar level is added back – Brut is less sugar than Extra Dry, so the type of flavor/sweetness is determined at this point.
Overall, had a really fun time at this event and it was a helluva deal at such a low price! I’m chatting it up with Chat’s Liquors to do more tasting events – DC has very few wine tastings right now, and the demand is there. As always, keep drinking good sparkling wine, Champagne or whatever is in your glass..you only live once – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
I attended a LivingSocial sponsored event “Wine + Cheese at Black’s Bar & Kitchen” (Bethesda, MD) on Saturday, November 17th, 2012 from 1 – 3 pm – actually, it was the first event I had attended through LivingSocial even though I had purchased many restaurant deals from them in the past. The event had 2 flights of cheeses, 12 cheeses in total and wines were paired with them, a total of 8 (See list of wines and cheeses with Photos below). It was a seated event and guided tasting with main presenter Chef Mallory Buford speaking about the cheeses and Black’s Sommelier Anderson Plunket discussing the wines. Chef Buford was very knowledgeable about cheese, but each cheese producer also had their own representative/distributor to talk about each cheese’s qualities. It was a nice combination of class and chance for people to talk amongst themselves – I would call it “lecture light” and more of a chance for people to try everything and make their own conclusions. This restaurant is really known for seafood so it’s kind of interesting that they decided to try a cheese and wine event – my understanding is that all of these cheeses are on their existing menu, so that makes sense..but don’t ask an Italian – they claim that seafood and cheese should never go together!
There were 12 cheeses and 8 wines:
1st Cheese Flight:
1)Cherry Glen Farms Monocacy Silver – Soft-Ripened Goat’s Milk
2)Cherry Glen Farms Monocacy Ash-Soft Ripened Goat’s Milk with Ash Rind
3)Vermont Butter & Cheese Bonne Bouche – Ash-Ripened Goat’s Milk
4)Vermont Butter & Cheese Coupole – Aged Goat Milk
5)Vermont Butter & Cheese Cremont – Aged Goat and Cow’s Milk
2nd Cheese Flight:
6)Jasper Hill Farm Weybridge – Organic Cow’s Milk
7)Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound Cheddar – English Style Cow’s Milk
8)Jasper Hill Farm Landaff – Semi-Firm Raw Cow’s Milk
9)Beehive Creamery Promontory – Irish Style Cow’s Milk
10)Beehive Creamery – Espresso and Lavendar Rubbed Cow’s Milk
11)Beehive Creamery – Cayenne Rubbed Cow’s Milk
12)Jasper Hill Farm – Raw Cow’s Milk Blue
1)Prosecco, Tenuta S. Anna, NV (Italy)
2)Sancerre, Paul Prieur 2010 (Loire, France)
3)Pinot Gris, Elk Cove 2011 (Williamette Valley, Oregon)
4)Chardonnay, Windracer 2007 (Anderson Valley, CA)
5)Pinot Noir, Domaine Carneros 2010 (Carneros, CA)
6)Merlot, Truchard 2008 (Carneros, CA)
7)Cabernet/Syrah Blend, Treana 2009 (Organic) (Paso Robles, CA)
8)Riesling, Poet’s Leap 2010 (Columbia Valley, WA)
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Even with this heat wave, I’m seeing alot of food and drink events in the DC Region and some interesting cooking classes as well. I thought the Blog would be a fun place to post these events every once in awhile (until the TasteDC Food and Drink Event Calendar is completed in the Fall), enjoy!
5-Course Belgian Beer Dinner
June 25th (Monday) 7 pm
Mad Fox Brewing Company, 444 West Broad Street, Suite I, Falls Church, VA 22046
Menu with Beers
Our culinary team, led by Executive Chef Andrew Dixon, has an exciting menu for our first Belgian themed beer dinner. We’ll have a 5-course meal paired with Mad Fox’s Belgian-style beers, including the soon to be released Abbaye des Chutes and the Witte Vos Witbier.
The cost is $75 excluding taxes and gratuity – seating is limited,
Reservations with a credit card are taken at 703-942-6840.
Gluten Free Wine Dinner
June 26th (Tuesday) 7 pm
Wildfire McLean, Tysons Galleria 3rd Floor, McLean, VA 22102
Join us for an evening of gluten free dining, featuring a four course custom menu, each paired with a hand-selected
wine to complement the dish. The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., follwed by dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Guest speaker, Vanessa Weisbrod, Executive Editor of Delight Gluten Free Magazine, will be on hand to share her insight on living and dining gluten free.
Tickets Are $65/per person exclusive of tax and gratuity
Make Reservations by Calling Elissa or Amanda at (703) 442-9110
6-Course Sushi-Ko Beer Dinner
June 26th (Tuesday) 7 pm
5455 Wisconsin Avenue Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Six-course menu created by owner and creative director of Sushi-ko, Daisuke Utagawa, together with beer expert Jocelyn Cambier.
The beer dinner is $85, all inclusive. Here’s the menu:
Edamame paired with Port City pale ale
Lobster and Asparagus Suimono (clear soup) with Brasseurs Illimites double porter
Flounder Carpaccio with White Soy and Truffle Sauce complemented by a surprise beer of Brasseurs du Monde
Honey and Soy Roasted Duck with A l’Abri de La Tempete Corps Mort
Spicy Broiled Mussels and Coronado Islander IPA
and a final course of Nigiri Sushi paired with Brasseurs Illimites Imperial Stout
Call (301) 961-1644 for tickets
Wine Tasting 101: Champagne Deutz & Maison Delas (Rhône) Class
June 26th (Tuesday) 7 pm
French American Cultural Foundation, La Maison Francaise, 4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007
Charlie Adler Shows How to Open Champagne
Our monthly Wine Tasting 101 soirées — with veteran wine journalist Claire Morin-Gibourg – explores the regions (Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône Valley, Languedoc and Bordeaux) and vineyards in France, as well as tasting techniques. List of wines for this session include: -Champagne Deutz Brut Classic, Champagne Deutz Brut Rosé nv, Champagne Deutz Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée William Deutz millésimé, Delas Frères blanc Saint Joseph ou Condrieu, Delas Frères rouge Hermitage; Also included: a fine assortment of cheeses.
Tickets Are $70/per person
Purchase Tickets Online
June 26th (Tuesday) 6:30 pm
The Washington Hilton Hotel
1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC
Enter through the “T Street” Entrance
VIP Reception for Sponsors & Special Guests, 5:30pm
Main Doors Open, 6:30pmMore than 1,300 guests will enjoy tastings from 60 of the region’s brightest culinary stars while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support children and adults facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. In addition to a menu filled with one-of-a-kind delights, you’ll enjoy bidding on live and silent auctions featuring travel opportunities and other great adventures.
Tickets Are $250/per person (Table/Sponsorships Available)
More Info and Purchase Tickets Online
One ticket to The Gibson Whiskey Cocktail Making Class on Wednesday June 27, 2012 at 6 PM
Whiskey-blending tutorial with premium single malt whiskeys
Take-home custom blended whiskey
Tickets Are $60/per person
6-Course Spanish Wine Dinner
June 27th (Wednesday) 7 pm
Tuskies, 203 Harrison St., Leesburg, VA 20175
Guest speaker Alicia Geiser will showcase some of the delicious wines coming from Spain. Chef Patrick will be hard at work pairing these wines with his interpretation of Spanish cuisine. $95 inclusive
Tickets Are $95/per person inclusive
Purchase Tickets Online
Catoctin Creek – The Art of Summer Cocktails
June 27th (Wednesday) 6:30 – 8:3O PM
J&G Steakhouse Wine Bar, 515 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010
Scott Harris, general manager of the award-winning Virginia distillery Catoctin Creek, will demonstrate how to make three whiskey-based drinks that are sure to be a hit at your next summer soirée. Guests will also enjoy paired bites and receive a gift bag of Catoctin goodies after the event and then show off your newly acquired mixology skills later this summer.
Tickets Are $41/per person
Purchase Tickets Online
Great Lakes Brewing Company Beer Dinner
June 28th (Thursday) 7 – 10 pm
Dino’s, 3435 Connecticut Avenue NW
Cleveland Park, Washington DC, 20008
The Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Mission Statement: “Great Lakes Brewing Company is a principle-centered, environmentally respectful and socially conscious company committed to crafting fresh, flavorful, high-quality beer and food for the enjoyment of our customers. We aspire to maintain our status as the premier craft brewery in the Great Lakes region and are dedicated to uncompromising service, continuous improvement and innovative consumer education.”
See Complete Menu http://www.dino-dc.com/2012/06/great-lakes-brewing-company-brew-dinner.html/#start
Tickets Are $55/per person exclusive of tax & gratuity
Call for Reservations 202-686-2966
Essential Knife Skills
June 30th (Saturday) 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Sur La Table (Pentagon City), 1101 South Joyce Street Suite B-20 , Arlington, Virginia 22202
One of our most popular classes, join us as our expert instructor helps students become confident at the cutting board with the chef’s most important tool. Students will hone basic knife skills and practice the fundamental cuts for vegetables—mince, dice, brunoise, batonnet and julienne—as well as learn some advanced techniques. We’ll also show you how to select a knife that best fits your needs, and share tips for keeping all your cutlery sharp and well maintained at home.
Tickets Are $59/per person
Purchase Tickets Online
BBQ and Smoking Cooking Class
June 30th (Saturday) 2 -5 pm
Culinaria, 110 Pleasant Street Northwest Vienna, VA 22180
TasteDC BBQ 101 Class Video
Summertime and barbecue – they just go together. Chef Mike will discuss brining, rubs and the various cuts and preparation of smoked meats including pork shoulder, ribs and salmon. Come learn how to make and, most importantly, taste some great BBQ and smoked items.
Tickets Are $85/per person
Purchase Tickets Online
I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but like Halloween, it’s a celebration/festivity that has taken on a life of it’s own. And 2012 is no exception, there are just a plethora of Valentine’s tastings for both the chocolate and non-chocolate lover – I’m not even sure if the latter exists! Some quick thoughts on Valentine’s and tastings: if you’re a restaurant or event provider who wishes to really draw people in this time of year, any theme with chocolate, sparkling wine (especially Champagne) or some over-the-top rich dish like braised meats seems to bring people in in droves – oh, and also any food/concept connected with Amore, for example oysters and fondue (both chocolate and cheese work). It’s also OK to add terms like “seduction”, “decadent”, “aphrodisiac” and even “libido” to your menu descriptions which breaks away from the everyday norm of exclusion of these concepts – Valentine’s gives you as the marketer the right to explore the racier side of life..and people will accept and forgive you for about a week! Of course, certain cultures are also associated with lasciviousness so French and Italian restaurants and themes have a distinct advantage. If you have a strong combination of all of these themes and concepts, you can also expect a marriage proposal or two to occur – and hopefully, not with your staff!
Oh, and to make all this information just a touch more confusing..Valentine’s Day is officially Tuesday, February 14th, but many events list their date on Saturday or Sunday as “official” Valentine’s Day events – it’s a celebration of love and romance, does it really matter what the official date is? I think not..
I will list the major tastings by date (Note: if you’re just looking for a listing of restaurants that have multi-course dinners especially for Valentine’s, here’s a pretty good list by Washingtonian):
Thursday, February 9th,
Sommelier Showdown (as part of the DC International Food and Wine Festival), 7:00pm-9:00pm
Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20004
Tickets are $150/per person and can be Purchased Online
See top DC Sommeliers flex their knowledge at the Washington DC International Wine & Food Festival’s inaugural Sommelier Showdown. Our experts will engage in a friendly tête-à-tête and compete in a race of the taste, using deductive tasting to identify wines with hidden labels.
To complement the wines presented, the Showdown will feature five of DCs most noted chefs who will be tasked with bringing food and wine together, including Chefs Todd Gray (Equinox), Xavier Deshayes (Ronald Reagan Building), and Jaime Montes de Oca (Zentan).
SOLD OUT-Savory Syrah – A Global Tour
Chain Bridge Cellars, 1351 Chain Bridge Rd. McLean, VA 22101 Wine experts all agree that Syrah is one of the “noble” varietals, capable of making some of the most complex, layered and age-worthy wines in the world. But the kinship between a $10 Aussie Shiraz and a $70 Hermitage is pretty hard to fathom! So take a worldwide tour of everything Syrah/Shiraz can be and see if you can find some common themes. We’ll taste bargains from Australia and the South of France; classic American, South African and Rhone wines; and a couple of “big guns” from the Barosa and Cote Rotie. This class includes seven wines, Syrah-friendly snacks, and take-home descriptions of each wine and region covered. To reserve a space, email [email protected] or call 703.356.6500
How to Blind Taste Wine
February 9th (Thursday) Session 1: 6 – 7:30 pm; and Session 2: 8 – 9:30 pm
Adour in The St. Regis, 923 16th and K Streets, N.W., Washington, DC 20006
Wine Director Brent Kroll will conduct a sensory analysis on how to quantify wine flavors and origin.
Tickets are $60/per person.
Call (202) 509-8000 to Make Reservations
I’ve organized or promoted over 1,000 wine tastings and wine classes in the Washington, D.C. area since 1997 through my organization TasteDC.com. A few times a week I get a phone call at headquarters (a room in my Georgetown townhouse with 2 computers, a color printer and a Fax..but it IS Ground Zero for DC wine tastings!) asking me to organize a wine tasting or class for a group of say maybe 15 people. What’s funny/unfortunate/amazing is that the call is almost always the same – THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A WINE TASTING IS OR WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR!
A wine tasting is an event from the TasteDC perspective – it has a beginning time, an ending time and a theme to fill the middle of the tasting. Say for example, a wine tasting of wine styles: rent a room, supply it with glassware (maybe a little food – cheese, crackers and bread would be nice!), a selection of wines with say three different “styles” (could be anything, but normally it might be light-bodied, medium-bodied and heavy-bodied wines) and put them at their own tables with volunteers pouring the wine..or people could pour their own wine – then we suggest you put out an information tasting sheet on each wine..
- Do you have a Date?
- Do you have a Venue?
- Do you have a wine “theme”?
There are literally thousands of ways to organize a wine tasting! I do want to make note – if you use the term “wine class” that most likely means a seated event with a speaker. Does a wine tasting necessarily need a speaker? No – the simple answer is sometimes (most of the time!) a speaker ads an unnecessary expense to a tasting – speakers charge for their services and the fees range significantly (I start at about $500 per event, but I have other ways to increase my profitability – hey, don’t attendees want a copy of my book “I Drink on the Job” ?
I’m going to write more about what to look for in a wine tasting – both for a private group and for a fun public form of entertainment – keep checking back – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
I hate picky eaters – not with a passion, but totally through self-interest: if you don’t try new things to eat and drink, you won’t be attending any of my wine or culinary events. Why? Because I always add adventurous foods and stories to TasteDC’s Events(blatant plug!) whenever possible. I’ve included in this Post below the complete menu from my 2006 “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival”, check out the menu and click on link for photos.
As an anecdote, last night I taught the Wine Basics 101 class at TasteDC. I told everyone as I often do, that food is way more important than wine – you have to eat, wine is really just an added spice or nuance to the meal, no more. So I told everyone that food would be a primary focus of my introductory wine class – food and wine pairing, talking about food, cooking food, and experiencing food. I always say that if you understand how to cook and balance the flavors of a dish, then wine will come easy to you. I consider wine a missing component in a dish..well, let me digress.. So it was a small class of about 15 people and I noticed alot of ethnic/international diversity – a woman from India, one from Brazil, one from Togo (I think?) in Africa, and then a smattering of Americans from different parts of the country. DC is ethnically diverse. After talking about food and wine for awhile, I began to ask people for their favorite dishes and foods. The Indian woman mentioned she loved butter – which makes sense, because Indian food often incorporates ghee (clarified butter). To a Brazilian woman sitting next to her American boyfriend, I mentioned Feijoada and her eyes lit up – and all across the room most Americans acted disgusted when I mentioned that Feijoada is essentially the leftover parts of a pig stewed with beans – their equivalent to our chili. So I asked her if her boyfriend liked Feijoada..and then the long pause..that uncomfortable pause when a person begins to look for the right thing to say, for that special person to react in a certain way, and for the universe to somehow come to balance..no, her boyfriend didn’t like Feijoada, or for that matter anything she considered delicious, he was an..peanut butter and jelly sandwich addict! I don’t think I need to fill in the details..another woman at the event LOVED to eat food, oh she just adored food, she really enjoyed it..as long as it was white meat chicken “simply” prepared – no sauce, no seasoning, but grilling it was OK..oh, and she also enjoyed salmon..that’s it! Ohh, she had “tried” other foods (she said this in such a way like a young child looking for praise from her mother!) – gold star stuck to the forehead – but she would never consume these foods – too risky, I mean they would taste outside her comfort realm of chicken and salmon, simply prepared..I should have named this article “Peanut Butter and Jelly and a Little Chicken”..
No comment or explanation from me about the American palate – there’s plenty of discussion of that in my book I Drink on the Job – the only adjective that comes to mind is “limited (extremely)”..I’ll post more on this topic soon!
The complete Menu for TasteDC’s “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival” below (Thumbnail Photos – Click to Enlarge – Here – Feel free to Post These Anywere, Permission Granted!
TasteDC’s 1st Annual “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival”
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006
List of Chefs and Dishes:
Chef de Cuisine, James Phillips – Juniper Restaurant, Fairmont Hotel
1. Rattlesnake Gumbo with Sassafras Scented Rice
2. Pink Peppercorn and Wattleseed Crusted Ostrich Leg Roast with Diablo Hollandaise
Lebanese Taverna and 100 King Street
1. Veal Kidney with a Dijon Mustard Sauce – 100 King Restaurant
2. Hindbeh Bil Zayt (sautéed Dandelion Leaves in olive oil with garlic,
parsley, and caramelized onions) – Lebanese Taverna
Executive Chef Dan Wecker, The Elkridge Furnace Inn
1. Nut Crusted Sweetbreads with Pomegranate Syrup
2. Buckwheat Blini with American Caviar and Crème Fraiche
Executive Chef Daniel Labonne, Tabaq Bistro
1. Jerk Frog Legs with Jamaican Spices
2. Caribbean Tripe Stew with Grilled Bananas
Executive Chef Daniel Kenney, and Executive Sous Chef Neal Bailey, Willard Hotel
1. Barolo Braised Veal Cheek with Shropshire” Orange” Blue
2. “Bacon and Eggs”: House Cured Berkshire Pork Belly with Fried Quails Egg
Executive Chef, Russell Cunningham, Dupont Grille, Jury Hotel
1. Calf Fries
2. Smoked Duck and Fried Squash Blossom Salad with Port Reduction and Pumpkinseed Oil
Executive Chef Charlie Hansji, The Jefferson Hotel
1. Beef Bone Marrow and Liver Parfait
2. Lamb Brains in the Style of Peking
Executive Chef Jamie Stachowski, Restaurant Kolumbia
1. Terrine de Tête de Veau
2. Boudin Rouge, Black Mission Fig and Goat Cheese Strudel
Executive Chef, Stefan Jarausch, The Madison, a Loews Hotel
1. Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Braised Pigs Feet, Xerez Gastrique
2. Crostini of Beef Tongue, Basque Style
Executive Chef Bryan of Chef Bryan’s Kitchen
1. Llama Slider with Bleu Cheese and Rosemary Red Onion Jam
2. Grilled Cayman Tail (crocodile) with Smoked Tomato and Basil Butter
Executive Chef, Brian Boots, Elegance Ala Carte
1. Alligator Étouffée
2. Caramelized Fennel, Yucca and Jicama Puree served over Fried Sweet Potato Chips
Executive Chef Daniel Amaya, Dino’s
1. Polipo: Olive Oil Braised Octopus with Cici (garbanzos) and Lemony Vinaigrette
2. Crostata di Formaggi. Erborinato di Pecora Cheese Tartlet: cave aged raw sheep’s
milk cheese with natural bluing. Robiola La Rossa Cheese Tartlet: Cow and sheep
mixed milk cheese wrapped in cherry leaves that are macerated in grappa
As always, from Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler