Posts Tagged ‘Wine Tasting’
October 20th, 2015 • No Comments
Saperavi — Mtsvane (silent “M”) — Rkatsiteli (silent “R”) – Georgian wines came to Washington, D.C. for a fantastic Trade Tasting held at Vidalia Restaurant on Monday, October 19, 2015 and really made a show! Presented by Georgian Wines (Facebook Event Here) the tasting was sponsored by The National Wine Agency, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Georgia.
So what makes Georgian wine unique?
1)Wines are made in an ancient traditional way – the “qvevri” which according to Wikipedia: “large earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine”.
Georgian “Orange Wines”
2)Orange or amber wines are created for white wine varietals due to skin contact while fermenting and aging. According to Wine Enthusiast: “Orange wines are white wines produced more like reds, with prolonged maceration of crushed grape skins and seeds.” Article Link Here . The taste is quite unique from this maceration and storing in clay pots – dried fruits like apricots and floral notes immediately come to mind, but of course it depends on the quality of grapes and the varietal. We tasted many Rkatsitelis (“R” is silent – so “cats-e-telee”) and Mtsvanis (“M” is silent – so “svah-nee”) and one in particular that was memorable was the Shalauri Mtsvane that was decanted – see image – “dried apricots, floral aromas and tea-like in flavor” – Very, VERY dry wines as well – not even a hint of residual sugar on my palate and medium acidity – these wines CRY for food! Mamuka Tsereteli, the infamous importer/distributor of many Georgian wines for Georgian Wine House in the Mid-Atlantic Region also told me I needed to taste his Our Wine Rkatsitelli – this “amber wine” (which seemed to be a more favorable expression at the event – I guess my love of Orange Fanta didn’t go over well!!) had an intensity/acidity and dried fruit/tea/smoked ham (I stole this descriptor from the pamphlet..but overall, it’s a goodie!) aroma/flavor profile that really stood out at the event!
3)Over 500 “unique/indigenous” varietals with 8,000 years of winemaking history – literally, the cradle of winemaking as we know it! Here are some I tasted: Chinebuli, Tsitska, Mtsvane, Saperavi, Tsolikouri, Rkatsiteli, Ojaleshi, Otskhanuri Sapere, Kisi and Krakhuna..400+ to go..
Georgian white wines often have this cool orange/amber color!
Qvevri – the Traditional Georgian Clay Pots for Storing Wine!
THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING PRODUCERS INCLUDES:
Marani (Telavi Wine Cellars)
Teliani Valley Winery
Mamuka Tsereteli – the Legend of Georgian Wines!
October 17th, 2015 • No Comments
So why not start with a National Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Sake Tasting? This image comes from the National Cherry Blossom . I attend this event almost every year and find that Sake is still a bit of a stranger to my palate – I shall explain: often the most highly rated “Daiginjho” which are the most expensive because of the process of buffing down the rice to such a small size – don’t have the most flavor. They can actually be quite subtle and even a bit mushroomy/earthy even floral notes. I guess it’s like Pinot Noir – which when they’re great are awesome, but when they’re made in a tough vintage or stored improperly, they can be quite drab! Although there’s food at this event, it’s really about the sake.
UFO Siting at Taste of DC – Cafe Bellas!
There was a UFO siting at Taste of DC – WhAAaatttt?? No, it’s this new Pop Up Cafe Concept called Cafe Bellas. Overall, I enjoyed Taste of DC – I went on the late side, so I couldn’t partake in the wine and beer tents which had virtually no lines and a pretty decent selection, especially of craft beers.
So what was the most unusual food I saw at any event? See the image at the Korean Festival for “Wild Caught Fresh U.S. Eel”..yep, those slippery little creatures ended up in my rice bowl! Is eel really that exotic – I mean if you watch Bizarre Foods/Andrew Zimmern? No, not really, but it scares most American diners just from the name and the thought of eating it! Having had eel many times in Sushi restaurants, I was more curious by the tent’s name – it seems that at least one Korean company is attempting to make a successful business in the U.S. of supplying this animal protein..will it succeed? Hard to tell, but just like rabbit, there are probably enough chefs and diners to make it an interesting focus on a few menus. Ohh, and of course it’s Gluten-Free!
Heritage BBQ DC – Fried Pork Rind Phone – it was a prank call!
Cochon 555 brought us Heritage BBQ which was a rockin’ experience around 5 great chefs (but I counted many more), 5 pigs and 5..well I think it’s wines, but as far as I could tell it was bourbon and mezcal..This is an Over the Top Event – it’s the Rock n Roll of Piggie Festivals, the Lamborghini of Porcine Madness, the Exclamation Point for the End of Western Civilization as we know it drowning in good things like Fidencio Mezcal, Handmade cocktails, Creekstone Farms Heritage Pigs, Pigs Heads, Bulleit, Breckenridge Booze, Buffalo Trace, Rappahannock Oysters and pretty much everything but actual Chef Porn (I always miss the After-Party to avoid the potential for Sodom and Gomorrah experiences!)..You Gotta Go Next Year!!
TasteUSA Upcoming Events for End of 2015
-Oct. 24th, 2015 – DC Scotch Walk – 8 Bars, 8 Scotches and only $35..Sweet Deal!
-November 7th, 2015 – DC Beerathon – 26 Beers at 26 Bars – yes, 12 oz. beers, and No, nobody expects you to finish all of them! Fun Tour, I’ve Done it, and you have all day to drink and mingle..
-Nov. 14th, 2015 – Brew & Bourbon Classic, Laurel Park – Special Priced Tickets – Only $20 inclusive of all the beer and bourbon you care to drink.
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
October 26th, 2013 • No Comments
Braida Wine Tasting and Three Course Wine Dinner – Legendary Italian Wines from Piemonte was held at Sonoma Restaurant on Friday, October 25th, 2013 and was a truly memorable event..
I really enjoyed this event with a family member of the Braida Winery in attendance – wine expert Norbert Reinisch, Braida’s Export Manager and Founder’s Son-In-Law. The tasting included Braida’s current releases of Montebruna, Il Baciale, Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Acqui..But we also got to taste multiple vintages of Bricco dell’Uccellone and Ai Suma in a pre-dinner wine tasting that was fabulous! Norbert has in interesting personal story: he’s actually Austrian and began his career as a Doctor..somewhere along the line he fell in love with a member of the Braida Family and changed his career from internist to wine ambassador! As they say – tough job – now he gets to travel the world and promote his wine family’s wines and thell their story – I could think of worse jobs!
Monferrato Rosso Il Baciale 2011, $29.99
A blend of Barbera, Pinot Noir and I think Merlot – beautiful cherry fruit with a touch of pepper from the Pinot and some backbone from the Merlot
Barbera Bricco dell’Uccelone 2009, $84.99
Barbera Bricco dell’Uccelone 2010, $86.99
These two wines were both 100% Barbera but very different. The 2009 had amazing fruit-forward cherry and even a bit of baked apple fruit intensity, and oak was in the background but beautiful licorice/anise on the finish. The 2010 was tight and needs at least a few more years for the cherry fruit to break through the strong structure of French Oak tannins and red skin tannins as well which made this quite licorice on the finish and also a bit closed on the nose – this one will be much better 5 and even 10 years from now!
Barbera Ai Suma 2007, $121.99
Barbera Ai Suma 2009, $112.99
Again, these two wines were picked from the same vineyards, but from different vintages. From the intense aromatics to the first sip, the 2007 was just amazing on the palate with tons of cherry fruit, but also an added dimension – not just great acidity which Barbera is distinctly known for even in these hotter/riper vintages – but this wine had character and almost a brooding development of complexity. The tannins were there, but beautifully incorporated with fruit, oak and lush chewiness on my palate – I felt this wine luxuriously on my palate. The 2009 was also very good, but distintly had more chocolate, baked cherry pie and sweetness that surprised me a bit because it was younger. Make a note: these wines are both around 16% alcohol, so they are trophy wines that can stand-up competitively to top Bordeaux and Napa, but with so much more acidity to keep them refreshing!
Three Course Wine Dinner Menu
Fluke Crudo with preserved lemon, moscatto gelee, frisee and local asian pear
paired with 2012 Moscato d’Asti
Grilled Duck Breast “Autunno” Duck, chicharonnes, Barbera cherry gastrique with savory pumpkin and sage bread pudding
paired with 2011 Barbera Monte Bruna
Plum crisp with Local plums, brown sugar farro crumble and local goat cheese gelato
paired with 2012 Brachetto d’Acqui
Little known fact: the grape varietal “Barbera” was once a throw-away jug wine kind of grape that was never taken very seriously in the Piedmont Region of Italy where Barolo and Barbaresco are the King and Queen of wines respectively. Guiseppe Bologna, the founder of Braida winery, was the first back in the 1980’s to produce prodigious wines by planting Barbera vines on his family’s land and using new French oak as his aging barriques.
June 14th, 2013 • No Comments
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 I attended a fun wine tasting for the Trade put on by Vibrant Rioja who were showcasing the wine region at a tasting put on at Ripple Restaurant in Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C. Aaron Gordon was representing Vibrant Rioja and let’s just say – he’s a character! The wine trade always has attracted the artsy and the intellectual, and maybe the slightly off-center – I would say this guy fits the bill! The other speaker was a more traditional sommelier.. well almost David Denton who was also at one time a punk rock guitar player – but now he works as the sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak on Capital Hill. But the presentation was very good – well, actually I couldn’t see the tv screen presentation (was it a slideshow?), but the layout of the wine tasting was really excellent and easy to follow – numbered glasses, white in front of red.
So what did I gain from this Rioja tasting?
-Tempranillo can be white – yes, I had probably my first white Tempranillo – and it was very good! I would say it was a medium-bodied white and I think it had some oak, but it was also unusual in that it was slightly oxidized even though it was a young wine – so it had those sherry-like features/burnt almond that made it seem much older.
-there are many indigenous varietals I had never heard of and I tried one that made me pretty excited – Maturana Tinta – a gamey/blackberry fruit red grape that had quite a bit of life and a touch of gaminess! After tasting so many steady Cabernets and even Tempranillo’s in my wine tasting career, it’s always nice to find a red varietal that has life and potential – this wine (albeit this was a better-made more expensive version by Dinastia Vivanco (2009) shows how there is more great wine to explore even from well-known regions like Rioja.
-a red wine over 10 years old isn’t necessarily brickish in color or aged in taste – I’m still amazed at the vibrancy and purple color of the Bodegas Ontanon Reserva 1995 (Tempranillo and Garnacha) – my understanding is that this wine had been kept in the winemaker’s cellar until recently which may explain alot – the color suggested a relatively young wine and the fruit was still noticeable on the palate, although there was quite a bit of that aged cedar box you get from slightly older wines. I think more than anything, Tempranillo can age amazingly well, but proper treatment and storage of your wines can make a HUGE difference when you go to open something over a decade old – consider improving or maintaining quality wine storage!
Overall, the event was very nicely laid out and had a festive feel. I also like the fact that they chose a wine bar – Ripple – vs. a traditional fancy schmancy fine dining restaurant – it gave this a more festive air. Rioja is almost an exclamation point for Spanish wine – you can simply walk in to pretty much and decent restaurant and ask for a “Rioja” and the server will know that you mean a Tempranillo from the region. Tasting Graziano, Garnacha, Maturana and many other varietals opens up this traditional wine region to new experiences. Also, the traditional blending of Cabernet and Merlot with everything is a choice here – some traditionalists in Spain are trying to bring more local character to their wines by avoiding the overly oak, rich, modern style. One last point – traditionally, Rioja uses American oak barrels vs French for aging of wines – this also gives them a slight “coconut” aromatic that sets them apart from other European wines. Cheers to Rioja!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
December 26th, 2012 • No Comments
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!
Wine Tastings Can Be Daunting!
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
December 9th, 2012 • No Comments
This dinner showcased how sparkling wines make flavors shine..
Top Chef Emily Sprissler
I love wine dinners – ESPECIALLY
Champagne Dinners! On Friday, Dec. 8th, 2012 I attended a 6-Course celebration of Champagne’s and Sparkling wines by producer Thibaut-Janisson Winery
paired with Top Chef Emily Sprissler’s Gastropublicious cuisine at her restaurant Mayfair & Pine
in Glover Park, D.C. I took pictures of each course and some of the wines as well, so you can skip to the bottom of this post to see how we dined – Very Well! A quick FYI – I actually had organized in the past many wine dinners and cooking classes in the same location when it was a French Bistro called Saveur. Glover Park is an area about 1 mile north of Georgetown on Wisconsin Ave., NW which is still trying to define itself. It has Whole Foods Market as an anchor, but it never had the right mix of restaurants – that is changing rapidly with some re-development and and also a Sweetgreen
which brings a quality demographic to the area.
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.
My favorite dish had to be the Lobster Béarnaise – it was exquisite luxury with that buttery sauce and the rich lobster combined! The richness of this dish was perfectly offset by the acidity/minerality of the Champagne which made each bite go from creamy to refreshing and again – something you have to try! We had the richest of the Champagnes with the richest of dishes which are always served last – the fall-apart succulent Braised Short Ribs and the decadent Chocolate Pear Tart (with a scoop of ice cream). The idea of pairing a Champagne with red meat vs. the traditional rich red wine worked for an interesting reason: the grapes used for Rosé wines are Pinot Noir and sometimes Pinot Meunieure (but not in this case) making for a richer wine. Of course after 5 or 6 flutes of sparkling wine, I think my taste buds weren’t very active, and the banter and chatter of an enjoyable evening took over the event – as should be – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
6-Course Champagne Dinner Menu
Thibaut-Janisson Virginia Fizz Blanc de Blancs NV, Virginia
Tomato Goat Cheese Napoleon
Thibaut-Janisson Cuvee d’etat 2008, Virginia
Samosa Pie with Date Sauce
Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay NV, Virginia
Janisson et Fils Tradition Brut NV, Champagne
Braised Short Ribs
Francois de Rozay Brut NV, Champagne
Chocolate Pear Tart
Janisson et Fils Brut Rose NV, Champagne
November 24th, 2012 • No Comments
A Lazy Fall Saturday Afternoon..
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)
So these 2 young ladies taught me a new term “Drink Until Your Sober” – I sort of understood what they meant, but they elaborated that this is when you keep drinking, especially wine, and you no longer feel drunk/act drunk..not sure if this is true, but it’s an interesting perspective none the less – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
October 15th, 2012 • No Comments
Emily Sprissler, Top Chef, now the Owner/Chef at Mayfair and Pine in DC!
The fall brings the best bounty — and the most amazing flavors — of the year, and Mayfair & Pine is giving you good reason to make the most of the season. Chef/Owner and Top Chef Season 2 cheftestant Emily Sprissler and sommelier Andrew Stover of Vino50 Selections are hosting their “America is Our Local” event on Tuesday, October 16th, and will offer a four-course dinner paired with complimentary American wines – Purchase Tickets Here
. As the name suggests, Sprissler will showcase her talent for seasonal cooking and will deliver a menu of autumn-inspired dishes.
Want in on this unforgettable, seasonal experience? Book it today; tickets are $68 per person and include tax and gratuity.
*** MENU W/ WINE PAIRINGS ***
WELCOME BITE & BUBBLES
McPherson Sparkling Chenin Blanc/Muscat NV, High Plains, Texas
Oyster on the Half Shell with Sabayon
WINE: Shindig Vidal Blanc, Finger Lakes, New York
Roasted Squash, Cranberries, Greens, and Spiced Pecans with a Tarragon Vinaigrette
WINE: Sawtooth Riesling, Snake River Valley, Idaho
Roasted Pork with Plums and Apple Gastrique
WINE: Okanogan Estate Pinot Noir, Okanogan Valley, Washington
Apple Trio Dessert
Apple Beggar’s Purse with Caramel Sauce & Whipped Cream, Caramel-dipped Lady Apple, and Apple Cider Sorbet
Coffee & Tea Service
* Dessert prepared by guest Pastry Chef Lindsay Miniaci *