Drink Your Way Through Election Season at Bastille & ENO Wine Bar

It’s a time honoured tradition in Washington, DC. We like to drink. We like politics… so every election cycle, whether it’s the primaries or the general, local bars come up with politically-themed cocktails. If you’re like me and less than thrilled with your options this year (not that I can vote anyway), I’m sure you can use a stiff drink, or five, with a cheesy name poking fun at the candidates. I love it, especially when an awesome French restaurant gets involved. 

Bastille is one of my favourite French restaurant in the city… well, technically it’s not in the city but right outside in Alexandria, VA. It’s definitely worth a metro ride to Braddock Road though, and that’s saying a lot given how bad WMATA is these days!! There’s 47 days until Americans head to the polls (and 59 until I do! That’s right, I get to vote in November too, but in the French Republican presidential primary). With election season in full swing, Bastille has designed a cocktail for each candidate, even the long shot ones like the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson

Deluded little Manhattan cocktail at Bastille Restaurant

“Deluded Little Manhattan” with Korbel Brandy, Dolin Rouge, Dolin Dry + Belle Orange Absinthe Rinse

The Crooked Cocktail features Dewar's White Label, lemon cordial, Allspice Dram garnished with lemon peel and a cherry

The Crooked Cocktail features Dewar’s White Label, lemon cordial, Allspice Dram garnished with lemon peel and a cherry

My favourite of the five different cocktails offered is the “I Vote Canada.” Leave it to a French restaurant to come up with none-of-the-above option, bien sur 😉

I vote Canada! (flee the country vote) cocktail at Bastille Restaurant wth Crown Royal, lime juice, a dash of Allspice Dram and Angostura bitters.

I vote Canada! (flee the country vote) cocktail at Bastille Restaurant with Crown Royal, lime juice, a dash of Allspice Dram and Angostura bitters.

Regardless of who wins the election, Canada always seems like a good idea to me!! Each cocktail is priced at $10 and from October 4th through November 8th, the restaurant will keep a tally, or “straw poll” if you will, based on popular demand. Will the results match those at the ballot box? I guess only time will tell!! 

Of course, Bastille is hardly the only bar offering its boozy take on the presidential race. Like I said, this is a time honoured tradition in the city, and pretty much every bar is getting in on the pun-tastic action. 701 Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue got inspired by the candidates’ slogans to create “Make America Grape Again” and the “I’m With Her” (both $12). Shaw’s Mexican eatery Espita Mezcaleria and the Oval Room are all about that wall, with “The Wall” (mezcal, Campari, orange juice and soda – $11) and the “Build That Wall” (Muscat Grape purée, spiced honey syrup, Champagne vinegar – $12) respectively. So far, I don’t think the newly open Trump International Hotel bar at BLT Prime by David Burke is doing anything, but Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel is. And for election 2016, the Georgetown establishment is not picking sides and throwing it back to past Commanders-in Chief instead. Head bartender Torrence Swain crafted four specialty presidential cocktails inspired by the drinking preferences of James Buchanan, Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower. At $20, those are pricier, but $5 from the sale of each former president-inspired cocktail will go to the nonpartisan organization Nonprofit Vote, which aims to assist other organizations integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services. If you’re more of a wine person like I am, the hotel’s wine bar, ENO, has something for you too! From now until election day, you can select one of two presidential candidate inspired flights, each priced at $20 and featuring wines from locations significant to each party’s nominee. 

Presidential Candidate Wine Flight at ENO Wine Bar - Picture Courtesy of ENO Wine Bar

Presidential Candidate Wine Flight at ENO Wine Bar – Picture Courtesy of ENO Wine Bar

The Clinton “I’m With Her” flight features white wines from New York state, where Clinton served as senator for eight years and include:

No Arkansas wine? Shocking lol. Meanwhile, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” flight features red wines from New York and Pennsylvania, where Trump attended University:

I must say I’m a little surprise that flight doesn’t include any wine from the real estate mogul’s own winery in Virginia… Putting two Pennsylvania wines on there seems to guarantee no one is going to order it… which might be the point I guess? Both flights will be available from October 1–November 8, and the winner’s flight will be served through Inauguration Day.

Have you spotted any other fun election-themed gimmicks at bars and restaurants around the city? Or wherever you live… I know it’s corny, but I kinda love it, especially since picking a drink or wine flight is the closest I’ll get to voting in the US elections 😉 

 

Yes way {Languedoc} Rosé

It’s *finally* rosé weather in Washington, DC this week and I’m excited to start digging into the stack of pink bottles I’ve accumulated while we experienced a record number of rainy days. I’m extremely biased towards French wines in general, but especially when it comes to rosés, and I always gravitate towards Provençal rosés. Occasionally, I’ll venture outside of Provence and pick up a bottle of new world rosé (I’m a big fan of Early Mountain’s rosé right now.) But most of the time, venturing out means looking a little South West along the Mediterranée to the Languedoc-Roussillon. Sandwiched between Provence and Spain, the Languedoc is actually France’s biggest wine region, with a bit over 200,000 hectares of vines, but it’s not as prestigious as some of the other regions so you can find some great value bottles. 

One of my favourite AOP is the region is Corbières, located between the cities of Carcassonne, Perpignan and Béziers where I happen to have family members. It’s the most reputable AOP in the Languedoc and produces spicy full body red wine, and delicate rosés. This past week, I’ve enjoyed a delightful  bottle from the Domaine Montfin, which you can pick up from Weygandt Wines here in Washington, D.C.  

Domaine Montfin Corbieres Rosé

I also enjoyed a bottle of Domaine Sainte-Eugenie, purchased at my local wine store, Eye Street Cellar. Both wines were definitely brighter in hues than a typical pale provençal rosé but offer the right acidity and floral overtones to prevent them from being too fruity. In anticipation of Languedoc Day on May 27, I was sent two additional bottles of Languedoc AOP rosés, a 2015 Domaine Tour Boisée Minervois and a 2015 Chateaux de Lascaux Garrigue rosé which made for a pretty fun line-up of wines to try with my girlfriends on a rare warm evening last week. 

Rosés from the L:anguedoc

Let’s start with the Tour Boisée, from the Minervois region, just north of Corbières. Wines there are similar, meaning you’ll find full bodied reds, slightly fruity rosés but also some dry whites. The pale rosé is 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah and a perfect complement to a warm summer evening and barbecue! Finally, the Garrigue rosé, which is the pricier of all the wines mentioned in this post (don’t worry, you should still be able to find it for under $15!). It’s from the Côteaux du Languedoc region, a much smaller AOP than Corbières (now known simply as Languedoc AOP) but where the wines are rather varied ranging from dry whites like the super affordable Picpoul de Pinet to more robust reds. The vineyards of Château de Lascaux have been in the family for 13 generations, are farmed organically and are some of the most well known from the region. The rosé is another delightful, light sipper very much in line with what you would expect from a southern French rosé.

As I mentioned, Friday May 27th is Languedoc Day. Last year I picked up bottles in each “colour,” red, white and something in between. The region also produces some simple bubblies like Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux. This year, because I’m craving all the rosé (and the weather that goes with it!), I went all pink for this post! Whether you want to branch out from Provençal rosés for a bit and/or are looking for similar light and dry wine, look a little bit south to the Languedoc AOP. I think you’ll be happy you did!

Happy National Wine Day by the way!! 

*Benson Marketing Group sent me a bottle of 2015 Domaine Tour Boisée Minervois and the 2015 Chateaux de Lascaux Garrigue rosé. All opinions expressed are my own nonetheless.*

 

Beaujolais Nouveau Cranberry Sauce

There are two celebrations I particularly look forward to at the end of November. Both owe their dates, on the third Thursday and last Thursday of November, to laws in their respective countries. I’m of course referring to France’s Beaujolais Nouveau celebration and the United States’ Thanksgiving. Thanks to some rather brilliant promotion from Beaujolais’ PR people, the purple-pink Gamay wine is now often paired with turkey, stuffing etc. at tables across the country. This year, I decided to combine the two holidays in one festive dish: a Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce. Since the recipe only requires about a cup of wine, it’s a perfect way to finish off a bottle!

Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce

 For one 12oz pack of cranberries you’ll want to use:
  • 3/4 cup of Beaujolais Nouveau (of course, another fruity red wine works too…)
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Start by combining the sugar, red wine, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Once the mixture is boiling, add the cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to pop, which should take about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch and the orange juice or zest and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and the sauce has thickened to an almost jam-like consistency.

Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce can be served chilled or at room temperature, but you’ll still want to let it rest for a bit before serving.  Cranberry sauce can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, which works perfectly with the timing of both celebrations! No wonder Beaujolais Nouveau and Thanksgiving are such a perfect pairing! 

 

 

Life Goes On~Celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau in Washington, DC

I’m not exactly in a celebratory mood these days, but life goes on. Paris is about life, about being at a terrasse right now etc. Life has to go on and this week life includes the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau, which always takes place on the third Thursday of November (or midnight that Wednesday!) Here are a few, selected spots where you can partake in some Gamay-drinking in Washington, D.C.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2015

BITRO DU COIN    Still THE place to be at midnight when Beaujolais Nouveau is released. It’s probably too late to get reservations for dinner, but show up around 10PM when they start  clearing out the tables. The Beaujolais typically starts pouring 11PM, which technically is well past midnight in France anyways 😉 More details here.

CAFE DU PARC Get a complimentary glass of George Duboeuf Beaujolais at the bar between 6-9PM, with additional ones and small bites available for purchase too. If you like it, stay for the prix-fixe Beaujolais dinner ($55 diner only, $80 with George Duboeuf wine pairing).

CENTRAL   Michel Richard’s Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant will keep the party going from Thursday November 19 through Saturday, November 23. Rather than serve the Duboeuf Beaujolais you’ll find pretty much everywhere else, they’ll be pouring a Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 for $11 a glass, or $42 bottle. Executive Chef David Deshaies has also created a classically French 3-course prix fixe menu ($55) to pair with the grapes, featuring gougeres, escargot Fricasse, Filet mignon with syrah-shallot sauce, and winter vegetables; and a seasonal Apple-cranberry cobbler for dessert.  

SLATE   For those who want to try some of the finer vintages of Beaujolais, Slate’s owner/Sommelier Danny Lledo will be leading private at-the-table tastings of the 2014 Nouveau and three choice Beaujolais for guests on Thursday, November 19th from 5-8 pm.  The cost of the tasting is $15 and choices include: George Duboeuf Beaujolais “Nouveau” 2015, George Duboeuf Flower Label Beaujolais 2014, Jean Paul Champagnon Fleurie, Beaujolais 2013 andDomaine Laurent Martray Brouilly, Beaujolais 2013.

TABLE Who wants to cook the day before Thanksgiving? Nobody, that’s who. For $150, Table invites you to give thanks for Gamay wine with  masterfully prepared local cuisine paired beautifully with Cru Beaujolais on Wednesday November 25. Check out the full menu and book your spot here

 

Beaujolais Nouveau

 

BEAUJOLAIS FOR A CAUSE    The DC Center is hosting a Beaujolais-themed fundraiser at the Human Rights Campaign on November 19th to benefit its Women Center. Tickets are $20. L’Alliance Française and the French-American Chamber of Commerce are also hosting a “Beaujolais and Beyond” “fun”raiser celebration at La Maison Française. Beaujolais Nouveau and other red wines will be free-flowing and proceeds benefit causes dear to both francophone organizations. 

ENO Wine Bar in Georgetown is dedicating its Beaujolais celebrations to the 129 victims who lost their lives during the Paris attacks on November 13. On Thursday, November 19, the bar will be illuminated with France’s national colours blue, white and red. ENO will be pouring a Dupeuble 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau (same wine as Le Diplomate though it’ll be $9/a glass and $35/bottle at the 14th street bistro) for $10 a glass and $40 a bottle. Guests are encouraged to share prayers and messages over social media using hash tag #ENOPrayersforParis. These messages will be displayed on a loop on Thursday evening at the wine bar. I’m not a huge fan of the #prayforParis hashtag, though I really appreciate the sentiment. Consider adding a #Parisisaboutlife or . Paris may get tossed by the waves but she will not sink, even in a pool of Beaujolais.

Beaujolais Nouveau

 

Finally if you’re like me and your favourite way of “enjoying” a glass (or five) of Beaujolais Nouveau is at home with some friends, here are a couple of wine shop I recommend:

WEYGANDT WINES is carrying 3 unique cuvées of Pierre-Marie Chermette’s Beaujolais Primeur 2015: Cuvée Pierre Chermette ($12/bottle), Beaujolais Primeur Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2015 and Chermette’s Beaujolais Primeur Rosé 2015 (OMD Beaujolais Rosé!! Game changer!! That one is exteremely limited so go snag a bottle right now!!) ($12/bottle).

DCANTER carries a Domaine Descroix Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 priced at $13. This is a pretty decent Beaujolais option that would pair really well with your Thanksgiving meal, so you might want to reserve a few bottle since the Capitol Hill shop will most likely sell out pretty quickly. 

CORK & FORK is where I usually pick up my Beaujolais Nouveau every year. Dominque Landragin typically selects a couple of interesting bottles that you won’t find in most stores. Like DCanter, he’s offering the Domaine Descroix Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 as well as a Domaine Anoir du Carra Beaujolais Village Nouveau. My recommendation when it comes to Beaujolais is always go for the village if you can… 

Last Friday, terrorists sought to attack France’s way of life… what better way to show them that our spirit will never be defeated than with some headache inducing Beaujolais Nouveau. Or something like that 😉 Cheers!

 

 

 

Wine Wednesday – Washington Nationals Cabernet

Even though you can buy little individual bottles of wine at Nationals Park, I really can’t say that I would ever associate baseball with wine. And yet, Major League Baseball just got into the wine business with the launch of its own line-up of baseball teams branded wine. According to Fast Company, MLB couldn’t get into the beer business because of its exclusivity deal with Budweiser. But wine was fair game and so in 2014, the Giants, Yankees, Mariners, Red Sox, Rangers, Phillies, and Cubs got their own custom blends and branded bottles.

Obviously, there are baseball fans who are also wine fans because the program was successful enough to be extended to 13 additional teams this year, including the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington NationalsAll of the bottles are available for purchase on MLB’s website though I also spotted a few bottles of the Washington Nationals™  Club Series 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon at one of my fave wine store, Fork & Cork, over the weekend ($25.99 each.)

Nationals Wine

MLB partnered with Wine By Design, a lifestyle marketing agency.The wines are supposed to be “tailored to each individual team for fans to enjoy all season long” which for DC (and Baltimore actually… the teams’ vinos are actually the same) means Central Coast cabernet grapes. The New York Yankees, which sold 6,000 bottles out of the 11,000 produced the first year of the partnership, actually have a wine with more local ties: a Finger Lakes Riesling from Anthony Road Winery. The Phillies and the Mariners also get wines made with some local grapes, from Pennsylvania’s Chaddsford winery and Washington state’s Columbia Valley respectively. The Nationals just get California grapes and a pretty lame blurb with overused puns about gridlock. Womp womp. Looks like this wine isn’t about to turn me into a Nats fan anytime soon 😉 

 

 

 

Six Budget-Friendly French Wines for Bastille Day

From a baguette relay race at Paul to diner at Bistrot du Coin or a fancy patio fête at the Sofitel Hotel, there are plenty of options to celebrate France’s national holiday, le Quatorze Juillet, in Washington, DC. If you’re more of a homebody, why not stay at home and watch a great French film while sipping a good bottle of French wine!

For the films, I’ve narrowed down 20 of the best French films available on Netflix right here. And to help you find the perfect bottle of wine to go along whichever flick you pick, I turned to Michelle Lim Warner and Michael Warner, co-owners of DCanter, for some suggestions.  One of the things I love about the Capitol Hill wine boutique (other than the amazing chandelier in the tasting room!) is their “good juice wall” featuring affordable bottles in the $15 and under price range. In the spirit of that wall, Michelle and Michael recommended these six affordable French sippers:

Six Affordable French Wines for Bastille Day

 

PIERRE OLIVIER BRUT VIN MOUSSEUX NV

Champagne is the ultimate celebratory drink, but the price of a bottle can put a damper on your French party. Luckily, there are plenty of sparkly alternatives that won’t, like this $16 bottle of brut. This “vin de France” isn’t made in Champagne – it’s actually made in Burgundy using grapes from around the French/Spanish border – so it’s labelled as a vin mousseux which literally means foamy or bubbly wine (a bubble bath for example is called a bain moussant in French). Light and fresh, this “mousseux” will be a great aperitif to kick off your evening! It would also be great as a kir royal, with a few drops of cassis added to it!! 

CLOTILDE DAVENNE SAUVIGNON 2013

When you think Burgundy, you probably picture full-bodied reds, but the region also makes some great white wines like this Sauvignon Blanc. Most notable white burgundies like Chablis tend to be made from Chardonnay grapes so this wine is a bit of an oddity for the region. Another fact that makes this wine a bit of an oddity: it’s made by a woman winemaker, which sadly is still not that common in the male dominated wine industry. Like other white Burgundy, this sauvignon blanc pairs well with seafood (oysters and mignonette anyone?). 

Le Petit Gueissard RoseGUEISSARD LE PETIT GUEISSARD ROSE 2014

Since my grandparents lived in Bandol, I’ll always be partial to rosés from that part of Provence. Doesn’t hurt that they’re some of the best in the world either! Unfortunately, it’s hard to find an affordable bottle of Bandol, especially in the US. Just a few kilometers away from Bandol, however, is Sanary-Sur-Mer which also produces fine rosés like this $15 bottle. Pair it with Ma Vie en Rose or La Vie en Rose, bien sur 😉

ALAIN JAUME & FILS “HAUT DE BRUN” 2012

Alain Jaume and his three children make a great Côtes du Rhône that’s complex, yet perfect for every day drinking.

CHATEAU FESTIANO CUVEE DES FOUDRES 2013

Ever since I started planning my trip to the Languedoc-Roussillon I’ve been obsessed with trying as many different wines from that region as I can get my hands on! For research purposed of course. This juicy bargain, which retails at $15, is from the Minervois, one of the AOC in the Languedoc, and it’s definitely getting me excited for my trip!! Try it with some herbed cheese like Boursin, or blue cheese like Roquefort, whose caves I will also be visiting during my trip in a few weeks! 

CHATEAU BLOUIN BORDEAUX RED 2012

Bordeaux is probably the most well-know wine region in France, and this small right bank chateau makes a great red (80% merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc) with silky tannins and a well balanced finish. At $14, it’s a nice bargain that’s light enough to drink throughout the summer. 

What will you be drinking for La Fête Nationale on July 14th?

DCanter is located at 545 8th St SE near the Eastern Market metro. You can follow the wine boutique on Twitter, Facebook and Instragram for some cool wine tips! 

A Taste of Burgundy: Jambon à la Chablisienne

Making Jambon à la Chablisienne is very simple and allows you to bring together two ingredients that are abundant in Burgundy: wine and ham. In this case, the wine in question is Chablis, one of the better chardonnays produced in the region. The original dish as it was created in the first half of the 20th century called for a whole ham cooked on the boned in Chablis with added flavouring and served over spinach or fresh noodles . Today, the recipe has been simplified: thick slices of ham are baked with a sauce made of tomatoes, wine and shallots and served over rice. Here’s how to make it at home…

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. cooked ham, sliced 1⁄4" thick; 1 3/4 cups chicken stock; 1 cup chablis; 2 tbsp red wine vinegar;  4 sprigs tarragon, plus 1 tbsp chopped for garnish; 2 large shallots, minced; ! small can of tomato paste; 1 1/2 sour cream; salt and pepper

1 pound cooked ham, cut into 6-8 1⁄4″ thick sliced ; 1 3/4 cups chicken stock; 1 cup chablis; 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar; 4 sprigs tarragon + 1 tablespoon chopped for garnish; 3 shallots, minced; 1 small can of tomato paste; 1 1/2 cups sour cream; salt and pepper

 

PREPARATION

Start by heating up the oven to 400° and preparing your ingredients. You’ll want to slice the ham (rolling it is optional, I didn’t, but most people do) and chopping the shallots into small dices. Measure all your other ingredients. The 1 cup of chablis is basically one hefty glass. Pour yourself a smaller one to enjoy as you cook!  

Before the oven is fully heated, you can start cooking the shallots and tarragon sprigs in the chablis in a dutch oven or ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once it has started to reduce, you’ll want to add the 2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and the chicken stock and reduce it all further until there’s only about half a cup left. At that point, you’ll want to blend the sauce in a mixer before returning to the pot and add the tomato paste. Once that has cooked a little (let’s say 3-5 minutes) add the sour cream, salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens.

unnamed-2

Arrange the ham slices in an oven-proof dish (it’s ok if they overlap!) and strain the sauce over them through a fine-mesh sleeve. Shake the dish to make sure all of the ham slices gets coated with the sauce and bake for 30 minutes. Towards the end, you can add gruyere on top of the ham and sauce to make the dish into more of a gratin, but you don’t have to.

Once you remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle with one tablespoon of chopped tarragon and/or parsley and serve over 1 cup of white rice to absorb the sauce, as well as the rest of the chablis bottle you used for cooking! In the case of the recipe, a chablis (not petit, not 1er or grand cru) is best, as long is it about 3 years old. I chose a 2012 Chablis from Domaine Long-Depaquit that had been sent to me by Pure Chablis and it worked beautifully! 

 

 

VinoFest DC: Music, Wine, Food, Charity

My! How Vinolovers has grown? It feels like not too long ago, I was attending the D.C. startup’s launch party at 1776 (see pictures below) and now they’re throwing VinoFest DC, a huge wine and music festival at a venue so cool I haven’t even heard of it yet.

IMG_3788 IMG_3770

Let me backtrack… Vinolovers is a DC-based personalized wine subscription and delivery service and this is their second year hosting VinoFest DC actually. Last year’s event was held at Union Market, and on Saturday, May 9, wine producers, musicians, DJs and of course, vinolovers, will take over Storey Park in NoMa. If you’ve been in the city for a while like I have you may remember that place as the former Greyhound bus station. Right now it’s an empty lot and until it transforms into a mixed use commercial office building it’s set to host NoMa’s Summer Screen Series, more awesome festival-type events like VinoFest DC and possibly a temporary dog park.

vinofest dc

This year’s VinoFest DC will bring to the empty lot a full day of live music, headlined by QuestLove, of Roots and Jimmy Fallon fame, and featuring awesome local acts like 90s band White Ford Bronco and one of my faves: DJ Neekola. On the wine side, the $59.99 GA ticket (buy them here) grants you the chance to taste a variety of wines, including local vintages made in neighboring Virginia, classic wines from regions like France and California, and few lesser known places, like Romania. There’ll be some food trucks present as well, of course, like Puddin’, Timber Pizza, MilkCult, and the amazing Chaia Farm to Taco. Best of all, you can toast to doing a good deed by attending: proceeds from VinoFest DC benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation Mid-Atlantic, DC Central Kitchen, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Well done Vinolovers!

Get your tickets now–general admission, VIP tickets (think two more hours to party, more wine, more food), and specially-priced options for designated drivers are still available.

Sip Into Spring with RAMW’s Spring Wine Fling

DC Spring Wine Fling 2015I don’t really need a reason to drink wine on a regular weeknight, but if you do, here’s one for you: it’s Spring Wine Fling!!! During this week-long (March 23-29, 2015) celebration of wine programs across the Washington, D.C. region, participating bars and restaurants are offering special flights, tastings and/or parings of seasonal wines. Last night, I sat down at Boss Sheperd’s, in part because I had never been and I figured it was a good excuse, to check out their spring wine fling offering. For $15, you can order a flight of three wines, sparkling, white, red or a mix from either category. I opted for the mix, though if you go, I recommend the sparkling wine flight that includes my favourite American bubbly, Gruet, Prosecco and Veuve Clicquot.

 

Spring wine fling flight at Boss Sheperd's

 

Outside of Boss Sheperd’s here is a list of notable bars and restaurants participating in Spring Wine Fling:

  • Occidental Grill & Seafood ~ It’s all about the most spring-friendly wine at the historical Pennsylvania avenue restaurant with $18 flights of specially selected rosé from different wine regions around the globe.
  • Ici Urban Bistro ~ Le Bar at the Sofitel Hotel and its restaurant ici gives you three flight options: a $31 Sparkling celebration that’s a Laurent Perrier champagne flight, a $31 American whites flight and a $28 Red Bodies flights.
  • Pizza Vinoteca ~ My new favourite Ballston spot rocks 36 wine by the glass daily, all for under $10, so it’s not surprising that it’s offering a great Spring Wine Fling deal! Through March 29, guests can chose 4-pour flights from any of the restaurant’s wine categories (sparkling, gold, amber etc.) for $14. Not to sound like a broken record, but i’m going to recommend the sparkling flight on this one: prosecco, nebbiolo brut rose, sparkling pinot noir and lambrusco. YES PLEASE! Bonus, for $15 you can get a brussels sprout pizza + a glass of gruner Veltliner or merlot-tannat. YES PLEASE times two!
  • Pinea ~ The new-ish restaurant at the W Hotel boasts a brand new mural by Gaia and here’s an excuse if you need one to go check it out: two 4-pour flights, one red and one white showcasing uncommon Southern European varietals.
  • Smith & Wollensky and i Ricchi ~ both restaurants are showcasing wines made by women. At Smith & Wollensky, the $20 flight feature wines by notable women winemakers, including a 2012 Bordeaux Lafite Reserve. At i Ricchi, it’s a $12 flight featuring 3 wines, from 3 regions and 3 (Italian) women.

You can find a complete list of participating bars and restaurants on RAMW’s website.

Cheers to Spring!

A Year In Champagne at the Angelika Film Center

Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market With its reserved seating, gourmet concessions and interesting mix of blockbuster and special interest films, the Angelika Film Center & Cafe at the Mosaic District is one of my absolute favourite movie theater in the Washington area. Keyword: Washington area. It’s nowhere near the city and pretty inconvenient to get to if you don’t have a car. So I was thrilled when a smaller, albeit temporary version, of the art-house movie theater popped up behind Union Market. It became pretty handy when I was trying to catch up on my Oscar nominated films, showing Whiplash, Still Alice and a couple of other nominated flicks. Eventually, the pop-up Angelika Film theater at Union Market will transform into a full scale permanent location but until then, its three screens currently offers around 4-6 different indie and art-house films at various times throughout the day. You can reserve your seat in advance, meaning you can hang out in the lounge area or at Union Market until right about the time your film starts. The only downside is that the theater has NO incline, meaning you’re kinda screwed if someone tall sits in front of you…But on the plus side, there’s free drip coffee during matinee shows and you can purchase wine and beer to bring inside the movie.

Speaking of wine and beer… both Angelika theaters in the D.C. area are showing a great documentary on champagne on Wednesday March 4 2015. The film, A Year in Champagne, is part of a wine trilogy led by renowned wine importer Martine Saunier. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can catch the first chapter, A Year in Burgundy,  on Netflix where it’s streaming. The third chapter, a Year in Porto, will be released later. About the film: A Year in Champagne gives viewers a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the real Champagne by spending time with six houses, from a small independent maker like Champagne Saint-Chamant, where each and every bottle is still turned by hand in the cellars to the illustrious houses of Gosset and Bollinger, which have been instrumental in shaping the image of Champagne around the world.

Both Angelika theaters are throwing a champagne tasting party to go along the film screening on March 4, 2015!
At the Angelika Film Center & Cafe in Fairfax, happy hour will start at 6PM in the lounge with wine, beer and snacks available for purchase. Experts from nearby wine shop Swirl & Sip will also be on hand to talk about Champagne before the movie screening at 7pm (movie tickets available here.) In Washington, the screening will also take place on the 4th and start with a tasting at Cordial Fine Wines & Spirits from 4:30-6:30PM (advance movie tickets available here.)

Cheers!