Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The New District Liquors

I stopped by District Liquors last night to see my friend Jeff Harrison and several of his colleagues as they celebrated the completion of District's renovations with a wine tasting for the public. As the consultant on the renovations and inventory improvements, Jeff has been busy working the same magic that he applied when he converted Modern Liquors from a rundown liquor store into an upscale, reputable neighborhood establishment. While there are still a couple of odd improvements pending at District, the transformation has been remarkable and I congratulate Jeff on another successful endeavor.

There were 12 wines offered at the tasting - three whites, three reds, three ports and three dessert wines. All high quality, all well-priced.

I took home three from this group and three miscellaneous bottles that I found on the store's shelves:

From the Tasting

Domaine Gerard Neumeyer 2008 Vin d'Alsace Gewurztraminer
- This will accompany Thanksgiving dinner.

Daniel Gehrs 2007 Central Coast Syrah - I don't typically turn to Cali for my wines, but this was definitely Rhone-esque and immensely enjoyable, so it came home with me.

Bouchaine 2009 Napa/Carneros Bouche d'Or Chardonnay (late harvest) - Well, look at this - another one from California, and a dessert wine at that! The nose on this is amazing, with lots of bright fruit followed by a very nice, non-cloying palette. Not sure exactly when I'll have a good opportunity to open this, but I hope it comes sooner rather than later.

The three miscellaneous selections were a 2009 Skouras Moscofilero, a 2007 Skouras St. George Nemea Aghiorgitiko, and a 2010 Oracle Pinotage. These were all priced at under $12, and I'm looking forward to trying each of them for the first time. Jeff swears by Oracle, and the two Skouras selections are the best priced Greek wines I've yet seen in the US.

District is located at 11th & M Streets northwest in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

$10 and Under

Our gathering last Sunday was a lot of fun, but I unfortunately fell down on the job and didn't take notes on ANY of the wines, nor did I take very good photos.

I'll just recap what I recall from the event, and promise to be more diligent next time!

It was nice to have some new faces in the group, and we hope that Michelle, Renee and Betsy will become regulars going forward.

Lisa did a bang up job in the kitchen, cooking up not only our three varieties of sliders on her Foreman Grill (lamb, grass-fed beef, and buffalo) but a number of very nice side dishes to include sweet potato fries, spinach dip, and apple crisp. Thanks to everyone who helped with the prep work, there was quite a bit involved and I think we did a spectacular job in getting it all out there. I was happy when Lisa was finally able to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and some food.

I think that the wines were probably along the lines of what we would expect for a $10 and under tasting. I don't know that any of us were blown away by any of what we tasted, although I do recall that Ted and Aimee's contribution seemed to garner the most appreciation. It was an '07 Tempranillo, and the age seemed to lend it some complexity and nice tertiary aromas and flavors. I was also pleased to be able to try my first rose from Portugal, courtesy of Katie and Chul, who also brought a Malbec that paired surprisingly well with the apple crisp! Who'da thunk it?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yellowtail Reserve, A Blind Tasting

Last Friday evening, I and six fellow wine bloggers joined Laurent Guinand of Giramondo Wine in his offices in Wheaton to participate in a blind tasting of four reserve wines.

The event was hosted by John Casella of Yellowtail, and Doug Frost, a wine writer/consultant who is one of only three individuals in the world to hold both a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier designation.

Our DC group was one of 20 from around the country, and while we gathered around the TV in Giramondo's conference room, we sampled two white Yellowtail reserve varietals (Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay) and hors d'oeuvres while we waited for the event to begin.

The purpose behind the event was to see how we would evaluate these wines without the bias of knowing what brand we were drinking (this is, of course, the purpose behind any blind tasting). Participants were asked to "tweet" their thoughts as they tasted, and it was interesting to read the various comments popping up on the television screen while we watched and listened to Doug Frost guide his group, along with the rest of us, through the tasting.

I am happy to say that I accurately guessed which wine was the Yellowtail Reserve. I am a little less happy to report that my opinion on Australian Shiraz has not changed any. I've never been a fan of Aussie wines overall, and this event reinforced my bias. There was one exception - the 2006 Dead Arm from McLaren Vale - which I actually enjoyed. But with a retail sticker of approximately $65, I think I'll stick to something from Northern Rhone.

Despite being less than enthusiastic about the actual wines tasted, this was a really fun, informative event and I thank Laurent for including me in it!