Several new oenophilic options awaits the D.C. wine lover.
By Kelly A. Magyarics
After Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, we still have a ways to go before spring arrives. Fill your ho-hum evenings, and your glasses, at any (or all) of these wine dinners and classes.
Capital Wine Festival
The Capital Wine Festival returns to 2100 Prime at The Fairfax at Embassy Row, as every Tuesday evening until March 26 a winery hosts a dinner paired with dishes from Chef Chris Ferrier. Upcoming dinners feature Bordeaux-style wines from Heitz Cellar on February 12, the small family-owned Burgess Cellars on February 19, Miner Family Winery on February 26, Patz & Hall on March 5 (featuring Pisoni Vineyards‘ Pinot Noir), Pio Cesare on March 12, Portuguese winemaker Sandra Tavares de Silva of Wine & Soul on March 19, and Napa winery Tres Sabores and Calder Wine Co. on March 26, run by mother and son duo Julie Johnson and Rory Williams.
I recently attended the Pine Ridge Vineyards dinner, at which winemaker Michael Beaulac was on hand to discuss his Napa and Carneros bottles. His lovely, aromatic 2011 Chenin Blanc/Viognier was served during the reception; this wine is the only one in their portfolio that doesn’t use estate-grown grapes. It was followed by the balanced and restrained 2010 Carneros Chardonnay, served alongside braised calamari with cannellini beans and tomatoes. My favorite dish of the evening was a tender, flavorful roast pork tenderloin, with black olive ratatouille and crispy prosciutto. I could have eaten a bowlful of the latter, and said it would be a perfect accompaniment—or garnish, for that matter—to a Martini. With it we sipped Pine Ridge’s 2010 Napa Cabernet—my favorite red of the evening. Grilled hangar steak with crispy potatoes, wilted arugula and a Cabernet reduction was paired with a duo of Stag’s Leap District Cabs from 2008 and 2000, and we finished the evening with a Port-style wine served with honey roasted fig, Point Reyes blue cheese and savory nut bread—a well-received melding of a cheese course and dessert. The dinners feel small and intimate, and those intimidated by other wine dinners where everyone sits at one large table in a private dining room, waiting for those inevitable awkward pauses, will be happy to know that whether you arrive with just a date or a larger group of wine-loving friends, the restaurant can accommodate groups at their own tables. The pre-dinner reception provides a great opportunity to chat up the winemaker on hand, who also makes his or her rounds during dinner to answer questions, and gives a little primer before or after each course so you know the background of what’s behind your glass. The weekly dinners range in price from $125 to $135, and begin each Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM. You can purchase tickets here.
Winter Wine Classes at Vinoteca
Also on Tuesday evenings is Vinoteca’s just-launched series of “Winter Wine Classes”, held from 7 PM to 9 PM. Each one is designed to be fun, approachable and affordable, and gives guests the chance to taste five or six wines paired with tastings from Chef Lonnie Zoeller. Attendees
also receive a $5 gift card to come back and sip more wine at Vinoteca. The February 12 class is called “Sweet for Your Sweets,” and will feature bubbles and dessert wines. February 19 is all about “The Grape Everyone Loves to Hate,” as Vinoteca will attempt to convert Chardonnay haters by demonstrating that better options exist than buttery, suck-on-an-oak-chip bottles. All wine classes are $40 per person plus tax. And, on February 26, Vinoteca is partnering with Vino del Sol imports for a four-course Argentinean and Chilean wine dinner, priced at $80. Space is limited for the classes and dinner, and reservations are encouraged. Anyone who registers for all three classes and the wine dinner will receive a $5 discount on each event. You can register by contacting Vinoteca at 202.332.9463, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fiola’s Monthly Wine Classes
Winter warmers, bubbles and vintage wines- oh my! One Thursday a month rare wine lovers can stop by Fiola for a 90-minute sampling of unique wines, paired with complementary bites from Chef Fabio Trabocchi. The themed classes will be led by led by Wine Director John Toigo and held in the private Toto room from 5:30 to 7 PM. The series will kickoff on March 14 with a class on big velvety wines called “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” followed by an April course on vintage wines such as the 1995 Ferriere 3rd Growth, Margaux from Bordeaux and the 1999 Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany; guests will compare the vintage wines to younger versions of the same bottles to better understand the aging process. May will be all about bubbles, as sparkling wines, including Champagnes, Metodo Classicos and Proseccos, are explored. June brings the “The World Cup of Pinot Noir” while July transports you to sunny Spain with sips of Red and White Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priora. All classes, with the exception of April’s vintage class, are priced at $85 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and you can purchase a series of classes priced at three for $225 or four for $315. April’s class is priced at $170 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and is not included in the series pricing. Email Jessica@fioladc.com or call 202-628-2888 for reservations.
Women’s Wine Club at Trummer’s on Main
Finally, just for ladies who love to sniff, swirl and sip, Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, VA has started a new monthly Women’s Wine Club, hosted in the restaurant’s Winter Garden. The first meeting takes place on February 21, from 6 PM to 7 PM. Sommelier Diana Roderique will lead a tasting of three wines, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres. During the meeting, ladies will play Wine ID, a blind tasting game in which they attempt to guess the region and varietal of the wines samples, and the winner will receive a bottle of wine from Trummer’s 8,000-bottle cellar. Each Women’s Wine Club will also feature a charitable shopping opportunity, as a local women-owned business will set up shop during the event. Proceeds from all shopping events will benefit Women Giving Back, a volunteer-run charity that provides clothing and accessories to women and children in homeless shelter in Northern Virginia. Other upcoming dates for the classes are March 21, April 18 and May 16. The cost for each class is $30, inclusive of tax and gratuity, and you can make a reservation by emailing email@example.com.