Starting VA Wine Week Off Right

So VA Wine Week happens twice a year when everyone supports this great region right in our backyard. People visit the wineries, order VA wine at restaurants, buy a bottle to try, or host VA wine tastings like I am Thursday, March 24.  This past weekend was the first weekend of VA Wine Week and what better way to spend it than at the wineries themselves. Weather has finally broke and it was a sunny day.

Bryan and I went out to Fauquier County to visit Philip Carter Winery.  After reviewing all the wine events happening in the area on Virginia Wine Events, I knew they hosting a barrel tasting for $25/person. Intrigued I was as I haven't participated in a barrel tasting before. Saturday morning I packed a picnic lunch for us and we headed out that way. In just a little over an hour from Arlington, we were there! It's a little off the beaten path, down a windy road. All in all, it was easy to find. The driveway zig zagged through the vines which would be gorgeous once they bud.

We went through their complete selection consisting of  a 2009 Chardonnay, 2009 Governer Fauquier (100% Vidal Blanc), 2009 Cabernet Franc, 2009 Albemarle Red (from Kluge Estate which is a Bordeaux-style blend) and 2008 Late Harvest Vidal. I was very pleased with the Chardonnay as well as the Albemarle Red (I love the Old World style).  Th Chardonnay is only lightly oaked which is what I like in a Chardonnay. Once we tasted, we chose to get a bottle of the Albemarle Red, sat down and ate our lunch while we waited for the 3pm Barrel Tasting.

Some of my friends who live in the area came by to join us for the barrel tasting. The vineyard tour and barrel tasting was led by Philip Carter himself. It was great to actually talk to the owner. It made it very more personable. We tasted the same wines that we tasted upstairs only these were unfinished and unfiltered. It was amazing to sample them along the way. Some were still a little acidic which is to be expected. They still need some time in the bottle. One of the highlights during the barrel tasting were the elegant hors'devours that were served with each tasting. Ranging from quiche to salmon to salami, they all were very good and paired perfectly with what we were tasting.

Me posing with the 2010 Chardonnay

After our great experience at Philip Carter, we drove a few miles up the road to Chateau O'Brien. The view of O'Brien was spectacular of the rolling hills and the inside was very spacious with lots of tables to enjoy your wine. Since we got there with only 45 minutes to spare, we sped through the tasting, ordered a glass to enjoy on the patio and headed out. To be honest, not a lot stood on regarding the wine in particular. I was just very impressed by the tasting rooms and the set up of the winery. I'd definitely go back to fully enjoy it.

Us girls enjoying our glasses

Back to VA Wine Week..I am hosting a VA wine tasting at my home in Arlington where we will have a taste off between VA wine and the same varietals from other regions. If you are interested, leave a comment or RSVP here! Hope you can join us to celebrate VA wine!


Bourbon Steak Pulls Out All the Stops

I couldn't tell you how long I've been wanting to try Bourbon Steak in the Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel. Maybe it's because of the rave reviews or that they are very active on Twitter. I'm a big Tweeter and love to talk with celebrity chefs, restaurants and fellow bloggers so ones that respond to tweets and have a big presence...those are the places I tend to try before others. Oh and did I mention I know the Wine Director, Julian?! Regardless, this past weekend was my 2 year anniversary with Bryan and he knew how bad I've wanted to go. He made reservations and I was ecstatic all week.

The reservation wasn't until 7:15pm so we went a little early to enjoy a cocktail off their new cocktail list and also to devour the trio of duck fat fries. The new cocktail list is very admirable with uncommon concoctions galore.  The lounge itself was a nice place to enjoy a few in an intimate setting where we could actually hear each other talk unlike most happy hours we've been to.

Well now on to the good part: Dinner! We had a small table for two by the window with views of all the action in the kitchen. Kudos to them for realizing it was a special occasion. There was a card placed on the table, which read "Happy Birthday". Ahh it's ok, celebratory evening regardless :)

We were greeted with glasses of champagne to toast to our happy 2 years. Of course, my eyes went directly to the wine "book" before the food menu. Page after page, the wine selection was broad yet extensive. After perusing through the many choices, I decided on a bottle of Clos du Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape 2008. If you've ever read any of my previous posts, you know how much I enjoy CdP! This CdP was one of the best I've had to date. It had all the attributes that most CdP's have; smooth, earthy and soft tannins. It was easily drank on its own and there wasn't too much left at the end of our meal.

After I decided on a bottle, then it was time to look at the menu. Before we placed our order, we got more duck fat fries! We both decided on a steak...when in Rome, right?! It is called Bourbon Steak afterall.  I go the 8oz filet and he got the Wagyu beef. Also, we ordered black truffle mac n cheese, the decadent rolls, and split a wedge salad. Needless to say, our table was full of amazing food and plenty of wine.

Nothing could beat our steaks though. Definitely one of the best prepared steaks I've had and it looked so elegant and tender on the plate without even cutting it! Of course, we both cleaned our plates along with the sides!

Julian suggested we try a Super Tuscan red wine to go with our steaks and it paired perfectly! Guess that's why they pay him the big bucks :)

So if we weren't full enough, they surprised us again with complimentary dessert which was a yummy peanut butter cookie with a candle and scripted "Happy Birthday". Still, such a surprise and of course we shared. They also threw in their new dessert labeled 'french toast' which were bite size french toast bites with kiwi. It was actually very good! Compliments!

Needless to say, I'm dying to go back again. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have already talked about coming back to the lounge. The outside area with the fire pit is perfect for this time of year when it's still cool at night.

So, Bourbon Steak, we hope to see you again soon. Thanks for everything you did to make our night special.


Valentine's Dinner at Home

Valentine's Day is crazy around DC with all the amazing restaurants to choose from and the process of trying to get decent reservations that aren't at 10pm. This year, we stayed in and prepared a great meal and shared a bottle of wine.

My most recent favorite entree is lamb chops. Anytime I see it on the menu, I gravitate towards it. Up until now, I've only ordered it at restaurants, never attempted to prepare it myself. Well Valentine's was the night. I had a great Pinot Noir I had been saving for something special (since it is considered one of my 'special occassion' wines) so it just clicked in my head, why not Valentine's Day at home.

On the menu: Rack of lamb with sweet potato puree and brussel sprouts with bacon. MMM mmm. Oh and of course, a big glass of Ken Wright Pinot Noir from Oregon.

After perusing many recipes for rack of lamb, I realized it was neither labor intensive nor time consuming, perfect for a Monday evening supper. Overall the whole menu was simple and dinner was on the table within 45 minutes, minus the brussel sprouts. (They took longer so we saved them for the next night's dinner).

The Oregon Pinot that I had been saving paired perfectly with the tender rack of lamb. It's earthy tones with light floral and red fruit complemented the entire meal. The delicate lamb with soft sweet potatoes helped balance the fruitiness of the wine.

Ken Wright is by far one of my favorite Pinots and of course it has a hefty price tag, especially for a Pinot Noir. Averaging around $60/bottle, I consider it a special occassion wine. It also doesn't need food or a meal to compliment. It's soft, medium bodied palate can easily be drank on its own.

Pick up a bottle at Bell's Wine Shop in DC!

Cheers :)

In Recent News...

I have gained a little bit of exposure! I was contacted by CaterWire, a new coupon site specializing in private dinners, etc.  They want to partner with One Classic Wino!! Since both of our business plans are specific to private, in-home events it seems like a natural fit. It's organized like Groupon where you purchase the service at a discounted price. You'll have to sign up at CaterWire in order to see the awesome deals being released soon!

On another note, Fox Small Business is now running a promotion for small businesses around the U.S. on Twitter. If you tweet using the #mysbc, they will select a new small business everyday to feature. This is a new campaign and who woulda thought...they picked One Classic Wino to be their first!! I couldn't be more estatic. Not only is this local exposure but nationwide! This promotion is only being done on Twitter so the catch is, you have to be active on the social media site. Spread the word!

Hopefully this 'breaking' news will help me get off the ground and start doing what I love, tasting with other people and enjoying wines from all over the world. Check back for more details soon.

Cheers :)