What I do in my free time..

Bring fellow Winos together!!

I started a social group last August (a year ago) called Young Winos of DC which consists of young (20-30 somethings) that enjoy good wine, good conversation and social networking.

Last week, we celebrated our 1st year anniversary! I am amazed how well this took off. We are up to over 90 people in our email listserv as well as members in our FB group. We've done great events from local festivals, in-home tastings, food and wine pairings and wine tastings at local establishments.
Rose on the Roof 4/21/11

Anniversary Party at Urbana 8/25
In-home tasting 10/16/10

Feel free to join us at our upcoming events and please add yourself to the email list so you don't miss out! We are also on Facebook and Twitter!


A Sunday Afternoon in Purcellville, VA

For unknown reasons, I tend to visit Virginia wineries in the Fauquier, Charlottesville regions and have neglected some of the best VA wineries in the Purcellville, Loudoun County regions. This past Sunday I found myself in the gorgeous, picturesque Loudoun County.

I had a Groupon deal for Bogati Bodega for a wine and tapas tasting, which would be our first stop. An easy location right off of Harry Byrd Hwy (Rt 7), the tasting room is warm and inviting. Our appointment was at noon, as soon as it opened, so it was quiet and we had great conversation with Scott (our server). Even though we had the Groupon, we still chose to taste their full selection for a small $5 tasting fee.

They had a great selection of wines including a slightly oaky Seyval Blanc and a Viognier with a great finish. Some reds that stood out were the Syrah/Mourvedre blend as well as the Malbec. I prefer more Old World style wines and the Syrah/Mourvedre blend was just that! Not your typical Virginia wine, this was very earthy and an extensive depth of flavor. Another plus: Sangria! Their simple sangria recipe made with the Viognier was a perfect summertime sipper.

Once we tasted everything, we went on to the wine-and-tapas tasting. This pairs one white and one red with a cheese and charcuterie.  We took a seat in the beautiful dining area.

Scott brought us each a glass of the Seyval Blanc paired with a mild cheese and fig spread and the Malbec paired with spicy chorizo and sun dried tomatoes.

The fig jam was the show stopper for us. I'm always a sucker for good cheese and spreads! The spicy chorizo was perfect with the smooth, toasty Malbec as well.

Once we finished the glasses and tapas, we drove down the road to Hillsborough Vineyards. Atop a rolling hill, the vines cascaded down with a great tasting room and outdoor patio. It felt serene and peaceful, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine and taking in the lush scenery.

Inside, we were seated in the dining room and started with the tasting. They offer a wide range of award winning wines including a 100% Tannat, very uncommon in Virginia. Most, as did I, have a prenotion about Tannat, being very harsh and hard to drink on it's own. I was wrong! They use tannat in their Rose as well as blending it in their Bloodstone and Ruby. It is very smooth and not super tannic like other tannats you may have encountered. The Onyx (100% Tannat) is the one that stood out to me.

On the way out, we again took in the great views from the covered patio. It's an ideal setting for enjoying a bottle and cheese on a Sunday afternoon. Just take a look at this...

I'm sorry that I don't get out to Loudoun County enough! Great wines, people and views. I will definitely be back soon.


Charleston, SC: Such a Foodie Town!

I usually write about wine adventures but I digress this time. This past weekend in Charleston, SC I had some of the best food! I had no idea the small, historical town had such a great selection of restaurants and dishes. All the restaurants we visited featured southern, low-country style dishes with portions a plenty!

Sadly, very little wine was consumed on this trip. We drank mostly cocktails but I did happen to run into Market Street Winery which features SC wine! Never had it and can't say that I ever will have it again :( The whites were super ripe and the reds were pretty bitter.

Anyway, on to the amazing food. Our first stop was Cru Cafe which is a small, family owned cafe in an old home. Everyone's meals were great including my General Tso's Chicken wrap! I ordered a bottle of Oregon Pinot Gris which paired nicely with everyone's dishes.

Fried Green Tomatoes were on every menu
A must-go brunch is absolutely 82 Queen! Again, in an older home, this place has an antiquey wooden bar with a courtyard and scattered tables. Highlight: Buttermilk biscuits! The BEST I've ever had. They are melt in your mouth buttery and are served warm. Make sure to request the bacon syrup for dipping ;)

What's brunch without grits?! We ordered the BBQ shrimp and grits as an appetizer before our main entrees. Buttery, flavorful grits adourned with spicy BBQ shrimp and bacon.

For my entree, of course I ordered the benedict with crab cakes and a fried green tomato. I must say though, I've had better crab cakes but the dish as a whole...amazing!

Even after devouring a huge brunch, we still had room for a great dinner that evening at Magnolia's. This is more of a fine-dining establishment with elegant southern dishes. Most people seemed to be celebrating special occasions. The big plus about this place: the menu! The menu is extensive and has many items to choose from which only drags out my decision process.

For apps, we ordered the fried oysters and the fried chicken livers. Both of which were good and savory. I ordered the surf and turf with crab cake and filet. The beef was melt in your mouth good!

And Nancy got cake!
One last stop on our weekend adventure led us to Toast for bottomless mimosas! $10 all you can drink (while eating) is a great deal. Pair that with some great brunch items and we spent a good 2 hours there! We got more shrimp and grits and a fried green tomato BLT along with more great biscuits and gravy.

All in all, we went for the drinks and food and came home happy! If you enjoy southern charm, good food and down to earth people, this town is a must-see. (May I also recommend staying at Charleston Place? Great location and superb amenities.)


What to do with all those corks?!

Yes, I collect a lot of corks. But this is a simple and pretty idea!

All you need is:

  • Wreath from a craft store
  • Hot glue gun
  • Corks

I'm all about simple. Arrange the corks on the wreath and secure with hot glue. You can easily add ribbons or different decorations for the season.

I've seen so many ideas for crafts with old corks - bath mats, coasters, trivets - the list goes on. Be creative! Even the most non-creative person like me gets ideas after finishing all those bottles ;)


Dog Days of Summer

With record breaking temps the past few weeks, nothing hits the spot better than ice cold, fruity sangria. I've seen numerous recipes calling for multiple ingredients, hard liquor, etc. Oh, do I have the solution for you!

I came across this new, simple recipe for Sangria last week while perusing Pinterest (my new fav addiction). It's my new go-to sangria recipe. I took it to a pool party last weekend and it was a huge hit. You'll never believe how simple this is:

1 bottle of white wine
3 cans of Fresca
Sliced fruit of your choice

How could it be any simpler! Now that I have a case of Fresca in the fridge, I will always have instant sangria!

I enjoyed a new batch last night, just because it was oh...Tuesday!