State of the Vine

State of the Vine

Oscar Night Wine!

What should you sip on while watching the 90th Academy Awards? Here is my pick. Cheers!

Valentine's Day Wine & Dessert Pairings

Happy Valentine's Day! What wines pair well with different desserts? Watch my short video to find out. Cheers!

Super Bowl Food and Wine Pairings

If you're wondering what wines to choose to go with all of your Super Bowl foods, or what wines pair well with bar food in general, I have the answers for you right here in my video. Cheers!

Picpoul: Budget friendly and unique!

Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul de Pinet 2016 is an excellent budget white wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Picpoul is actually the name of both the grape and the region, making it one of the only French wines grapes to bear the same name as the region. Most French wine labels don't name the grape, you're expected to know what grape it is based on the region it comes from. 
This wine is a dry white, easy to drink, medium bodied and juicy with notes of citrus and melon. It's excellent on its own or with shellfish because it neutralizes the salt and iodine in the shellfish!

Interesting fact: This wine comes from grapes sourced from a local co-operative!

Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. Available at Total Wine and World Market for about $8. Cheers!

Maxwell Park: My New Favorite DC Wine Bar!

Last night we finally made it out to Maxwell Park, a new wine bar in DC's Shaw neighborhood...and it is officially my new favorite DC wine bar!

At Maxwell Park, the theme changes every month and so does the wine list. When I first heard about it opening, and that the theme of their first month was "ABPG, Anything But Pinot Grigio," I knew it would become another home away from home. A little background: I've had a few decent Pinot Grigio's but I am staunchly against the idea that most restaurants and importers think that PG its the only white Italian varietal Americans want to drink. If we only had access to more varietals like Vermentino, Arneis, Grillo and Cortese (the grape in Gavi di Gavi), I think wine drinking Americans would become just as obsessed as I am!

The August theme at Maxwell Park, "How Big is My Bubble?" highlights bubbly, my favorite type of wine, and anything that isn't Champagne, Cava or Prosecco. It was phenomenal. In fact, it kind of blew my mind (or bubble)!

The Founder and sommelier Brent Kroll came to our table to take our order and patiently answered all of our (ok- mainly my) questions and provided excellent recommendations.

I think my absolute favorite was the first bottle we had, a Pet Nat wine*, the 2016 Channing Daughters, “sylvanus,” from Long Island.

This wine was unlike any I've ever had. It was cloudy and unfiltered and had notes of peach, tangerine and lemon zest, and a very juicy and mouthwatering finish. 

Pet Nat, which stands for Petillant Naturel, is a bubbly made with an ancient ancestral method, similar to Champagne, but a little different too. 

With this wine, the grapes are hand harvested and whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel tanks and then coarsely filtered and bottled, with no sulfur dioxide or stabilization in sparkling wine bottles and sealed with a crown cap, and fermentation is continued in the bottle. 

There is some sediment in the bottle from yeast lees because it isn't disgorged like the traditional Champagne method, which gives it its cloudiness!

I was also totally tickled to see a bubbly version of a fantastic Txakolina Rose I had in New Orleans on the list, which I ordered a 2.5 oz pour of- it was excellent. I love that they have this option in addition to the option of a bottle or glass. 

They also had excellent food to snack on. We tried the Burrata and the salmon crudo.

Some of the other wines we ordered, all his recommendations and all fantastic:

We were lucky enough to snag a big table inside because we had a larger party, and got there on the early side, but they have outdoor seating also. And for those who don't like bubbly, they have another by the glass list with interesting non-bubbly selections that changes every month as well. 

Bottom line, I would highly, highly recommend this place- its my new favorite DC wine bar, and I absolutely can't wait to go back! 

More on Pet Nat wines in a future post.


Skylark wines: Pinot Blanc and Grenache

Did you know Pinot Blanc, a white wine grape, is a genetic mutation of Pinot Gris, which comes from Pinot Noir? It originated in Burgundy, France and is widely grown in Alsace and Austria. 

The Skylark Orsi Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2016 is a dry white wine with notes of green apple, pear and lemon zest and refreshing minerality and acidity. It's medium bodied and unoaked with slightly tart but crisp, clean finish. 

The Grenache grape, also known as Garnacha in Spain, is one of the most widely planted red grapes, and is a key grape found in the French Cotes du Rhone wine, Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape. It does best in hot climates where it can be left on the vine for late ripening.

The Skylark 2012 Grenache is medium alcohol, low acidity, but medium to full bodied red, with notes of black cherry, strawberry, dark chocolate and mint, with a smooth grippy finish. It was aged in French oak and bottled without fining or filtration. 

Make sure to decant this wine for at least a half an hour before drinking, it really opens up the flavors! 

The wines come from the Mendocino AVA is part of the North Coast of Cali, which has a similar climate to the Mediterranean. 

They were part of this month's traditional and Club Red wine clubs at Screwtop Wine Bar in Arlington. Cheers!