Bon Vivant: (n) a person having cultivated, refined, and sociable tastes especially with respect to food and drink.

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Write Drunk, Edit Sober

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Events, Wineries and Vineyards

I believe it was Hemingway who uttered these infamous words (although there is certainly some debate!).  In any regard, sometimes it’s easier said than done!

I’ve just come back from the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Santa Ynez Valley, California, and so it is somewhat ironic that I’ve been in something of a writing drought.

wine sculpture

I met hundreds of passionate people committed to putting words on a screen to inspire, to document, to promote; countless wine makers and vineyard owners.  I saw the grapes turning from green to purple, embarked on solo winery visits and road trips with friends, tasted wines and saw places and met people that have me inspired and excited.

And yet, here I sit.  Hands hovering over my keyboard for the last several weeks.  Countless posts saved to “drafts”.

I think it’s hard sometimes to communicate what is inherently, for me, an intensely social experience.  There is a sense of communion when sharing a glass of wine or food with someone.  However, writing is an intensely solitary experience- most often done late at night when the house is still and quiet.

This conference was anything but- it was engaging in the most frenetic of ways.  It was simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating.

1 of the hundreds of tweets I sent.  What we were doing when we weren't tasting.

Caught sending one of the hundreds of tweets I sent- what we were doing when we weren’t tasting. Follow along @districtwino!

And so here I am.  Filled up past the brim with experiences and tasting notes, unable to quite distill everything down into a 300 word post.  It’s still fermenting.  So for now I’ll leave you with a few photos.

Grape Clusters at Malibu Family Winery

Grape Clusters at Malibu Family Winery

 

Yes, the one from "Sideways".  It was divine.

Yes, the one from “Sideways”. It was divine.

Tasting Amarone from Banfi Vintners

Tasting Amarone from Banfi Vintners

Enjoying a moment in the afternoon sun

Enjoying a moment in the afternoon sun

 

Post conference excursion to Santa Barbara

Post conference excursion to Santa Barbara

What’s inspiring you lately? Any other wine writers out there suffering from over-stimulation?

cheers

 

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Tried & True: Summer Edition

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Holidays, Porch wine, Tried and Trues, Wine Recommendations, Wineries and Vineyards

Gone Camping…

I’m headed to the mountains of North Carolina today for a camping trip and one of the wines I’ll be bringing with me is a tried and true we order by the case chez Marriott. (Yes, I take wine camping.)

pewsey vale dry riesling

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Dry Riesling

It’s a wine I’ve poured at a number of tastings and brought to countless dinner parties.  It was even on our Thanksgiving table this year!

Invariably, when I say I’m pouring an Australian riesling an eyebrow or two is lifted, but there’s always a fight over the last splash.

It’s wonderfully bright and acidic with crisp citrus notes, light minerality, and a bone dry finish.  The high acidity makes it extremely food friendly, and it makes an excellent porch wine all on its own! It retails for around $15-$16.

So branch out this summer and give this tried and true a try- you won’t regret it.

What are your tried and trues? Have you ever packed wine on a camping trip?

cheers

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Then and Now: Greek Wine

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Wine Recommendations, Wine Reviews, Wineries and Vineyards

Politics and Wine: Greece’s legacy to the world and me

It was 10 years ago this summer that I first visited Crete. It’s a place with incredible history, culture and soul- a place that imprints a part of itself onto you.

I was there for an intensive study on political philosophy and conflict resolution, but it was a summer I’ll never forget for other reasons. Crete was the place I first learned that a drink in a beautiful location can bring the most divergent people together with a sense of camaraderie that simply can’t be forged around conference tables in air conditioned rooms.

greek wine leaves

It was late night conversations under trellised grape vines on cobblestone streets, at beach bars, and on breakfast terraces that I learned the most that summer. When these political friends ask about my career transition to wine I explain that I now practice diplomacy through wine; they all nod knowingly.

Vessels used to hold wine at the Minoan Ruin, Knossos

Vessels used to hold wine at the Minoan Ruin, Knossos.

The wines of Crete are in some ways products of political conflict and resolution themselves.  As an island along key trading routes, it has been under Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian and Greek rule. Home to the earliest recorded civilization in Europe, it is no surprise that the Minoan diet on Crete included wine.

Throughout its long and storied history, Crete has maintained its own distinct identity- absorbing bits from each conquerer affecting the island’s culture, religion, politics, and even wine making.

Today, as they have for centuries, Crete produces outstanding wines that reflect the island’s diverse topography and terroir. Wines of Crete guest speaker, Joe Roberts, of www.1WineDude.com, reintroduced us to the oft-overlooked wines from this storied island and its unique native varietals.

I enjoyed two stand out wines during the guided tasting, and was pleased to learn they were made from 2 of Crete’s 11 indigenous varietals.

The iron gate

Alexakis Vidiano was outstanding. It boasted a beautiful bouquet of white peach, stone fruit and jasmine, but I was pleasantly surprised by a creamy mouth feel balanced by refreshing acidity on the palette. This wine would be outstanding with a meaty white fish like Swordfish (I’ll take mine with tzatziki, if you please!) or Grouper.

Boutari Skalani was a full bodied blend of Syrah and the indigenous Kostifali grape- described as the workhorse of red Cretan wine varieties.  Incredibly well balanced the red cherry fruit was tempered by just the right amount of earth and a kick of spice from the Syrah.  I could imagine it pairing beautifully with roasted lamb or Barbeque.

Enjoying the Boutari Skalini

Enjoying the Boutari Skalini

After the formal tasting released, we retreated outside to enjoy lunch, more tasting, and conversation under trellised grapevines at The Iron Gate- just like I did a decade ago in Chania, Crete.

Tasting wine with Joe after the seminar

Tasting wine with Joe after the seminar

I enjoyed an easy drinking rosé from Ano- aromatic with strawberry on the nose and a bone dry finish with my plate of Greek tapa during the expanded tasting. It was perfect for the warm summer afternoon and alfresco dining.

grape vine canopy

As wine seminars goes, this one got one thing right that others often miss- that wine is at least as much about culture and camaraderie as what’s in your glass.

Yamas! (Greek for Cheers!)

Have you tried Greek wine?

 

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Wedding Season Sips

Posted in: Bang for Your Buck, Bon Vivant, Events, Guest Posts, Wine Recommendations

Head on over to The DC Ladies wedding week to check out my picks for bubbly and champagne as we head into the thick of wedding season!

champagne

I offer my top ten picks for every budget- to satisfy mimosa makings, hostess gifts at bridal showers, or even a special bottle of Champagne for a unique (and delicious!) wedding gift that no one will be exchanging!

What’s your favorite sparkling wine or champagne?

cheers

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It’s Chic to Drink Pink!

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Events, Porch wine, Seasonal Sips, Upcoming Events

Sip and Shop Pink{tini}!

When warm weather hits, there are few thing I like better than a refreshing glass of dry rosé!  And if you’re anything like me, adding in a dose of fashion never hurts!

Rosé wine at Linden Vineyards, VA

Rosé wine at Linden Vineyards, VA

So if you care to combine both fashion and wine vices, join me this Saturday, June 7th from 5:00 PM- 8:00 PM at Pinktini Fashion Boutique on Capitol Hill!  I’ll be pouring a custom flight of rosé for people to enjoy as they celebrate the boutique’s six month anniversary sale and celebration.

After all, it’s chic to sip and shop pink!

The event is free, but registration encouraged at sipandshoppinktini.eventbrite.com.

I hope to see you there!

cheers

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