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


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Holidays

Wishing all of you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

The pineapple is a sign of Southern hospitality- perfect for Thanksgiving!

The pineapple is a sign of Southern hospitality- perfect for Thanksgiving!


I’m thankful for all of people who have supported me in this new business venture and blog over the last 6 months.

And wine, of course;)

A small sampling of the vino at our Thanksgiving table!

A small sampling of the vino at our Thanksgiving table!


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Does this Wine go with these Shoes?

Posted in: Guest Posts, guilty pleasures, Wine Pairing

MjAxMy0zNWQ3YmZmZGE0NzcxYjJkIf you’re anything like me, your shoe collection overfloweth. I’ve teamed up with the fashionistas at What do I Wear to provide wine pairings for some of their favorite shoe picks so your style will be in sync from your wine glass to your toes!

Head on over to check out my two favorite guilty pleasures: wine + shoes!

Just as wine can be paired with emotions,  the right shoes can also dictate what sort of evening you’ll have and what wine pairs best!

Whether it’s a night on the town, or staying in by the fire at a log cabin getaway, we’ve got you covered on what to wear and what to drink!




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3 Guidelines to Picking Thanksgiving Wine

Posted in: Event Planning, Helpful Hints, Wine Pairing, Wine vocabulary

‘Tis the Season

Me with my "cooking" wine last year.  This wine was both delicious to sip, and also thinned the gravy quite nicely!

Me with my “cooking” wine last year. This wine was both delicious to sip, and also thinned the gravy quite nicely!

Although Thanksgiving is 2 weeks off, I thought I’d throw in my two cents on what to drink for the occasion.

Thanksgiving food is abundant, rich, and has an array of flavor profiles.  Throw in the inevitable array of personalities around most Thanksgiving dinner tables and you definitely don’t want to forget the vino- for therapeutic purposes, naturally!

No one wine is going to pair perfectly with everything on your plate with such a variety of flavors, but there are a few simple guidelines to making your selections complement your meal!

1.  Drink what you like.  If you prefer red, drink red.  White drinkers, drink white! Pick a medium to full bodied white, or a light to medium bodied red and your wine will go just fine with the meal.

2. Pick a wine that is relatively high in acidity.  They can be dry, off dry, sweet, or even sparkling. An acidic wine is one that makes your mouth water (as opposed to dry out) when you drink it! This is key to cutting through the richness of the meal.

3. Pick wines that “play well with others”.  With so many competing flavors on your plate, you don’t need wine fighting the turkey & gravy (or your crazy Aunt/sister/in-law) fighting for center stage! Save the bold Bordeaux for another occasion.

With these guidelines in mind, here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving wine pairings, all for under $25 and available in the DC area!

White Wines:

  • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc
  • Breaux Vineyards Viogner
  • Clean Slate Riesling
  • Domaine de Varoux White Burgandy
  • Ducasse White Bordeaux

Red Wines:

  • Meiomi Pinot Noir
  • Tres Picos Garnacha
  • Pratesi Locorosso Sangiovese
  • Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhones
  • Cerro Anon Reserva Tempranillo

When in doubt, pair with Champagne or another sparkling wine.  It’s easily one of the most food friendly wines out there! I particularly love Champalou, a sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc!

What are some of your favorite holiday wines?  Anyone have any “weird” Thanksgiving dishes or traditions they can’t live without?


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Wine Pet Peeves

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Wine vocabulary

We all have them.  Here are my top 5!


1. Wine Snobs

I love learning about (and especially drinking!) good wine.  But nothing is more annoying than people who turn their nose up at a bottle, or- worse- a beverage director treating a patron disparagingly.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed, and in my experience if someone is being a snob about it, they’re either a jerk, or they’re over-compensating (often, both!).

2.  Calling all sparkling wine “Champagne”

Unless it’s from the Champagne region of France, please, call it something else.  Bubbly.  Sparkling wine. If it’s from Spain, call it cava.  Italy, Prosecco.  I love bubbly (and Champagne!) as much as the next wino, but it’s really and truly not all the same!

3. Close minded wine drinkers

When I was in sales and distribution, I would pour samples of wine at free tastings at retail stores around town.  It always completely shocked me when people would decline. It’s free wine!  If you hate it, spit it out!  When people make blanket statements like, “I don’t drink rosé“, or “I hate [insert varietal] or wine from [insert wherever]”, it drives me insane!  The look on someone’s face when they realize they’ve been missing out on something they actually do enjoy is priceless.

4. Wine served at the improper temperature

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a nice restaurant, ordered a bottle of wine, only to have it served too warm. This may sound (gasp!) snobby, but it really does make a difference when you’re shelling out big bucks on a nice night out.  Attention to proper storage and service can really make or break the wine experience for me. I like most of my reds slightly chilled- 55-60°F is generally about right for me.

5. Winemakers in the Advertising Business

If you’ve been to one of my classes, you’ve probably heard my adage, “you want a winemaker who puts their money where YOUR mouth is!” Nothing drives me crazier than seeing people purchase wine whose proceeds go to funding commercials, umbrellas or red carpet events.  They’re not necessarily all bad wines, but if you’ve seen an ad for the wine just remember, it’s your hard earned bucks that are paying for it!

What are your wine pet peeves? Sound off in the comments section!

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Rose’s Luxury

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Restaurant Reviews, Wine Pairing

What a Welcome Newcomer!


I was delighted to try Aaron Silverman’s new restaurant Rose’s Luxury last week. This is one new restaurant that’s worth the hype!


Diners enjoying a front row view of the open kitchen action!

Everything from the design, to service, and especially the food, are all top notch- without an ounce of pretension.  Diners can get a front row view of the action in the kitchen at one of the bar seats, although I loved our cozy table under the lights.  The staff is friendly and informed; a welcome departure from surly greeters and uninformed servers.

As a party of four, we were delighted by each new course as it arrived, and got a chance to sample a good portion of the menu.  Not one plate left the table with anything remaining, and both pescatarians and meat-lovers alike left satiated.

Even the controversial popcorn soup had its champions; although I enjoyed the novelty and craftsmanship, it was a touch too rich for more than a spoonful or two for me.  Some of my dining companions heartily disagreed!

Stand out dishes were the pork sausage, habanero and lychee salad (trust me, just get it!), the crispy octopus, fried eggplant, and vietnamese pâté.  And the bread.  It’s worth suspending any low carb diet for an entire loaf of the house made complimentary potato bread and whipped butter.

One thing that can be complicated about ordering wine at a small plates restaurant is the sheer volume of flavors you’re pairing with.  I like to pick a wine that “plays well with others”, and one that is generally fairly high in acidity. I start light and increase the body to match the progression of small plates.

We started with individual cocktails; I ordered the sparkling chenin blanc, which was delightful, aromatic and crisp.

Our table then moved on to the Höpler Grüner Veltliner for the salad and seafood small plates.  Hard for a table of Grüner lovers to turn down, the Höpler was perfect on the palette- restrained and acidic, with a good dose of minerality and pear fruit.

For the heartier courses I selected a medium bodied Spanish blend of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Tempranillo called Remelluri 2008. The Garnacha and Mazuelo kept things smooth, while the Tempranillo spiced things up with lively red fruit, peppery notes, and a hint of smokiness.  It was served at the proper temperature, slightly below room temperature, which I always appreciate.  We all liked this wine so much we ordered a second bottle!

For dessert, we enjoyed the Eden Ice Cider served in elegant dessert glasses- a sweet cider made from apples picked after the first frost, much like Ice Wine. I would love to see an expansion of the dessert drinks. A tawny port or sherry selection would round out the beverage menu nicely.


I can’t wait to go back and am so glad to experience a small plates restaurant that really works!

Have you been to Rose’s Luxury yet?  What are some of your favorite new restaurants around town?


I went back to Rose’s Luxury this week and was pleased to see an expanded beverage program, especially on the dessert list.  I was particularly impressed by the Ben Rye- not a Rye whiskey at all, but a sweet, viscous wine from Sicily made from indigenous grapes. I’ll be ordering this one again!

Chef Silverman’s White Truffle Pasta- a seasonal special- was aromatic and delicious. A generous portion of the aromatic delicacy was shaved over simply prepared pasta letting the truffles take center stage.  Bravo!

We can’t wait to snag a seat at the bar facing the kitchen next time to see the kitchen staff in their element!




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