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

All posts in Holidays

Bastille Day Celebrations in DC

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Bubbly, Champagne, DC events, Drink Well, Events, Holidays

Looking to celebrate Bastille Day in style?  It’s one of my favorite excuses (like I need one!) to indulge in some of my favorite French delicacies. Tomorrow is the 227th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, so don your best red, white & bleu and raise a glass of champagne!

I’ll be celebrating at Michel Richard’s Central, which is featuring a special 3 course menu of french bistro faves for just $55. They will also be featuring specialty cocktail, wine and beer as well as live entertainment from the Blue Room Jazz Band!



If you prefer to celebrate with a special glass of vin Eno Wine Bar is offering a Bastille Day flight and 30% off all bottles of French wines.

For live French music, check out Café du Parc or Sofitel (register here!)

And for an all day celebration, complete with mimes, check out Le Diplomat, which will also be offering specialty cocktails and pastries throughout the day.

To celebrate at home, check out Weygandt Wines‘, superb collection of French wines.  They’re offering 20% off French bottles!

How will you be celebrating Bastille Day? 





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Posted in: Bang for Your Buck, Bon Vivant, Bubbly, Entertaining, Event Planning, Holidays, Porch wine, Rosé, Seasonal Sips, Wine Recommendations, Wine Reviews, Wine Shops, Wine Tasting

The storm clouds in DC have finally given us a break and many people are planning outdoor entertaining for Memorial Day Weekend. What you may not know is that today is also #LanguedocDay.

Picpoult Edit

Wine “days” seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but what I love about this particular one is that it breaks people out of wine ruts and raises awareness about an unsung region in the Southwest of France that offers incredible quality at affordable prices.


When Wines of Languedoc approached me about reviewing some of their wines, I was excited- mainly because I happen to love them, but also because they were focused on quality, with only AOP (Appelation d’origine contrôlée) designated wines. Though the region is often known for its bulk wine production, only 10% of wine from the region receives AOP designation, meaning stricter sourcing and production guidelines, but also higher quality wines.

It also gave me an opportunity to invite some friends over to chime in with their own opinions! We took advantage of a gorgeous DC day and threw a garden party.

Ladies with Rose Edit
Wines from the Languedoc lend themselves exceptionally well to entertaining. They’re accessible wines in both flavor profile and price- 2 things that make them prime candidates for any party wine!
The bar set up for easy access for guests to serve themselves. Sparkling water and a carafe of cucumber lemon water keep guests hydrated!

The bar was set up for guests to easily serve themselves and sample all of the wines. Sparkling water and a carafe of cucumber lemon water kept guests hydrated!

On the menu:

Table Spread Edit copy

  • Homemade pimento cheese with ritz crackers- a must for any southern garden party!
  • Crudité platter with hummus
  • Orzo pasta salad
  • Fruit platter
  • Assorted olives, nuts, charcuterie and artisanal cheeses

Don’t forget:

  • To hydrate: I like to serve cucumber lemon water and sparkling water.
  • The bugs:  These pretty citronella candles give off a gorgeous glow while keeping the bugs at bay.
These citronella candles not only give off a gorgeous glow, they keep pesky bugs at bay!

These citronella candles not only give off a gorgeous glow, they keep pesky bugs at bay!

The wines:

All of these, with the exception of the Crémant, are available at Weygandt Wines.  They’ve been kind enough to offer readers 15% off if you mention this post! Stop by to stock up for any weekend entertaining you might be planning.


Montfin Corbieres $13.99

This wine offers lovely red fruit with some earthy undertones. I noticed plum, red pepper and leather notes with medium tannin and acidity.


Montfin Rosé $13.99

This easy going rosé was a crowd favorite on such a gorgeous day!  Dry, with notes of white peach and raspberrry.

Arbalète Coquelicots $17.99

This wine showed best after it cooled off a bit. Red fruit, a hint of baking spice and lovely earthy qualities.

Picpoul de Pinet $11.99

Crisp and light with notes of apple, pear and citrus.  This is a warm weather no brainer!

Saint-Hilaire Crémant de Limoux $15

This crémant was both festive and accessible at a fraction of the cost of champagne!  Crisp with notes of pear and soft floral notes.

Have you tried Languedoc wines?  If not, this weekend is a great opportunity to do so.  To learn even more check out L’Aventure Languedoc, a celebration of Languedoc AOP wines throughout June, coming to Seattle and Washington DC. Click here for more information!


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5 tips to cure a New Years Hangover

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Helpful Hints, Holidays, Tried and Trues

An ounce of prevention goes a long way to alleviating hangovers.  Remember to stay hydrated with water and never drink on an empty stomach!

But, if you happen to be in a bad way, here are 5 tips that can help get you back on your feet:


My favorites are Blue Gatorade (yes, it has to be blue for me) and Vitamin Water- the kind with Vitamin B. Both are great options for getting fluid and electrolytes back into your system.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B affect how your liver metabolizes toxins and also has a major impact on your energy levels. Check out why Vitamin B can help here!

Advil or Aspirin

Never take Tylenol with alcohol! It is horrible for your liver and can do long term damage.  Stick to Advil, Ibuprofin or Aspirin to relieve that headache.


Certain studies have shown that the protein and other compounds in eggs can help alleviate a hangover.  I like to pair mine with an everything bagel.  Not scientific, just a preference;) Check out these other food “remedies” from around the globe! Pickle juice, anyone?

Blowfish for Hangovers*

This little gem can be purchased CVS, Amazon, or your local pharmacy.  It’s an Alka-Seltzer like fizzy tablet that dissolves in water containing aspirin and caffeine.  Advil can be rough on your stomach, but the bubbles help settle your stomach, while the aspirin takes care of your headache and the caffeine attacks the general malaise.  It’s the only “hangover cure” I’ve ever tried that even remotely works. I can also see it being a good solution when you wake up not so feeling great in general. Check them out here.

*Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this product, but the views expressed are entirely my own.

Do you have any preferred hangover “cures”?


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Drink this, not that: New Years Edition

Posted in: Bang for Your Buck, Bon Vivant, Bubbly, Drink Well, Helpful Hints, Holidays, Rosé, Seasonal Sips, Tried and Trues

I think we can all agree most bubbly is essentially just “varying levels of delicious,” as my wino friend, Trevor, put it.

Tis the season...for drinking Champagne in front of the fire!

Tis the season…for drinking Champagne in front of the fire!

However, there are always choices when it comes to spending your hard earned cash.  All too often I see people drinking big, corporate mass-produced wines that are the same price as better, lesser known bottles.

Check out my suggestions below if you want to branch out of your bubbly rut!

If you want to spend…


Steer clear of your grocery store’s Korbel display.  It’s tired and mass produced.  I saw three TV ads for the brand last night alone! (That’s what you’re paying for, by the way!) Check out a local wine shop for a small production cava or prosecco.  I like Dibon Cava for a nice change of pace in the budget bubbly range.


Jansz is an Australian sparkling wine from Tasmania-it’s an outstanding value from a tiny but mighty sparkling wine region!

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs is another favorite from California.  Although this is a large producer and widely available they don’t skimp on quality!

Bohigas Semi-Sec Cava is a great bet for those who like their bubbly with just a touch of sweetness.

I’d be remiss not to include a Virginia option, and Thibaut-Janisson is it!  Try their FIZZ for $20 or the Blanc de Blanc for $30.  The latter was served at a White House State Dinner!


This is the sweet spot for most entry level Champagnes, and while the ubiquitous orange label of Veuve Cliquot seems to be EVERYWHERE, that doesn’t mean it’s the best for the money.

I adore André Clouet Brut Rosé, Pol Roger, Laurent Perrier, and a recent favorite, Aubry.  See past the orange label and advertising! Remember, you want a winemaker who puts their money where YOUR mouth is, not into pricey advertising campaigns.


Dom Perignon has the big name, but ask any wino their preference and you’ll get a resounding preference for Krug. If you’re spending big, it’s the only way to go!

Finally, remember to check your local wine store.  They are sure to have great options from smaller Champagne houses that offer outstanding value (that’s how I found my latest love, Aubry!).

What’s your favorite Champagne or Sparkling Wine?



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Thanksgiving Virginia Wine Pairing Guide

Posted in: Bon Vivant, Guest Posts, Helpful Hints, Holidays, Seasonal Sips, Virginia Wine, Wine Concierge, Wine Pairing, Wine Recommendations, Winemakers, Wineries and Vineyards

Virginia wine is making its mark. And if you’re not on board yet, here are 6 outstanding Virginia wines that will change your mind, perfectly suited to complement your Thanksgiving Feast. Get all the details and tasting notes in my guest post on The Hill is Home!

Breaux Vineyards. Fall, 2013

Breaux Vineyards. Fall, 2013

There’s something for everyone- from the bubbly lover to dessert wines- from just a few of Virginia’s esteemed wineries, including Thibaut-Jannison, Breaux Vineyards, RdV, Stone Tower Winery, Tarara Winery and Linden Vineyards.

Taste makers around the country are singing the Commonwealth’s praises, most recently at the Virginia Wine Summit.  Food And Wine Magazine Editor, Ray Isle, was recently the keynote speaker, where he praised both the gorgeous scenery and outstanding wines right in DC’s backyard.

Have you tried Virginia wine yet?  If not, consider one of my Thanksgiving pairing recommendations or contact me for a custom excursion into DC’s wine country.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

For more wine pairing guidance this Thanksgiving check out my recommendations here!


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