Wine

Here Are The Five Wines To Bring To Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Holiday season is finally upon us and you know what that means? All of the eats and dranks your heart has been waiting for all year long.

Shonuff, Cory Baxter.

Shonuff, Cory Baxter.

Next to my birthday (which is less than two months away, might I add), I love celebrating Thanksgiving because it’s an opportunity to challenge my palate with pairing some of my favorite comfort foods with delectable wines. From my Aunt P’s yummy Macaroni & Cheese to my Cousin T’s deep fried turkey, to my Aunt J’s rich chocolate cake, it’s always fascinating puzzle to wander around the wine store and select just the right wines for our annual Thanksgiving feast.

So as you prepare to pile your plate and stuff your face, here are five of my favorite wines for the holiday, and what dishes they will pair with exquisitely.

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1. 2016 Strehn Blaufrankisch Rose. I know what you’re thinking - rosé is meant to only be enjoyed in the summertime. And to that I say, NOPE! Rosé is actually the type of wine that can be enjoyed all year round, and especially on Thanksgiving Day, If you’re a fan of the sweet Honey Baked Ham, then you absolutely want to pull up to the dinner table with a bottle of this Austrian goodness. With notes of peach and stone fruit, this rose has a clean and dry finish that will cut through the saltiness of the ham.

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2. Quattro Mani Lambrusco. I first took a sip of this a few months in writing a review for Black Girls Wine and I was surprised to learn that Lambrusco also pairs well with Macaroni & Cheese! If you’re a mac n’ cheese lover like me, then you only accept that oven-baked, golden cheesy crust that has the creamiest cheese pull…WHEW! Okay, I’m back. Anyway, this fizzy, dry, semi-sweet wine hails from Northern Italy and has notes of cherry and blackberry with hint of spice on the finish. It’ll be a answer contrast with the ooey gooey cheesy deliciousness.

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3. 2016 Clean Slate Riesling. If you know me, then you know I live for the driest of white wines. This one has grown to be a personal favorite - and from what I’ve found, it goes well with Green Bean Casserole. If this side is staple in your household, you want to make sure you grab about two bottles. What I love most about this Riesling in particular is that it’s got a lemony freshness with has just enough tart that won’t cause too much of a mouth pucker (hey, acidity!) The good (and bad) think about a lot of Thanksgiving dishes that are green (think: collard greens, green beans, cabbage, you get the gist) are sometimes laden with a lot of salt. So to combat killing your taste buds entirely, you want a wine that has just the right amount of acidity to cut though that.

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4. 2016 Folk Tree Pinot Noir. This red wine is the people’s champ that can go with absolutely with anything. But for the sake of Thanksgiving, I would highly suggest bringing this to the table for the Head Bird In Charge - the Turkey! With notes of ripe cherry and plum on the palate, this wine gives me a rustic feel that would go perfectly with the main meat attraction.

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5. 2016 Ferreira Porto. Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without dessert, right? After you’ve devoured the main course, it’s time to seal the deal with a sweet treat. A Tawny Port alone could be the thing you sip on, but if you’re feeling fancy and want to “have your cake and eat it too”, pair this with a warm slice of Pecan Pie or Sweet Potato Pie. You know how they say chicken soul is good for the soul? They lied. This Portuguese sweet red is aged for 10 years and has a nutty spiciness with a long finish that will compliment the sweet crustiness of a pie or a cobbler. It will undoubtedly hug your entire soul.

And that’s all she wrote! I hope that you and your family have a healthy, happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you SO MUCH for reading!

Until next time, cheers!

Wine Around Town: ENO Wine Bar

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Happy Wine Wednesday! A few weeks ago, I took a trip to a wine bar that has quickly become a new favorite.

ENO Wine Bar, located on the corner of 28th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and right next to the Four Seasons Washington in Georgetown, looks cute and quaint upon first glance. But after stepping inside, you're greeted by a comfortable fusion of old world wine country and modern design (they've got a beautiful cellar and super chic tasting room in the basement!) I first learned of ENO via Twitter, when they extended an invitation for me to come visit. We all know that taking a trip to Georgetown can sometimes be a feat, but I was determined to give this wine tasting room a try. 

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And I wasn't disappointed! Their happy hour was fairly reasonable, with glasses of their house white, red and rosé priced at $5 a glass. What makes ENO super special is that they have wine available on tap. Yes, you read that correctly - they've got wine on tap. From my table, I could see about five taps that pour various wines. (Trust me, if I had enough time, trust - I would've tried them all.)  They also have a variety of nibbles that pair nicely with their wines, something I will definitely have to try upon my next visit.

As a first timer to the tasting room, I decided to first try their rosé. It was waaay too hot outside for a heavy red, and I wasn't in the mood for a very sweet white wine, so the rosé seemed to be a happy medium.

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Crisp and light upon first taste, this Rosé Grenache was definitely a great choice - but I eventually moved on to try their red wine on tap. For a while, I was wary of rosé wine because I thought it was too fragrant and sweet. But my love for dry red and white wine has allowed my taste buds to be more adventurous and explore the berry delightful and smooth taste of rosé.

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If ever you're ever visiting Georgetown around happy hour, I highly recommend stopping by ENO wine tasting room for a supreme experience. Be sure to check out their website and follow them on Twitter  and Instagram for updates.

Cheers!

Chasity

Wine Around Town: Wardman Wines

Happy Wine Wednesday, folks! On a recent stroll through the Brookland neighborhood, I decided to visit a gem that's cozily tucked between a Chipotle and the Barnes and Noble bookstore. Wardman Wines, which opened in December 2015 has quickly become a staple in the up-and-coming northeast neighborhood.

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It wasn't my first time visiting Wardman, for I actually made my first visit during their opening week just a short six months ago. It was the dead of winter, so of course I was looking for a hearty red wine that would be great for snuggling up with on the couch. I can't recall what type of wine I purchase, but I know I wasn't disappointed.

As soon as I walked in on this spring day, however, I was immediately greeted by one of Wardman's assistant manager's Eric, who was extremely kind enough to take me on a tour of the store.

When you walk into Wardman's open yet very rustic space, directly to your right you'll find a shelf of wines (both red and white) all under $15. From light and fruity to full bodied and bold, Eric reassured me that all of the wines are unique and very  delicious. "This section is very telling of the tastes of our customers," Eric told me. "So we always make sure to keep these shelves stocked with things we know are going to be well received."

Continuing the tour, Eric described to me how the wine was organized (by region and from least expensive on the bottom to most expensive on the top) but what I found the most intriguing was the entire wall dedicated to cavas and champagne.

(Just recently, I've become super fascinated with bubbly, but more on that in another post.)

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Another feature that struck me was the beautiful half-moon bar situated right in the middle of the store. This is where they host their many tastings which happen almost every day of the week. In the back of the store, there is also a small classroom space where they hold introductory classes to wine tasting.

What makes Wardman such a gem is the fact that their staff's background is so eclectic. With its owner, Hiram, a "recovering attorney", the general manager  Nick, who is a "chef turned wine wizard," Aisha who is a kick-ass spirits mixologist and Eric (my tour guide) a beer aficionado, you can't possibly walk out of the door empty handed. The expertise is amazing, and the passion for great customer service and quality wine shines through.  During this visit, I left with two bottles: one Carmenere-Syrah blend (on the heavier side of the reds) and another Pinor Noir (on the lighter side.)

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"Wardman Wines is a place where they want everyone - no matter what their taste in wine may be - to be able to find  something that they are going to pick up, taste and enjoy," Eric says. "Because honestly? ALL of the wine is good."

To learn more about Wardman Wines, visit their website, follow them on Twitter or stop in for a visit!

Cheers!

Wine Around Town: Grand Cata, Latino Wine Company

Happy National Wine Day, everyone! As you all know, I love wine. Living in the Nation's Capitol over the last five years, I have found a plethora of very cute wine bars and stores that have tickled my fancy, and left me even more curious to satisfy my infatuation with fermented grapes.

With the summer just around the corner, I’ve made it my mission to visit the many amazing wine bars and stores that The District has to offer. I've titled this new excursion "Wine Around Town," and will be sharing a new spot once a month.

Now, on to the wine!

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Earlier last week during a (rare) sunny day, I decided to take a stroll from my office in Thomas Circle to a new wine store that just opened in the Shaw neighborhood. Looking at the website, the wine shop appeared to be very spacious and inviting, with the walls lined with a variety of wines from Latin America. And because I have a love for wine that is specifically from this region AND they were already having a daily tasting from 5-7 p.m., I knew that Grand Cata was exactly what I was looking for.

catar - Spanish verb for "to taste"

Upon entering the store, I was greeted by its owners Pedro Rodriguez and Julio Robledo. I expressed my excitement for tweeting them earlier, and they of course were super pleased to see my stop by so soon.

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The two wine enthusiasts, both Puerto Rican and Chilean respectively, shared with me the inspiration behind the inception of Grand Cata, and their excitement for the grand opening (which took place on May 18th.) As Julio pour me the #DailyCata, Pedro prepared to take me on a tour of the store.

I was completely taken away by the beautiful rustic yet modern feel of Grand Cata. As Pedro walked me around the store, he shared how the wines were categorized by region (old and new world, too) along the two main walls of the store. They also had a very impressive collection of tequilas sherrys, and beers that were arranged wonderfully behind the register. Pedro also mentioned that Grand Cata would soon be starting a wine club where subscribers would receive 2 bottles per month a a few other cool perks. You can learn more about that here.

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And because I never leave a wine store empty handed, I walked out with a bottle of the #DailyCata, which was a 2014 Southern Italian Primitivo by Mottura Le Giuse. I haven't cracked it open yet, but it was quite a steal for $11! Overall, I love the vibe of Grand Cata, and how hospitable both Pedro and Julio were during my visit. I look forward to stopping by next time I'm roaming around in Shaw.

For more information on Grand Cata, be sure to visit their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter!

 

 

As soon as I walked it, I felt as though I had