You guys - I have a computer again! Yay!!! We are still in the process of settling in, but I at least have a place to post from now. Right before we moved was my 30th birthday, and I was kind of bummed because I had wanted to do a big trip to New York but the timing with the new house meant that we couldn't. Jasper told me that he was going to plan a smaller trip to a surprise location, so right in the middle of packing we hopped in the car and head to... The Inn at Little Washington! What a great surprise!
It also worked out nicely as a pre-anniversary trip because it was almost to our 5 year wedding anniversary! I can't even believe it - time flies!
We arrived just in time for afternoon tea, which was lovely. Both the sweet and savory bites were delicious and I love that they make all of their own accompaniments. I had a delicious caramel tea that I ended up buying from the store because it was so good.
You should know by now how much we love Marcel's - the restaurant where we got engaged and where we spend many of our special occasions (previous posts here and here). So when I saw a post about an amazing looking wine dinner on their Facebook page, I immediately called and made reservations. The dinner was four courses (plus Amuse and cheese) designed to pair with seven wines from Grapes of Spain, a Spanish wine importer with a focus on new talent and modern wines. Grapes of Spain president Aurelio Cabestrero, and winemakers Javier Candon and Isaac Fernandez were in attendance. For each pairing, we were given an in-depth description of the wines from the type of land the grapes are grown on, to how they are harvested and prepared, to the tasting notes. It was incredibly informative and a lot of fun, especially as we got to know the other people at our table. The best part? These wines are incredibly reasonably priced, I would even say cheap - most were between $15-$20 a bottle! And we got a discount for being at the dinner, and an even bigger discount for buying a case (mix and match, too). Such an insanely great deal!
Without further ado, I present to you the pairings:
Amuse Bouche - Lobster Egg with Osetra Caviar. This was a lobster bisque topped with custard and caviar, served in an egg shell - delicious.
Biutiful Cava Brut Rose NV - 100% Garnacha. A delicate, subtle, dry, sparkling rose with notes of raspberry and citrus.
First Course - Diver Scallop Tartine, Aged Sherry Shallot Butter, Smoked Trout Roe. Excellent, my favorite course.
Adras Godello 2012 - 100% Godello. My favorite wine of the night - earthy and funky like my beloved French whites, but with more floral and citrus notes making it super balanced and perfect for pairing with food.
Second Course - Saddle of Rabbit Stuffed with Cumin Scented Rabbit Sausage, Butternut Squash Puree, Chanterelle Mushrooms. Very earthy and yummy (I think we can acknowledge that all the courses are going to be yummy). I was starting to get tipsy already at this point, yikes!
Adras Mencia 2012 - 100% Mencia. A light bodied but velvety fruit-forward red.
Third Course - Breast of La Belle Farms Duck, Duck Confit, Valrhona Chocolate, Brandied Cherries. I really liked this course, and boy were those cherries boozy!
Acentor Garnacha 2012 - 100% Garnacha Tinta (Red Grenache). Dry and spicy, Jasper preferred this wine with the duck (and overall - it was his favorite). We both thought it was the most drinkable of all the wines (meaning on it's own, not necessarily with food).
Bovale 2011 - 100% Bobal. Jammy with ripe berry and chocolate notes. I thought this was the better pairing with the duck because of the chocolate in the dish, but I was definitely in the minority at the table.
Fourth Course - Herb Brioche Encrusted Rack of Border Springs Lamb, Scarmoza Polenta Cake, Madeira Lamb Jus. I think I ate this really fast because I needed food at this point, haha.
Finca La Mata 2011 - 100% Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo). Medium-bodied and fruit-forward with depth. Very satisfying, but not a standout in this group, especially since it was more classic versus unusual.
Arrocal Selection 2010 - 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). This was deep and rich with notes of black cherry, vanilla, and spice. This wine was the outlier in terms of price point - at $40 it is well above the others.
Cheese - Reblochon Cheese Cake with Green Gauge Plums. There was no wine paired with this course, so we all took our time finishing whatever we hadn't been able to yet.
Then came a few petite fours and the filling out of the order forms. The wines were ready to pick up in just a few days. We got ours yesterday and I am so excited! The dinner was lovely and I highly recommend looking to see if any of these wines are available near you. The quality is wonderful on they're own, but paired with the price they're unbeatable.
This month is the 25th Anniversary of Virginia Wine Month, which I didn't know about until last week. I also didn't know about DC Wine Week, which kicked off it's 3rd year last night, until I got a special invite to attend some of the events. You see, the co-founders are social media marketing experts, and they scour the web looking for locals who might get excited about their events. And let me tell you, I was excited.
Lisa Byrne and Vanessa French started DC Wine Week as a celebration of all things wine, but especially of local wines and the places that serve them. So it makes sense that they chose Veritas Wine Bar (one of the best wine bars in the city and, I'm told, one of the first) for their opening event.
This was my first time at Veritas, but I would love to go back. The selected wines were all new to me, and all fantastic; and the cheese and charcuterie pairings were outstanding on their own, but also some of the best examples of food and wine pairings I have ever experienced. These guys know what they are doing. Period. Special shout-out to Uri Martinez, who took really good care of us even though the place was packed. They do seem to serve their reds at room temp, whereas I like them around 55 degrees, but it's hard to find anyone who puts a little chill on a red.
Wines and Pairings
1) Sparkling, Rossignol de Moragas, ‘Brut,’ Cava, Penedes, Spain, NV - This was clean, crisp, and dry (everything I love in a sparkling wine) and paired with some fantastically meaty (read: not thin and dry) prosciutto.
2) Sparkling, Cricova, Spumante Original, Brut, Moldova, NV - As much as I liked the first wine, I liked this one even more. Also crisp and dry, it had a lot of floral going on that brought out the more complex flavors (like juniper) in the wild boar salumi it was paired with.
3) Chardonnay, Slo Down Wines, ‘Broken Dreams,’ California, 2012 - Oh my gosh, you guys - this wine. My favorite of the night, possibly my new favorite ever. This is not your standard buttery CA Chardonnay (which is good, because I don't like those) - full bodied and fruity (think tropical), this reminded me more of a dry Riesling. It was paired with a firm sheep's cheese from Spain called P'tit Basque. The guys who make Broken Dreams are hilarious, and the wine is less that $20 a bottle. Seriously, check it out.
4) Viognier, Barboursville, ‘Reserve,’ Virginia, 2012 - VA is famous for Viognier, so of course there had to be one on the list! This particular one was very nice, with a good amount of terroir (aka funk). We really loved the cheese it was paired with - a firm cow's cheese with peppercorns from Oregon called Marco Polo. With the wine, I was picking up notes of citrus and herb in the cheese - super yum!
5) Pinot Noir, Laetitia, Arroyo Grand, California, 2012 - Light bodied and dry with notes of cherry, this was paired with a killer braseola. It didn't set off the allergic reaction I get with some Pinots, so that was definitely a plus for me!
6) Tempranillo, Baron Ladron De Guevara, Rioja, Spain, 2012 - Medium bodied, dry, and jammy and paired with an outstanding duck rillete. Neither of us really likes pates or terrines, and we loved this rillete, so that says a lot.
7) Sparkling, Aecovi, ‘Penelope,’ Jerez, Spain, NV - This was another favorite. Very sweet, a sparkling dessert wine, with honeyed apple notes that reminded me of a Tokai. Paired with a creamy and salty blue cheese.
This event was super fun. I learned a lot, I met some cool people, and I had some really great food and wine. Be sure to go to www.dcwineweek.com and sign up for one of the events!