This thing they call a Rodeo

Finally got to see a Rodeo. Garth Brooks came to mind with two of his songs when I walked towards the event — both Rodeo and Beaches of Cheyenne, since I was in (Jackson,) WY watching all this take place.

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The cowboy boots were set by those attending, I just didn’t happen to have my hat with me.

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Had never seen all the ins and out of this great event, from hearing the announcer, the amazing country music, the cowboys and the animals.

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Great night in Jackson, will definitely check out another one, either there or where I happen to find another when in town.

Teton Thai

Was in Jackson Hole, WY earlier this year and got to check out a couple places. The first was Teton Thai, which is right at the base of the mountain.

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With the beautiful weather and scenery…

 

had to kick off the meal with a refreshing brew. Opted for the Hoback Hefe(weizen) by Snake River Brewing Company. Perfect for a warm summer day. While a hefe, not overkill on the wheat, hint of banana and just refreshing.

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There was a lots of good stuff to pick from on the menu, which made it tough. I finally narrowed it down to the YUM WOON SEN $14. Glassy noodles, chopped chicken & shrimp, tomato, red onions with cilantro, lime & chili dressing. I asked for the dressing on the side because it was apparently hot.

This salad was perfect. Light, fresh and just delicious. So many flavors came together. Could eat something like this everyday. And, enjoying it while sitting outside and taking in the scenery made it even better.

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Black Market

Black Market can mean many things. Well, the most recent place I tested the name was at Jeff Black’s version of it in Garrett Park, MD, Black Market Bistro.

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The last time I visited the place was probably 12 years ago and that was for brunch. Wow, it’s changed – it’s gotten much more popular and the menu is different.

Went on a Wednesday night and it was a solid 30 minute wait at around 7:45pm. Once we sat down, it didn’t take too long to decide what to get because we’d had a chance to glance at the menu while waiting. I will say, I ordered a heck of a lot of seafood!

So for the first course, the food that came to the table included:

Marinated Warm Grilled Squid Salad | $14 | Over Arugula in a Red Wine Vinaigrette with Kalamata Olives, Chili Flakes, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest

First — the feta was genuine feta, so I could eat it. Everything other than the lettuce was hot-warm (which was perfect), and the squid was perfectly cooked. Heaven! I had to not eat it all because of the 2nd course.

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Cornmeal Crusted Oysters | $13 | House Made Tartar Sauce

The plate was demolished, or the food on the plate was. Apparently perfect — crusted and cooked to perfection, with quite a tasty tartar sauce.

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Second Course:

Swordfish special of the night. Can’t remember the entire description, but solid steaks, lettuce, nice vinaigrette, and delicious!

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New Orleans Style Barbeque Shrimp | $27 | Sweet Corn & Scallion Grits, Wilted Swiss Chard & Toasted Baguette

Bring on the grit drool and mouth watering shrimp is what I determined/heard from across the table.

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I took home a good amount of leftovers because both courses were big. The service was a bit slow and it was hard to get the waiter at some points, and then at others he was always there. But, as mentioned, it was a busy night.

A couple good wines were enjoyed, but forgot to take note of those. I think the food was the highlight of the night.

Check it out if you’re in the area. It’s definitely a hidden gem. Even if you know the area, you might have to pull out your phone to get you there from Strathmore Ave.

Cheers!

Servilleta

If you speak Spanish, you might be thinking napkin. But, if you look around the cheese section at Trader Joe’s you might know I’m talking cheese. Found this one recently, which is a goat cheese, aged in cloth (which I am sort of thinking is where they got the name) for at least four months.

It has a subtle bite and is more firm than the ‘normal’ goat cheese. It can be easily cut, as in it doesn’t squish. Nice to serve on crackers, with veggies and to pair with wine.

Salud!

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Top 12 Rose of 2017 at Capital Wine School

Want to get educated on wine? One of the best places in DC you can go is Capital Wine School.

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It’s located in Friendship Heights and run by Jay Youmans, MW. They have a wide variety of classes, which makes it tough to pick which one to take.

This summer I decided on the Top 12 Rose of 2017. It was originally only supposed to be 10, but darn, Jay added two more.

Over the course of the evening, we sipped, talked, and learned a lot. Some of the brief wine notes I scribbled:

  • Rose has had double digit growth over the past 14 years, with 8-9% in 2016 alone
  • Champagne is the best marketed ‘brand’ in the world
  • Champagne is the only places allowed to blend
  • ‘Most Rose is not for contemplation’ – just open them and enjoy
  • Half of Rose consumed in the US is French
  • Drink Rose young
  • Drink Rose at 55-60 degrees
  • New world wines will be screw tops, French will have corks

The Roses we tasted are below with my comments. And a link to Jay’s presentation is in the picture below.

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  • NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne – France – $75. 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier. This was a nice way to start class off. But, not worth $75/bottle.
  • 2016 Miraval Cotes de Proven Rose – Provence, France – $22. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle (White). This is Brad Pitt’s wine (if you’ve seen it before). It’s the #2 brand in the US. Lemon, melon, medium acid. It’s good, but I don’t like saying that since it’s a celeb’s wine.
  • 2016 Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” – Cotes du Provence – France – $20. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah. #1 selling Rose in the US. Tiny bit of oak at finish.
  • 2016 Chateau de Bregancon Cru Classe – Cotes du Provence – France – $25. 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault. Deeper body, peach, aged in oak casks. Can get it at MacArthur Beverages in DC.
  • Domaine Ott – Chateau de Selle – Cotes de Provence, France, $45. Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah. ‘Creamy nose’ – like an oaked chard. Not good! It’s ‘getting old’ – you need to drink Roses young. Why $45?
  • 2016 Famille Bougrier Rose D’Anjou – Loire Valley, France – $12. 70% Gamay, 40% Grolleau – 16g/l = 1.6% sugar. Very pink, very sweet. Tasted like cotton candy. Not one I’m headed to the store to buy.

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  • 2016 Jean Reverdy Sancerre Rose (Les Villots) – Loire Valley, France. $18. 100% Pinot Noir. Sancerre MUST use Pinot Noir. Crisp. One of my favorites of the night.
  • 2016 Domain de la Mordoree-Tavel-Rhone Valley  — France – $32. 60% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Bourboulenc (white). Raspberry color, fairly dark. Super fruity nose, oh wow, flavors jump in the mouth.
  • 2016 Stobi Rose — Tikves, Macedonia. $12. 80% Rkatsiteli, 20% Vraec. Floral and lychee nose. Subtle grapefruit taste. Just so unique. Another one of my favorites of the night.
  • 2016 Early Morning Rose – Virginia – Madison, VA, $24. 60% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. A bit tasteless then a bit of bitterness.
  • 2016 Francis Ford Coppola “Sofia” – Monterey, CA, $22. Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir. Dark, nice nose – roses, strawberries. It’s the one that comes in a bowling pin bottle. This wine came about as a mistake from Sutter Homes. Was supposed to be a white wine, then this happened.
  • Mystery Wine – was a bit sweeter. Ended up being the Underwood Rose in a can.

Such a fun class and night. If you’ve never been to this school, add it to your list!

 

 

 

 

Lost Creek, Leesburg, VA

A friend and I explored some local wine country on a beautiful DC day in August. What is upper 70s in this month?

We went to The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek in Leesburg, VA.

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This winery has been in the works since 1998 and has 16 acres of land. My friend and I split a tasting which included the following, for $15.

2016 Vidal Blanc. 100% Estate Grown. Tropical Fruit. Stainless Steel Aged. $22. Unique, had a bit of oak on it.

2014 Chardonnay. 100% Estate Grown. Bright & Crisp. Stainless Steel Aged. $24. I tasted beef jerky and tire?! Then some lemon meringue. Ok, odd.

2015 Reserve Chardonnay. 100% Estate-Grown Whole Cluster Pressed. Ten months French Oak. Best of Class SF Chronicle Harvest Club Wine Only. $29. Not too yellow for an oaked Chard.

2016 Rose. 11% Zinfandel Dry Rose Blend. Barrel Aged 6 months. Food friendly. $24. Watermelon nose. Definitely dry. Very nice. Ended up getting a glass to enjoy later.

The following 3 are their Bordeaux Blends.

2015 Trinity. 43% Cabernet Sauvignon/36% Cabernet Franc/8% Merlot/13% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $36. This is the 3rd blend they’ve made. Peppery.

2015 Genesis. 62% Merlot/16% Cabernet Sauvignon/16% Cabernet Franc/6% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $40.  1st blend for them. They gave it that name because genesis means ‘new beginnings.’ Very smooth. My favorite.

2015 Provenance. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon/30% Merlot/20% Cabernet Franc/5% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. Premium Selection. $42. Heaviest of the three. Nice nose.

As mentioned, I decided to enjoy a glass of the Rose. My friend and I sat outside in their very nice garden/pavilion area. Tables, chairs, where you can sit back and relax. We didn’t need anything to eat, but they have quite the menu. This is a place where you cannot bring your own food.

The staff was quite knowledgeable about the wine and they were all quite good for VA wines. It’s so nice to see how VA wines are getting better and better each time a winery is visited, and the difference between various VA wine regions.

Pollak Vineyards, Greenwood, VA

Another winery visited in the Monticello Region was Pollak Vineyards.

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This one opened in 2008 and all grapes are estate grown. But a bit more history on them can be found here, about how they started growing their grapes in 2003. They had a beautiful tasting room and quite the staff to give us information on the wine.

2014 Chardonnay. Characteristically golden straw in color, with an assortment of aromatics ranging from ripe apricots to tropical fruit. Flavors include quince, pineapple and citrus fruit which are all interlaced with notes of fresh white flowers. The wine is crafted to be fruit-forward, medium weight, with a crisp clementine like finish. $24. 80% unoaked/20% oaked. Like the unoaked percentage!

 2016 Viognier. Gold, Finger Lakes International. Bright, tropical and intense apricot and peach aromas that mingle with a beautiful spiciness. Displaying youthful acidity and a clean crisp but creamy finish. $26. Tropical fruit nose. Crisp and clean. Very good wine.

2016 Pinot Gris. Nose of stone fruit, orange blossom and fresh tropical fruit flavors. Rough and creamy with bright minerality and a fruit forward finish. $25. No nose at first, eventually got one after a few swirls.

2016 Rose. The bouquet of aromas range from ripe red raspberry to strawberry and spice. On the palate flavor of fresh red fruit race alongside a great acidity leaving a desire for another taste. $24. All stainless. Sweet smell, ok, not my favorite rose.

2015 Cabernet Franc. Bright ruby in color, with fragrances of pomegranate, cherry jam and fresh cracked black pepper. On the palate: soft impressions of ripe blackberry, cassis, and dark cocoa mingle into a velvety finish. $28. Nice nose, pepper. Really like this one.

2014 Merlot. Gold, Finger Lakes International. Aromas of fresh, ripened cherries and blueberries burst from this perfectly balance Merlot. The wine retains freshness and vibrancy through to the finish, yet has soft, silky but firm tannins. $30. Thick and chocolatey. Very nice.

2013 Meritage. Best in Category Gold, Atlantic Seaboard Gold, Monticello Cup. Complex nose, smooth, rich and silky, this handcraft wine finds its center around a core of blackcurrant, black cherry and sweet raspberry fruit. Spice, cedar and earth notes add complexity, but the generous fruit and supple texture that anchor the mid-palate. $35. Smooth…

2015 Petit Verdot. A very deep and complex vintage of this robust varietal. Full-bodied and rich, this wine is drinking nicely now but also has great potential to improve in the cellar. $30. Nice nose, bad taste.

2012 Mille Fleurs. Port of Viognier. Voted Best Dessert Wine in Virginia, Virginia Wine Lover Magazine. $30. Too sweet.

During the whole time and discussion the folks at the winery also suggested watching Blood Into Wine. Have to check this out because most movies about wine can’t be bad, right?

Much enjoyed this winery and look forward to going again. Cheers!

Cardinal Point Vineyard, Afton, VA

Another winery visited in the Monticello region was Cardinal Point Vineyard. It’s family owned and operated and started ‘years ago, while stationed in the small city of Bad Kreuznach, Germany on the banks of the Nahe River, Paul and Ruth Gorman discovered a passion for the Riesling wines that were crafted with care in the little vineyards surrounding the town. It was then and there that they decided to add their own vineyard to their retirement plans.’

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The tasting at this winery was $10 for five wines. Between the two of us we covered the menu. That cost seems a bit high for a VA winery. And come the end of the tasting, far too high for the quality of the wine.

2015 Green. 50% Petit Manseng/50% Chardonnay. This is no blend; these grapes were co-fermented. Aromatic, approachable and addictive. $20. No bubbles, like vino verde.

2015 Hopped Chardonnay. Totally original. Totally unique. Totally familiar. Herbal/tropical nose, fresh fruit with citrus near the finish. $20. The hops added herbs to the nose but there was just some citrus to the taste.

2016 A6. 58% barrel fermented Viognier blended with 42% steel fermented and aged Chardonnay. Peach flavors and aroma, subtle oak, creamy mouth-feel lifting to light minerality on the finish. $25. This wine was named for a highway in France. The peach notes were present.

2016 Quattro. Riesling/Gewurztraminer/Viognier/Traminette. Latest version of a CPV favorite. Apple/pear aromas with sublime sweetness. Best yet? $18. 10.4%. Mildly sweet.

2015 Frai Rose. The fermentation on this Rosé was stopped just short of dry, and the results are stunning! Fruit forward and not too sweet. $20. Tastes like a slushy.

2015 Rose. Cabernet Franc rose featuring the potential for warm sunsets, fun with friends, and an ever-ready companion to grilled chicken and veggies. $18. Nice nose. Taste of strawberries.

2015 Rockfish Red. Short-vat C. Franc and P. Verdot. Youthful and round easy drinker with pedigree. It pairs well with many foods. Great utility player for your summer. $20. Fruit forward. Way too light.

2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc. This fruit comes from our friends, the Peltons, at nearby Clay Hill Vineyard. Boasting flavors of cherry and black pepper, this is a great wine from a great place. 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold and Governor’s Case Selection. $35. Peppery.

2014 Union. 63% Petit Verdot/19% Cabernet Franc/18% Tannat. Concentrated flavors of wild cherry syrup and pomegranates, dense mouthfeel, and spicy vanilla tannin. Winner of 2017 Monticello Cup and 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold. $35. Syrupy nose, not a great taste.

Definitely not my favorite winery, but fun to check out the local ones.

Flying Fox Vineyard, Afton, VA

Visited the Monticello wine region in Virginia and got to find some new adult grape juice. Started with Flying Fox Vineyard.

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They started growing their grapes in 1999. Lynn & Rich, who opened the vineyard, bought the grapes with Veritas, which are located in the Shenandoahs.

2015 Pinot Gris. Dry and crisp with key lime and citrus notes.  A perfect summer wine.  Produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes planted just for us in the Shenandoah Valley. $18. Was a bit sour for a Pinot Gris.

2015 Viognier. Our Viognieris produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes. With aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and pear this wine is a lovely Virginia classic. $19. Tasted sweet/sour.

White Table Wine. A lightly sweet blend of Pinot Gris, Traminette, and Viognier  – great with spicy food, an after dinner cheese platter or just sitting on the front porch. 6% Traminette, 64% Pinot Gris, 30% Viognier. $17. Blend of the first two wines and sweeter than the first two wines. Not my favorite.

2015 Rose. Dry, crisp and refreshing- an elegant Rosé. This lovely wine smells and tastes of fresh strawberries, nutmeg, and marzipan. And will be a perfect complement to all of your summer picnics! Cabernet Franc 50% – Merlot 50%. $17. Ok.

2014 Cabernet Franc. A classic Virginia Cabernet Franc: Light oak flavors compliment but not overwhelm the taste of red fruit and cherries along with a bit of black pepper spice. Aromas of baking spices, cardamom and cherry pie make this our favorite summer red.  80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot. $24. Pepper notes, nice wine.

2014 Merlot. An elegant Bordeaux-style Merlot.  Plum, cherries and a hint of mocha on the palate.  Enjoy now or cellar to drink later. $22. Not good.

2014 Trio. Trio – our harmonious blend of three wines, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is our vineyard in a bottle.  An elegant wine with lovely color and balance.  50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. $27. Nothing stands out.

2014 Petit Verdot. Dark and intense, this wine shows flavors of black cherry and blackberry fruit.  Our favorite with game. This wine shows firm tannins and good acidity.  It will age nicely. 80% Petit Verdot, 20% Merlot. $28. Heavy but not weight bearing. Definitely had the cherry and blackberry.

Red Table Wine. This wine is an off-dry blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  Soft and smooth, this wine appeals to both red and white wine drinkers.  Chilled in the summer, warm and spiced in the winter, always appropriate. $17. Sweet for a red.

Nice range of wine to sample in a different region than the (relative) northern Virginia ones I normally locally get closer to home.

Red Tail Ridge Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes, another winery visited was Red Tail Ridge.

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This one is a decade old and they have about 50 acres of land on which they grow their grapes. They produce smaller amounts of wines so they can focus on quality vs. quantity. Their tasting is $5 for 6 wines (then you tend to get a bit more).

I checked out these guys:

2016 Dry Rose. Tart cherries, cranberries and fresh mint with the minerality of seashells on the nose. Softer notes of apricot and fresh strawberries follow. The palate brings out red raspberries, fennel and mandarin oranges. e heavy mid-palate is cut with a phenolic bitter note and a slightly tacky sensation to finish, $20.95 – I got a sweet chalk on the nose and strawberries when I sipped it.

2016 Sans (without) Oak Chardonnay. The wine opens up with Bosc pears, tart apples, undertones of stoniness and hints of citrus. The palate begins with white cherry, golden delicious apples, and bouncy citrus notes all highlighted with a slight spritz mouthfeel to keep the wine lively. Minerality and lemon oil notes linger, $13.95 – No nose, though after awhile it finally opened up bit. Tasted oaky to me, but maybe it was the Finger Lake grapes?

2015 Dry Riesling. Crisp pears, starfruit and limestone on the nose, followed by lemongrass and soft floral accents. The palate adds peaches, creamy lemon curd, and bright yellow apples. Minerality comes mid-palate with a puckering acidity to cut the fattier mouthfeel and leave fresh notes of lemon and lime zest, $18.95 – Genuinely dry.

2016 Good Karma. Light notes of candied ginger, white peaches and lemon oil on the nose. Stoniness and orange blossom add to the aroma with honeysuckle. On the palate, more peaches with slight spice and pears along with sweet lime. Nice acidity rounding out the mouth to finish with lingering notes of citrus oil. (2.3% rs) *Good Karma is Riesling sourced from Seneca Lake, $13.95 – Sweet and thick on the nose, syrupy. Almost like drinking peach schnapps. The person pouring it was not happy with the comment at all.

2015 Pinot Noir. On the nose: coco dusted cherries, sweet tobacco, forest moss, and chocolate mint leaves. The palate begins bright with rhubarb notes that lead into deeper earthy mushrooms, black cherries and savory fennel. Mid-palate the deeper notes give way to the tingly acidity with fresh raspberries and wild strawberries. The acidity elongates this wine leaving your palate watering for more, $24.95 – Light body, got some chocolate and earth notes.

2015 Dornfelder. Earthy mushrooms fill the glass with a slight meatiness followed by dark fruit: currants and plums. On the palate, more dark earth notes emerge but give way to juicy fruit as the wine opens up in the glass. Boysenberries burst with dried stems of blackberries and soft vanilla. The wine has an umami note mid-palate with brininess and tart cherries to finish, $24.95 – Dark, NICE nose and taste. Definitely got the mushrooms. Had a good body, too.

2014 Blaufränkisch. Piercing blackberry, and black cherry fill the nose, followed by oregano, white pepper, allspice and worn leather. On the palate: ripe wild blackberries, warming vanilla and boysenberry. Rounded mid-palate but chalky, grippy sensations on the edges of the tongue. Darker earth notes with solid acidity and youthful tannins linger in the finish, $22.95 – Very light nose and body. Didn’t get anything from it. Wouldn’t buy it, especially for the price.