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.


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.



  • 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.


  • 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!






Want to go fishing? Want to camping? Are you in DC? Just go to Buck’s. You might not actually get the true aforementioned, but you’ll get a great dinner.


I had heard much about this place, located on Connecticut Ave., at the intersection of Nebraska Ave. in upper NW. Buck’s Fishing and Camping, here I come.

My friend and I checked it out in February and they had the Valentine’s theme going on, so the cocktail menu included sparkling rose. Bring it on! A perfect way to start off the evening.


We opted for an appetizer to tide us over while we looked over the menu. It was a special that night, a white bean hummus with homemade chips.

China Chilcano

Was able to dine at a restaurant I had not yet checked out awhile back — China Chilcano in the Gallery Place/Chinatown/Judiciary Square area of Washington, DC. I had heard rave reviews about it so couldn’t wait to check it off my list.

It is one of Jose Andres’ places and it brings together Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. And their feature cocktail – Pisco Sours.


I went on a Wednesday night. Made a reservations so the table was all set. The tables were at a very low level (from the ground) so you really have to bend over/down to eat. The light was very yellow-y, too. Not sure why. Hence why the picture all have an odd light to them.

The service was very slow, as in it took a long time to get our waiter. Once he finally arrived, we had to make the required order at such a restaurant — pisco sours! And they also bring you these little nibbles — pepitas.

Once we received the pisco sours (that also took awhile), cheers! Very nice.

The menu is tapas-style, so most of the dishes are small and meant to be shared. The choices were almost overwhelming. But we finally decided on:

Ensalada de Chonta — Hearts of palm, tamarind, avocado, tomato, kiwicha seed, sweet plantain

Ceviche Clásico La Mar — Red snapper, leche de tigre, sweet potato, red onion, cancha, cilantro

California (Roll) — Potato causa, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, huancaína sauce

HaKao — Steamed glass dumpling, shrimp, pork, ají rocoto-soy sauce

Yàn Wõ “Birds Nest” Soup — Coconut “Birds Nest” soup, pink grapefruit sorbet, mint, sesame, ginger

Like a typical tapas restaurant, these orders came out randomly. Some within a minute then others about 15 minutes later.

The hearts of palm salad was by far my favorite. Could have ordered several of those. The ceviche wasn’t quite what I was expecting because it was ‘soupy’. I could have used a spoon to eat it (picture below, top row, right). Unique and tasty, nonetheless.

The other dishes were very good, as well. The others at the table enjoyed the dessert and said they’ll have to pass next time. I had a small bite of the sorbet and it was interesting. I’ll stick with just the citrus itself.

Very glad I checked the place out, would totally go again.



There is a nice wine-oriented restaurant in DC, Proof. Had been there a few times and opted to check it out again after going to the theater to see Nutcracker for the first time.


Started at the bar because my friends and I arrived before our reservation. We all enjoy wine, so we were inquiring quite a bit about several of the wines they offered. The bartenders didn’t particularly want to help us more than where the wines were from and the varietals. For a wine restaurant, it was surprising. We had to order it on a whim and hope it was good. It was fine, but nothing I’ll order again, or remember. I didn’t even remember to take a picture…

We sat down at the table and it was extremely dark. The picture above is a flashlight you can use to read the menu. It’s both a flashlight and magnifying glass. The print is very small on the menu. I have really good vision and was having problems. The waiter said that is the tone/ambiance they want to set — darkness, it’s a better mood.

Once we were able to read some of the menu, our not-so-helpful waiter (in addition to the start with the bartenders) came and explained some of the specials. We also let him know about dietary restrictions. My friend is allergic to shellfish and nuts, as well as being lactose intolerant like me.

We decided to get some side dishes as appetizers and went with:

-Brussels Sprouts, Kimchee Mayo & Vietnamese Dressing
-Fried Cauliflower with Lemon, Tahini, Garlic & Mint (didn’t get a picture since because of the nearly non-existent lighting, it was tough to get decent shots)


After spending awhile looking over the entire menu we were finally able to choose what we wanted.

I opted for the Scallops a la Michel Richard: crispy brussels sprouts, apples, confit leeks, basil & vincotto. I asked if there was dairy in this and the waiter gasped and asked how could there not be and why would I make an alteration? I wasn’t sure and just needed it because of being lactose intolerant. He was flabbergasted that I didn’t know who Michel Richard was. Sorry. So, he said would check with the kitchen but didn’t think it would be possible to alter such a well known chef’s original recipe. Long story short, he said they would make and exception for me.

My friends ordered the Pekin Duck: käsespätzle, red cabbage, duck confit, horseradish, green apple, concord grape sauce. They made sure there was no dairy in there for her, and she was safe because there was also no fish on there, or no crazy fish ingredient in any of the sauces.

The other friend ordered the Sautéed Potato Gnocchi: butternut squash, cauliflower, beech mushroom, apple brown butter.

While we were waiting for the food, we asked for the sommelier. He came over and was a bit more helpful and gave some interesting comments about the restaurant and how it’s changed. He’d only been there a few months and once we started talking to him more he got much friendlier. The nicest service we had all night.  He did suggest another wine after taking into account our likes in wine.

The food was good. Overpriced, but at least decent in taste. The evening at least ended well when our waiter was kind enough to confirm my friend’s initial thoughts — Cal Ripken was sitting at the table behind us. My friends, who are huge baseball fans, got up after dinner to ask for his autograph to give to their grandma for Christmas. She’s a long time Orioles fan. Can’t go wrong with that.

Bubbling over work

I have side gigs to help fund my travel and wine rack. One of them is working wine tastings. I had one yesterday afternoon, New Year’s Eve, at Bassin’s/MacArthur Beverages in Washington, DC. And, oh darn, I had to pour bubbly! One was sparkling wine from CA the other three were veritable Champagne.

#1 Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley. This is the an estate/winery Louis Reoderer (next on the list) opened in the US. $20. It’s a sparkling wine, since it’s CA vs. France. This is roughly 60% Chard, 40% Pinot Noir. Some nice fruit notes for bubbly, especially compared to other bubblies (aka champagnes). And, at least half the cost.

#2 Louis Roederer Champagne, Brut Premier. $40. This is a blend of roughly 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. Traditional Champagne taste. I would put it ‘medium’ toast, nice and soft.

#3 Taittinger Champagne. $40. This is a blend of roughly 40% Chardonnay, 60% of Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier. Medium bubbles, soft toast taste, just rolls around the mouth and down your tongue to give you pure happiness.  I am partial because it’s one of my favorites.

#4 Comtes de Champagnes, Taittinger, Blanc de Blanc 2006. $129 (yes, that price is correct). 100% Chardonnay. Very nice taste all around, and while it was definitely a better taste than the prior 3, it would be tough (for me) to spend that much. However, 3 people did buy bottles. All personal choice.

Cheers to 2017!


Fish Taco

I had heard so much about Fish Taco that I eventually had to try it. Also did it by taking a friend there as a thank you for picking me up from the airport. Good excuse, right?


Their background is ‘Our food is rooted in traditional flavors inspired by various regions including Baja California, Mexico and the Southwest. We embrace local, seasonal and authentic ingredients presented simply, yet prepared with passion and precision.’

It’s one of the restaurants where you go up and order and they call your number when it’s ready, the new fast-casual, or something along those lines. I had sort of wondered about that, or how exactly they worked. They have three locations in the DC-area, and I visited the one on Old Georgetown Rd.

Was torn on what to order. I was assuming that based on their background (and name) they’d have ceviche (or some sort at least), but no.

I ended up getting the Blackened Fish Salad; mixed greens, romaine hearts, baby kale, avocado, grilled mango, cherry tomatoes, red onions, cotija cheese, blackened fish, and our house made Lemon Cilantro Vinaigrette (minus the cheese) — $11.95. The seasoning was nice, but the fish was pretty greasy.


My friend went with the Adobo Barbacoa (Brisket) Tacos; fresh white corn tortilla, adobo marinated barbacoa, pickled jalapeno/carrots/onions, guajillo sauce — $8.95. This was apparently darn good, but not a very big portion.


To kill time we also ordered chips and salsa. It’s always a strike against when at a mexican restaurant (generic term) you have to pay for chips and salsa. And, it was $4! (and not that ample of a size).


I can see why this place gets hype. It was relatively quick and easy. But, I personally wasn’t all the impressed. I would rather cook at home. And it was overpriced for what’s offered/delivered. But, it is Bethesda/DC so you come to expect it. Glad I was able to pass the opinion myself.

3 Stars Brewing Company

Washington, DC is becoming a growing microbrew market, between the city proper and local areas.  Many of the new ones are in the city, and are helping some of the run-down areas get a face lift, since they cost less to operate (lower rent) and then bring traffic to the area.  I was recently housesitting and found out about 3 Stars Brewing Company that was less than a mile from where I was staying — perfect!  It’s right near Takoma Park in DC/MD.  It’s in the far east side of the NW quadrant of DC.  Go a couple blocks and you’re in NE.


It’s very hidden in a row of industrial buildings — they could use a bigger sign.  They’re open Thursday-Sunday for tastings and tours.  They also have an area for homebrewers to come get the ingredients they want to brew their own stuff, aka their Homebrew Shop.

The menu is pretty vast and you can taste 4oz. pours for $1.50.  You can’t go wrong with that.  The ABV range is also pretty wide so you also have to be pretty cautious on some levels.



I’m torn between the Peppercorn and Ghost as to which one was my favorite.

In addition to the nice tastes, you can of course get pints as well as growler fills.  This would be there perfect place to go on the weekend with their picnic tables, They mentioned food trucks also swing by so you can fill the stomach with food in addition to beer.

Green Hat Distillery

Microbreweries are expanding/exploding but now so is something else…microdistilleries.  What is the world coming to?  HEAVEN!  In DC there is a gin distillery, Green Hat (they hope to make more than gin in the long run).

IMG_2680They have been around for a little over 3 years now and are located in NE (the North East quadrant if you’re not completely familiar with the area).  It’s one of the less expensive areas so this is of course where a lot of the growing micro (alcohol) folks in DC are going because of the cost.  It’s amazing, there is so much potential and it’s really helping these areas grow.  It’s also where Union Market (drove near it since the street sign isn’t actually on noted off of NY Ave so took a couple extra turn and my GPS was taking me some extra places).  Ok, anyway, back to in.

So to actually visit the distillery you can only go on Saturdays from 1-4pm.  The rest of the week they are busy making this good gin for us.  You go in and get to taste a couple gins and get a tour of the place.  What was great on the tour is that you walk to the back of the distillery (maybe the width of a football field) and the guide said ‘ok, this is the whole size of the place, nothing more, are you disappointed that more of your tours are so much bigger?’  This ‘tour’ was very interesting because I’ve only done beer and wine tours so I learned the process of distilling gin.  They have gone through a long process of who to work with for getting their product and are working with relatively local farmers in Virginia.  Then we learned about everything from start to finish, from grains going in, to heating to the ‘flavor’ choice going in to bottles.  The whole process can take about a month.





With the tour you of course get a taste.  They consider a variety of spices when making the gin, from juniper berries to celery seeds, so have these out for you to smell why enjoying the gin.


The first gin we tasted was their tradition gin. This one was about 41% alcohol.  They hand write the percentage and proof on each bottle in case anything changes and anybody comes in to inspect them.


The second tasting was the Navy Strength which was around 57% alcohol.  WOW!  I think I was shivering when I sipped that stuff.

Though we didn’t get to taste them, they received awards for two of their gins last year — Ginavit and Spring-Summer.  Side note — I though we were tasting all 4 of the gins, so I was carefully sipping the first 2.  Not that I needed to down them, but still, I wanted to taste the awards winners.


They are also working in whiskey.  They hope to have this ready in about 3 years.


So, if you live in DC, head to NE on a Saturday afternoon and check this out.  Go to Union Market after it and get some food, or there is a MOMs 3 blocks away.  This area is growing and it’s great.  Cheers.

DC Harvest

Checked out a new restaurant in one of DC’s growing neighborhood’s recently.  Visited DC Harvest on H Street.

dcharvestPhoto Source:

While walking to the restaurant from Union Station one thing I noticed was the ‘Coming Soon’ signs for the trolley.  Can’t wait to see when that actually happens.  Could be years away.  Anyway, the restaurant is fairly new — opened in November of 2014.  They have a great bar right near the door with a variety of taps and variety of drinks on the menu.

IMG_2602They also give you these additive sweet potatoes chips to nibble on as soon as you sit down.

IMG_2605Though the taps were all appealing I opted for one of their concoctions, the Betty White, which has a nice raspberry and bubbly touch.



Eventually sat down for dinner and they had great options from moutwatering salad to seafood dishes.  I opted for the trout, which was served with kale and mushrooms.  They change the menu seasonally so you get a nice variety.  This was absolutely delicious!  Would definitely recommend checking this place out if live in DC or are visiting.  Easy walk from Union station or a quick cab ride.



Checked out a new restaurant in DC the other night after various suggestions and trying not to go for the tried and true that I’ve had.  So, I have now check Daikaya in Gallery Place-Chinatown off my list.

I was told that it has two levels and be sure to go upstairs.  I naturally picked the wrong place to go at first.  Their lower level is a noodles restaurant for quick, easy meals.  It’s perfect to grab before a game (this place is right next to the Verizon Center, so ideal for Caps or Wizards game night) or at lunch.  So, I had to ask where to go.  An obvious common question based on the quick answer.  Immediately next to the bright-light was a hidden black door with the Daikaya name on it.  Upstairs we go.

IMG_1270[1]This non-ramen portion of the restaurant is based on how “the cuisine is freestyle and adaptive in nature and each izakaya in Japan puts its own touch to their menu items. In this spirit, we also like to put our twist on our dishes and drinks and embrace our role as an izakaya in DC, with international and American influences as we feel inspired.”

It’s very similar to a tapas restaurant.  Everything on the menu was small plates and you might need 3-4 per person, if not more.  They also had quite the drink menu, from beer to sake.

For the drink, I opted for a red beer, in a bottle — Echigo Red Ale.  It was hilarious because they bring you a glass that is the size of a juice glass at breakfast.  I guess it makes you feel like you’re drinking a lot from the 12oz bottle.  Very unique and nice beer.

IMG_1274[1]For food, opted for a few different tastes.  There were so many choices on the menu, it was honestly hard to pick!

-fried garlic
-grilled avocado
-tuna poke
-cold steamed chicken breast

IMG_1272[1]This picture doesn’t do the food any justice.  The flavors were incredible!  I wish I had room for more food to taste for options from the menu.  Will definitely have to go back again.  If you live in DC or are visiting, definitely add it to your list!