Wine and Food in Arlington

A page about the best places to find good wine, whether it's a store or a restaurant.

Name: WineGeek
Location: Arlington, Virginia

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Not entirely dead! I'm back working in an office so I haven't been able to take delivery of many internet wine shipments. This has put a bit of a crimp in my review habits, but mostly I've had my time and attention sucked into other areas.

This just in - Sebastiani 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is also good! They've raised the price a bit each year since 2003 and rightfully so. At $17 it's a good wine but not a great deal anymore. Costco may have it at the old price of $13 but I haven't been there to check the last few months.

Wines that I've recently sampled from my Sacramento/Gold Coast trip are still excellent, in particular Vino Noceto and Cooper. My high rankings weren't just due to the thrill of being there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wine Temperature

Here's a handy gadget to make certain your wine is at a perfect temperature. It is quite true that a few degrees makes a big difference in the flavor of wine (and beer for that matter). Still, I see this as an impractical toy except in special circumstances such as a tasting. Many recommend putting a red wine in the fridge for about 1/2 hour before consumption, and in general I agree with this. It depends on the temperature range of your storage facility - shoebox, closet, what have you. Once you take it out to drink it will warm steadily unless you occasionally put it back into the fridge. Who wants to go through that hassle?

It is kind of funny to see what lengths people will go to get the "perfect" glass of wine.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Riches of Gold Country

It was my great fortune to return to Sacramento last weekend and visit with old friends. Although it wasn't planned at the time it turned into a fabulous wine weekend, with visits to both El Dorado and Amador Counties.

After procuring a suitable touring vehicle on Friday at the 16th street Hertz (Avis was a bust) we proceeded out "the 50" into El Dorado County. The weather was beautiful, sunny and fairly cool, and the vision of the Sierra Nevada rising above the unfolding highway memorable. Our first stop was at Jodar Winer in the village of Camino. The approach to Jodar was a good harbinger of the El Dorado winery experience; a narrow road curves up into stands of pine and dogwood. The sign for the local nursery, advertising spring flowers, towers over the small placard for Jodar's tasting room. The tasting room for Jodar is a bit unusual because it's not co-located with the vineyard itself. Apparently where the grapes like to grow is not always the easiest place to get to.

The wines at Jodar are nice and the environment is quite friendly in a lesbian-hippy sort of way (I mean no offense to lesbian hippies here! Some of my best friends are lesbian hippies!) The Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon distinguish themselves by a distinct smoothness and roundness. What sticks in memory most vividly from Jodar is not the wine; the accompanying banana-flavored chocolates served with the port and the view extending over a local reservoir combine to make Jodar a most pleasant experience.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gadgets for Wine Geeks

While I can't say I'd ever use the items here, they make for entertaining reading. The intelliscaner is something that I've been wanting for a comic and book collection. If only it weren't $300!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


I first started experimenting with Gigondas wines about 10 years ago, when my income was much less (a recent cleaning of my files revealed that in 1997, my take-home was 20% of what it is now. Yes, that's a 5x increase in the last 10 years...). My most poignant memory of the grape comes from a business trip to Chicago. I had yet to spend my per-diem for the day; I spent 1/2 on a good bottle of Gigondas (about $40, but I don't recall exactly) and the rest on excellent pasta and an appetizer.

Gigondas is a French blend created in the Rhone Valley. The Rhone is famous for Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone. It contains Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. It's commonly considered a "cheap" alternative to Chateauneuf, and I subscribe in this case to the common opinion. Gigondas tends to have less "character" or "terroir" than the more spicy, peppery Chateauneuf. In some ways this is an advantage since it will match fairly well with most foods, particularly Italian and French. In other ways it's a disadvantage; you are far less likely to remember a Gigondas than you are to recall a good Chateauneuf.

I recently tried the 2003 Chapelle-St-Arnoux Gigondas (available at Whole Foods in Reston). It's an excellent and affordable intro to this particular blend. It recalls some of the best overtones of quality Syrah (fruitiness and body) tempered and extended by the inclusions of Grenache and Mourvèdre. I happen to be a big fan of Grenache - Tir na N'Og, an Australian Grenache, continues to be my favorite wine of the last couple of years. It's no suprise that I appreciate it's contribution to Gigondas. As a side note the Whole Foods in Reston off Wiehle Ave. has the best laid-out wine selection of any of the chain that I've visited. If you happen to be in Reston looking for a bottle of wine, I recommend heading over.

To sum up this is a varietal worth investigating. The next time you're looking for a French wine to accompany a fancy meal or creating your perfect Coq au Vin try a Gigondas and explore some of the lesser-known products of the Rhone valley.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Zealand Blanc

Just a brief note (before I do some more interesting posts) about some white wines that I've been trying, namely Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. These wines tend to have strong citrus and mineral flavors and are not recommended for drinking "solo", that is without food. I kind of like them even though I'm not a great fan of white wine. Each sip is a bit of an adventure.

The Nobilo Icon is a fairly pricey (>$15) representative. A powerful aroma of grapefruit and peach promises tongue-twanging sips, which are delivered with more grace than is typical of the group. Drink cold with desert!

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pinot, Seasons, Italy

I've tried a couple of Pinot Noir's since the last post that were memorable. I also had dinner for my first wedding anniversary at Seasons, the restaurant of the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, DC.

Seasons is a very good restaurant. I say that not only because of the food, but because of the service, decoration and setting as well. From our table that evening we could look out over the south end of the city (Georgetown). We had attentative service - the restaurant was deserted for some reason - and we had some truly excellent food. I was most impressed by the originality of the dishes. The beautiful wife had a crab salad that was bursting with citrus and other flavors. I enjoyed lamb prepared two ways, both new to me; no simple garlic and rosemary crust here. Overall an eye-opening (and, of course, wallet-opening) experience. I highly recommend it next time you get a bonus.

As for the Pinot's, I recently sampled the 2005 Edna Pinot Noir from San Luis Obispo county, CA. My wife enjoyed a bottle of this with friends a couple of weeks ago (a bottle I had purchased, not that it's relevant) and recommended it as very smooth, easy and pleasant. I concur with her opinion but would add a touch of up-front sweetness that focuses your attention to the other flavors. It's an easy-drining Pinot that will go well with summer foods of all sorts. At $20, I recommend it.

If you live in Arlington you probably know about the Italian Store at Spout Run. This is the place that makes superb New York-style pizza and awesome subs. They also have good cheeses and dry goods and a decent selection of Italian wine given the size of the store. I picked up lunch/dinner there today and also a bottle of 2003 A-Mano red Tuscan style wine. This got an 87 rating from Wine Spectator and was ranked as a "best buy". Alas it did not impress me. I found it a bit harsh, with flavors that individually might be fine but that in combination didn't mesh. It had some sweetness that was pleasant but wasn't backed with appropriate tannins or fruit flavor. Overall not quite a dissapointment (considering the $10 price) but not a wine I'd buy again.