Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This column is written by Dominion owner Arash Tafakor.
A new market of red wine has emerged the past few years. Almost out of nowhere, California Red wine blends became one of the hottest wine categories. With brands like Apotic Red and Ménage A Trios’, wine consumers love the smooth easy drinking, slightly sweet taste of these red wines. Almost all big wineries have come out with a red blend the past few years as well. St. Francis, Bogle, Fetzer, Cupcake and Barefoot just to name a few.
But before these inexpensive red wine blends hit the market, red wine blends have been around for decades. France’s famed Bordeaux and Cote du Rhone regions are all blends. Wine makers in Bordeaux can use up to seven different grapes for the blend. Rhone wines can use numerous grapes in the blend with certain percentages of each grape.
High end California wine such as Opus One and Verite are top-notch red blends. Most recently a small group of California wine makers started the Meritage Association in 1988. The group’s goal was to make a Bordeaux style blend with guidelines and laws as in France. Meritage was the entire craze in the 90’s but soon took a big decline. The group charges a licensing fee to winemakers that want to use the Meritage label and have strict guidelines on other winemaking procedures.
These laws and guidelines created by the Meritage Association made it easy for wine makers to simply make their own red blend using whatever grape they desire. In the United States the governing body of wine making and guidelines is The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As you may assume, the ATF doesn’t have as strict wine making guidelines as, say, France.
These loose regulations in the United States winemaking industry give winemakers complete freedom to use any grape they can get their hands on. Though most inexpensive California blends are Zinfandel based, new red blends come out everyday with grapes you have never seen in a California wine. With good winemaking techniques, wine makers have catered perfectly to the American palate and made this category of wine here to stay.
Be sure to check out Part 2 next time. I will list some of my favorite non-French and non-Meritage blends from all over the world with price ranges that should fit any budget.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
The events, which are free to attend, feature live music and, for paying customers, sips of various wine varietals.
“Expert noses from [Washington Wine Academy] help guests select and enjoy the perfect wine for an after work beverage to kick-off the weekend right amidst the calming sounds of falling water mixed with live music,” according to the Crystal City website.
This year, the event is being combined with ArtJamz, which offers aspiring artists paint and canvas so they can create their own paintings in a social setting.
Wine in the Waterpark and ArtJamz will run from 6:00-10:00 p.m. tonight and will take place every Friday in June at the Crystal City water park (1750 Crystal Drive).
On Wednesdays in June, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., Crystal City will hold Blues, Brews and Barks, featuring beer and live music in a dog-friendly setting. The event will take place at the 2121 Crystal Drive courtyard.
Attendees are encouraged to pick up food from local eateries before going to the park. Beverages will be available in the beer garden. Attendees can get two drink tickets for $5 if bought in advance.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) The Curious Grape, the wine bar and shop in Shirlington, closed Saturday night, but a new restaurant will be taking its place shortly.
Coming in to the location on 2900 S. Quincy Street will be Osteria da Nino Cucina Italiana & Bar, an Italian restaurant that plans to start its soft opening on Thursday, its owners told ARLnow.com today.
The restaurant is being launched by a pair of couples and helmed by Italian chef Nino Pino, who has worked at a number of restaurants in Northern Virginia, including Palio Ristorante in Leesburg. Crews will be working around the clock until Thursday night, when Osteria da Nino hopes to get in a few practice runs before a planned Easter brunch on Sunday.
The turnaround might catch some by surprise — many restaurant openings take more than a year in Arlington. Even more so because The Curious Grape had been a Village at Shirlington staple for more than a decade.
“As most people know, running a restaurant is really a 24/7 commitment,” Curious Grape owner Suzanne McGrath said in an email. “Actively managing the restaurant has also diverted my efforts away from wine education, which is really my career focus. We have so appreciated all the support of our loyal customers and the wonderful people who enjoyed The Curious Grape.”
Osteria is looking for waitstaff, bussers and kitchen staff to join the team immediately, and is asking those interested to apply in person.
Ultra is already available in eight cities nationwide, including D.C., where it contracts with retailers to deliver beer, wine and liquor. While Virginia’s liquor laws restrict Ultra from selling spirits, Ultra CEO Aniket Shah says his company has reached an agreement with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to deliver beer and wine.
“We are looking at Arlington as our first city to expand in Virginia, based on demographics, income levels and awareness for new technologies,” Shah told ARLnow.com. “We are expecting the deliveries to start first-second week of March.”
Ultra users would go to the company’s website, enter their zip code, and a list of products they can order (beer, wine, soda and mixers), delivery minimum, hours and estimated delivery time. Customers can order on-demand, which takes no more than an hour, or for more than 30 days in advance, including requests like the wine be chilled. Customers’ IDs are checked when the driver makes the delivery.
“We received huge response from people in D.C. when we launched there and we wanted to expand to Virginia as soon as possible,” Shah said. “[Virginia ABC] were very open to understanding our process and providing guidelines within which we had to operate our service in Virginia. We finally received the approval and we are actively in contact with several retailers to accept deliveries in Arlington.”
Ultra, a New York City-based company, can only sell beer and wine from stores that have delivery permits in place to do so. Shah couldn’t disclose which retailers Ultra is negotiating with because of confidentiality agreements, he said.
Shah said Ultra is the first service of its kind in Virginia, but individual retailers are already able to delivery beer and wine as long as they have an ABC license. Some restaurants, like Lost Dog Cafe, deliver beer along with food.
Shah also said he plans on initiating negotiations with the ABC Board to deliver liquor straight from ABC stores, but it’s unclear how much traction those discussions will have.
Cops say 100 bottles of wine were reported missing at a divorcing couple’s house in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood on Monday. The wine, worth about $5,000, disappeared at some point between September and November, said the female half of a couple.
“The male half denied any knowledge or involvement in the missing wine,” police said. “There were no signs of forced entry.”
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BURGLARY, 141201025, 4600 block of 13th St N, On 12/1/14 at 1242 hours, the female half of a divorcing couple told police she believed her estranged husband entered the marital home when she was not present and stole approximately 100 bottles of wine, valued at approximately $5000.00, sometime between 9/23/14 and 11/28/14. The male half denied any knowledge or involvement in the missing wine. There were no signs of forced entry.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
Wardian Featured in Runners World — Prolific ultramarathon runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian was the subject of a full-page spread in the latest Runners World magazine. Wardian, 40, holds the record for fastest marathon dressed as a superhero, fastest marathon with a stroller and fastest marathon on a treadmill. He was photographed on the Potomac Heritage Trail, where he regularly goes on morning runs with his puppy, Rosie. [PDF]
Candidates Question School Costs — School Board candidates Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement both said that there are ways to contain costs at Arlington Public Schools. Clement said the school system should consider increasing class sizes, while Kanninen said she was concerned about the cost of technology initiatives. [InsideNova]
GW’s Barcroft Park Field to Be Named — George Washington University will name the field its baseball team plays at Barcroft Park after a major donor. The field recently underwent a $3 million renovation. It will be named after Avram “Ave” Tucker, a former GW baseball player and the owner of a financial firm, who is making a $2 million donation to the school. The newly-christened “Tucker Field” will be dedicated in a ceremony Saturday morning. [George Washington University]
Orthopaedic Center to Open in Clarendon — The Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center of Falls Church has announced that it has opened a second office, at 1307 N. Highland Street in Clarendon.
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Workers and residents in Rosslyn will be able to sip some suds at a pop-up beer garden in a new public plaza this month.
On Friday, Oct. 24, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Continental Pool Lounge will be hosting the beer garden in the new Plaza on 19th, a public space at the corner of 19th Street N. and Moore Street, behind the bus stop. The new plaza has tables, seating and a charging stations with plugs for iPhones, Androids and other devices.
The beer garden is Oktoberfest-themed, and the Continental will be pouring a selection of fall beers and serving up bratwursts. The event itself will be free to attend, but beer and brats will be available for purchase. There will also be live music to entertain those willing to brave the late-October chill.
Next weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 18, will be another booze-themed event: the Washington Wine Academy is partnering with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District to offer an event where guests can sample from 26 different wines and 26 different beers. The event, called “the A-Z of Wine and Beer,” will be offered in two time slots: 3:30-6:30 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m. There will be beer and wine offered for every letter of the alphabet, such as a lambic, a Unibroue and a doppelbock, or an Orvieto, a Viognier and a Hondurrabi.
The event will be held at 1500 Wilson Blvd. Participants can purchase $36.50 tickets online for either the beer samplings or the wine samplings. The price may increase as the event draws closer. Hors d’oeuvres from some local restaurants will be served. Washington Wine Academy expects more than 1,000 people to attend.
Disclosure: Rosslyn BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
USS Arlington Remembers 9/11 — The crew of the USS Arlington marked the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks while at sea in the Atlantic Ocean yesterday. The sailors and Marines aboard the ship, named in remembrance of the attack on the Pentagon, participated in a solemn ceremony to honor the 184 people who died in that attack. [DVIDS]
Travel Tips for Crystal City Wine Fest — Arlington County has car-free travel tips for those who will be attending Sunday’s Vintage Crystal Sip and Salsa festival in Crystal City. There are numerous rail lines, bus stops and Capital Bikeshare stations near the food and wine tasting event, which is taking place from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the parking lot behind 220 20th Street S. [Car-Free Diet]
Renovated Sheraton Now a Westin — The former Sheraton hotel at 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City has undergone a $20 million renovation and has now reopened as the Westin Crystal City. The hotel has “220 luxurious guest rooms and extensive meeting facilities.” [eTurbo News]
Arlington Taking Neighborhood College Apps — Arlington County is accepting applications for its Neighborhood College program through Sept. 29. The eight-week “civic engagement and leadership development program” teaches students “how to advocate for your neighborhood and effect change.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Peter Roof / Alt Gobo MediaWorks LLC
Sip and Salsa, as the event is called, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 14 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. The event will fill the parking lot and courtyard of 220 20th Street S. with booths pouring Spanish, Argentinian and Portuguese wines, plus unlimited food pairings.
The event, hosted jointly by the Washington Wine Academy and the Crystal City Business Improvement District, will have live jazz and salsa dancing. Wine experts will also be giving talks and educating attendees about the varieties of wine they will be tasting.
Tickets are $20 online or $25 at the door, and designated drivers can pay $10 to partake in all the food tastings.
Sip and Salsa is the marquee fall event in Crystal City’s “Vintage Crystal” series of wine-related events. Starting Friday, Aug. 29 and running every Friday through Sept. 26, Crystal City will also be hosting Wine in the Water Park. That event, which takes place from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the park near 1750 Crystal Drive, features live music and various types of wine and beer for purchase.
File photo. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
A new wine bar and tapas restaurant is coming to Rosslyn.
Sip Wine Tasting & Tapas Restaurant plans to open in a currently vacant retail location at 1501 Wilson Blvd just after Labor Day. This will be the small Atlanta-based chain’s first D.C. area location, though it recently opened a location in Baltimore.
“Sip Wine Tasting & Tapas Restaurant will offer an extensive array of by-the-glass wine options, with more than 80 different wines that may be ordered by the sip, the half-glass, full glass and bottle, with seventy-two wine available through self-serve wine machines operated through a card system,” according to a spokeswoman. “The restaurant will include chef-inspired tapas-style menu items offered for lunch and dinner and a special brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday.”
On its website, Sip says it offers bottles to patrons at retail prices — as opposed to restaurant prices — with an added $14 corkage fee. It also offers one ounce sips of dozens of wines.
The full press release, from landlord Monday Properties, after the jump. (more…)
Five Rideshare Drivers Nabbed in Arlington — Arlington police have issued citations to five drivers of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft since June 5, the department says. The drivers were all pulled over for separate traffic infractions and admitted to driving for the services, which are currently operating illicitly in Virginia. [Washington Post]
Teens Arrested for Skate Park Vandalism — Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with causing $35,000 in damage to the Powhatan Springs Skate Park earlier this month. The teens are accused of painting “graffiti containing vulgar language” at the park, which was closed until county crews could clean it up. [NBC Washington]
Arlingtonian Wins, Then Loses at Wimbledon — For the second year in a row, Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla advanced to the second round of Wimbledon. Kudla, 21, defeated Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan in the first round of the tournament before falling to No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in straight sets. [Wimbledon]
Wine Bar Coming to Rosslyn — Bistro 360, a wine bar and gourmet market from Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe owner Art Hauptman, is coming to the former Cafe Assorti space at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The wine bar will have as many as 140 seats indoors and outdoors. Bistro 360 hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The four retailers are those announced so far for the nine ground floor retail spaces available at the new 2001 Clarendon Blvd building, which is expected to wrap up construction soon. The seven-story, mixed-use building, which replaced the former Taco Bell and the beloved Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse, has 30,000 square feet of retail space and 154 “trophy” apartments.
The nail salon, Modern Nails, appears to be from the same owner as the Modern Nails salons at the Pentagon City mall and Ballston Common Mall.
The 7-Eleven store is located on the Clarendon Blvd side of the building, only a few blocks away from an existing 7-Eleven store at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Quinn Street.
On the Wilson Blvd side, the Hair Cuttery will be adjacent to a gourmet store called The Olive Oil Boom. Reached by phone today, owner Judith Westfall — who moved with her husband from Texas to Arlington (Va.) just over a year ago, following a career in the oil industry — says Olive Oil Boom will sell olive oils, balsamic vinegars, wine, beer, cheese and other gourmet products.
The 1,360 square foot store will have an “oil company theme,” she said. Customers will be able to enjoy their purchases outdoors in a courtyard space next to the store.
Westfall says she’s hoping to open at some point this fall.
Image via 2001clarendon.com
In previous years, the wine and beer walks were separate, but now participants can drink beer and walk with friends who choose wine, according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which is hosting the event.
Walkers will start in separate heats between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. The different wine and beer stands will close at 6:30 p.m. The entire race takes place indoors at the Shops at Crystal City, with the starting point at The Landing (1750 Crystal Drive).
Below is the list of beers and wines available, but the Wine Academy has promised some surprise selections.
Ponga Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Wildewood Pinot Gris – Willamette Valley, Oregon
Chateau Valmer Vouvray – Loire Valley, France
Chamisal Chardonnay (California)
Whitehall Viognier – White Hall, Virginia
Selbach Oster Kabinett Riesling – Mosel, Germany
Degiorgis Moscato D’Asti – Piedmont, Italy
Atmosphere Rosé – Provence, France
Bellene Bourgogne (Pinot Noir) – Burgandy, France
Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah Columbia Valley, Washington
Ventisquero Reserva Cermenere – Central Valley, Chile
Santa Julia Sustainable Malbec (Argentina)
Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc – Charlottesville, Virginia
Bodegas Paso O Paso Tempranillo – Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Mountain View Cabernet Sauvignon – Central Coast, California
Heinz Eiffel Dornfelder (Germany)
Dogfish Head Namaste
Great Divide Colette
Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’
Hardywood Cream Ale
21st Amendment Brew Free or Die
SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale
Stone Ruination IPA
Stoudt’s Double IPA
Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout
Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter
Scotch de Silly
Fort Collins Chocolate Stout
Crabbie’s Ginger Beer
Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear Cider
Photo courtesy Crystal City BID. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
This post is sponsored by Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop (2727 Wilson Blvd)
Roses are nice, but wouldn’t your sweetheart prefer something tastier than flowers for Valentine’s Day?
Your loved one will be the talk of the office when you surprise him or her with the gifts that keep on giving — wine and chocolate!
Clarendon wine and gift store Grateful Red has an easy-to-use website where you can build your own custom wine gift basket, or select from several pre-made gift baskets that are more affordable than a dozen roses.
We will happily deliver any basket purchased between now and midnight Thursday anywhere in Virginia within 25 miles of our shop on Valentine’s Day — home, office or otherwise.
We also have great beer baskets for the beer lover in your life. Choose from several beautiful pre-made baskets or build your own custom basket on our aforementioned website — just pick a gift basket or tin and fill it up with wine, beer, cheese, chocolate and other fun accessories.
Or, if you want to indulge your guy or gal with the ultimate “Beer Mine” present, why not purchase a beers of the month membership? Beers of the Month Club memberships are available in 3-month, 6-month or 1-year subscriptions. Applications for beer club can be found here.
ARLnow readers ordering online can save 10% on any gift basket from now until the end of February by using the code ARLnow10.
Victim, Witnesses Testify During Krusinski Trial — The 23-year-old woman accusing the Air Force’s former sexual assault prevention chief of groping her in May testified about the incident yesterday during the first day of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski’s assault and battery trial. The woman broke down in tears while describing how Krusinski allegedly grabbed her buttocks after he spent the night drinking in Crystal City. Witnesses reported the woman repeatedly punched Krusinski following the alleged groping. One of the witnesses who testified — a transgender woman who goes by Jordain — also reported being groped and propositioned by Krusinski that night. Jordain said Krusinski appeared to be a “happy drunk” and she brushed him off. The trial is expected to last three days. [Stars and Stripes, Military Times]
County Prepares for Winter — No snowflakes have fallen yet, but Arlington County has already launched preparations for the 2013-2014 winter season. The snow removal team includes 92 drivers and 46 trucks that are equipped with plows and salt spreaders. Residents will be able to track the progress of road clearing online, including the ability to check traffic cameras at certain intersections. Residents are asked to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm, per the county’s Snow Removal Ordinance. [Arlington County]
1K Wine and Beer Walk on Sunday — The Washington Wine Academy is hosting its semi-annual 1K Wine and Beer Walk in Crystal City on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 16-17). Start times will be staggered from 1:00-5:00 p.m. and participants get to sample 22 different types of wine or beer while strolling through the Shops at Crystal City. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online. [Washington Wine Academy]