Two weeks ago I was invited out to one of the best events I’ve attended in DC. In a collaboration between Urban Chic and Early Mountain Vineyards a bus full of bloggers were whisked away to enjoy an evening of shopping and wine tasting, Sip & Shop. How could I not like this event, seriously?
Early Mountain Vineyards is a newly opened Virginia winery located on the Monticello wine trail in Madison, VA. The owners Steve and Jean Case (you might recognize their names as former AOL executives) strive to bring the best of Virginia wine to one place. Their grand tasting room includes not just their wines but award winning wines from all of Virginia. It’s like one stop sipping. As soon as we hopped off the bus (stir crazy from sitting in traffic for 2 hours) were so impressed by the views – rolling hills, vineyards, and a little country barn – that we fanned out and immediately got to work taking pictures. We were so distracted with the scenery that we almost forgot about everything else! I know I could have sat on their back patio for hours just watching the day go by.
|Bloggers doin' what they do|
The highlight for me was the wine tasting (reasonably priced at $12). After a recent trip to Napa Valley, I was excited to try out some of the Virginia wines with California varietals fresh on my palate. I was the only dork who brought a tasting notebook, but hey, I take this drinking business seriously! I was pleasantly surprised that all of the wines I sampled were just as good, if not better, than the ones I randomly grab at the grocery store. Although I have visited several pretty good wineries in VA, I generally hear negative or dismissive opinions about the wines from this region. Not only were the wines we tasted delicious but many of them were priced at or under $20 a bottle. I particularly enjoyed the 2011 Early Mountain Vineyard Pino Gris, NV Thibaut Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay (a favorite sparkling wine at the White House!), and the 2010 King Family Vineyards Meritage. In addition, Early Mountain Vineyards has a café with locally sourced ingredients or you could bring a picnic and watch the sunset! Yes please!
That brings me to a recent frustration of mine, one which I’m glad to see the Cases are helping to change. Whenever I go to a restaurant or wine shop in D.C. they have either no Virginia wine or only very slim pickings. It’s disappointing because I feel like D.C. prides itself on locally sourced products and supporting local economy but then there are no Virginia wines on the menu. So this means without actually going from winery to winery (I have no car), it is very difficult to get to know the terroir of Virginia. I hope that by highlighting more than just one vineyard, one bottle at a time, this is a great step in making Virginia wine more accessible and familiar.
As we all piled back onto the bus, completely hyper with delight from our experience, we immediately started planning out next visit. The good news is that there will be more Sip & Shop events to come!