September 21 – Decant deCANT DECANT

We had fun playing with our new decanter


We just made the switch from Netflix to Amazon PRIME  -you should too- and part of this sweet new deal is free shipping! Since we had free shipping… our wine decanter was delivered yesterday and today we gave it a whirl. The wine opened up so nicely, and pouring the wine into the decanter was such a cool visual- we are easily entertained. After the VA vineyards visit and our new gadget I am inspired to learn more about wine! I subscribe to The Savory Grape’s emails even though I don’t live in Rhode Island (so wish they would open in DC!) and the other day they sent out information on tannins. I loved their explanation, and since I found it to be so helpful, I thought I’d share.  You can also read the full post here:

“‘Tannin’ is a word to which we refer, but realize it isn’t often understood. Tannins are naturally found in grape skins, stems and seeds. In wine, tannins are what often give you that drying and bitter zing effect in the back of the throat. (Like what you get when drinking black coffee or stewed tea.) Because red wine is a result of skins soaking with the juice, it typically has more tannins than white. Tannins are also in oak barrels and imparted when wine sits in them. So why are tannins talked about so much?

Without being too technical, tannins are thought to be more noticeable in young wine and change during the aging process, thus becoming smoother. (The reason older wine is often described as less biting and soft.) Tannins add to a wine’s structure. Tannins are also known to link with other entities – protein and fats – and when brought together give a seamless, synergistic taste.”

There you have it, some Wine 101 from The V Life!


PS We had dinner at Neyla… don’t go.

September 9 – 29 bottles of wine later

Veritas Vineyard – I don’t think you can find a more beautiful place.

I could get used to this.  Mountain air. Nature. WINE. After some blueberry pancakes for breakfast we took to the roads and toured Skyline Drive.  I have been here before, with Mom, les trois soeurs, and Grandma and Papa back when we lived in Virginia. I remember seeing a deer and getting very excited and thinking we were very high up. Well, this trip was very much the same, with some good memories of my last visit.  =) We saw a deer, and I uneasily looked over the guard rails, thinking hmm we’re pretty high! After driving through Muir Forest in San Francisco though, this was nothing. It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning to be in the mountains.

When we were back in the valley we decided to try another vineyard – Veritas was recommended by other people staying at our B&B so we drove over and boy are we so glad we stopped.  This place is stunning. I’d really like to come see it in the fall with all the foliage – might have to arrange a trip back in a  few weeks…

Plus – they’re all about the “V” in their decorations – I have  shot of a V made from corks, hanging from the ceiling. It’s a keeper.

Who’s in for coming back to this beautiful place with me?


PS: The title is true… we came back to DC with 29 bottles (some are Christmas presents) but still… we are ridiculous. =)

September 8 – Merry Christmas Madison!

Barboursville Vineyard

Our first stop of the day was Barboursville Vineyard. They have a great tasting tour, where we sampled about 15 wines! I was definitely not expecting them to let us sample all their wines, but I was very impressed with their variety.

I wasn’t a big fan of their whites but their reds were great.  Throughout the tasting you get to talk to different wine reps, and we were able to pick their brains.  Madison learned that you can describe a wine as “chewey,” and I bonded with someone who works their over the sparkling wine.  When I sipped it, my reaction was “France.” This woman (I don’t remember her name) exclaimed “yes!” She used to work for Mum vineyards which is where I toured with GWU – Barboursville sparkling wine tastes JUST like their champagne.  We obviously had to buy a couple bottles. =)

Madison also couldn’t resist buying a bottle of Octagon, their specialty wine that was served to to Queen when she visited the states. I’m not complaining!

Something we learned at all our vineyard tours – do. not. buy. red VA 2011 wine. It was a rainy season and all the grapes were bloated and the flavors, diluted. You can really taste the difference.

We ended our wine tours for the day at White Hall.  Our guide, Elliot, was really nice – he gave us a personal tour of the grounds and taught us a lot about making wine. When it was time to leave, there was a violent storm with torrential downpours that we had to run through with our just- bought- wine.  We were soaked! Summer storms are the best – this one rolled out as quick as it came and we were left with a stunning sunset.

Even though we had to wait most of the year to enjoy Madison’s Christmas present (this trip) it was worth the wait.  I can’t believe I haven’t come down here until now and I’ve been living in DC for 6 years!!


August 1 – HOW IS IT AUGUST?

Desserts at Taberna del Alabardero


After an incredibly busy day (is it ever not busy) I met Kim for drinks and apps at DC’s Food Blogger Happy Hour event – this time at Taberna del Alabardero.  I’ve walked past it a million times but had never been – it was very nice of them to host some DC foodies. =) Their sangria took me back to Barcelona! To end the night, Emily stopped by for a glass of wine and some Olympic viewing – can’t get enough of the games!

So is anyone else wondering how it is August already?  Wasn’t I just traipsing around Europe? Time goes by so quickly when you’re a) busy and b) having fun.  From reading the V Life, I’m sure you’ve noticed I follow the work hard play hard mentality, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! But really… Hawaii seems so long ago! When is the next LivingSocial incentives trip? =)