Summer Wine Down

‘Tis the season for barbecues, beaches, boating, parks and festivals in Washington. What better way to celebrate the hot days ...

Kevin Plank Launches Rye in Time for Preakness

With Sagamore Spirit, made with limestone-filtered springwater from his horse-breeding farm, the Under Armour founder is bringing back a Maryland tradition.

The Lesson of Terroir

Theodor Putala Theodore Putala | Jan 28, 2015

The story of how I, a wine amateur, ended up preaching the gospel at the Wine Bar on the second ...

Chilling Out for the Rest of the Summer

One of the most unpleasant aspects of summer in D.C. is the heat and humidity, which makes getting around ...

Wines for Your Own Bastille Day Fête

Those of us looking for yet another excuse to celebrate independence will round out our July holiday revelry by observing ...

A Quintessential Experience

Well, if you were despairing that you won’t get a chance to experience the swanky new Georgetown Capella hotel ...

Alsatian Spring: Six Delicious White Wines for the Season

The seconds are literally counting down to spring as I write this. . .tick, tick, tick. Washington is sitting on the ...

Courage and Grace in a Glass: House of Mandela Wine Collection

The name Mandela immediately recalls the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. The face of the fight against apartheid ...


I arrived shortly after its opening one recent Saturday eve. I was greeted warmly by the staff and encouraged to ...

Vino Volo Lands at Tysons

From the moment you walk up to Vino Volo at Tysons Galleria, you immediately feel transported from Metropolitan D.C ...

Celebrity Vintages

There is a story that Dom Perignon, a blind monk and master winemaker for the monestary in Champagne opened a ...

Wines and BBQ

Washington, D.C., is a backyard BBQ-grilling-cookout town. If there’s any little sliver of grass available in the city ...

A Summer-Opening Virginia Wine Country Guide

In need of some hot fun in the summertime? Here are some fun and different wine events coming up to ...

Luxury in a Glass

The email’s subject read, “Invitation to a Champagne Conversation with Krug and Louis Vuitton.” I blinked at my computer ...

Cocktail of the Month

While eggnog is traditionally served around the December holidays, it makes a delightful winter tipple during the frosty month of ...

Fire and Spice-Cognac: a Distilled Wine

Cognac is graded by age and quality. Some believe the older the cognac, the finer. Like champagne houses, each cognac maker’s goal is to consistently achieve its trademark house style year after year. This is achieved by blending lots of brandy from different harvests and aging them. The process is very labor intensive, and thus reflected in the high price of fine cognacs. Consequently, they are typically sipped and enjoyed alone.

The basic grades of cognac are as follows, in order of increasing quality:•VS-Very Superior-determined by the youngest eau de vie (the base resulting from the best cut of the liquid produced after the second distillation)

•VSOP-Very Superior, old pale, VO (very old) and Reserve

•XO-(Extra Old), Napoleon, Extra, Vieux

Want to enjoy cognac like a professional taster? Leave the brandy snifter on the shelf and invest in thin-lipped crystal tulip shaped glasses. Big balloon glasses and snifters release the co- gnac’s fragrances too harshly into your nose.

Cognac tasting is very different from wine tasting. Cognac should be served at room tem- perature or slightly chilled and allowed to warm in the glass. Prepare the glasses for tasting by placing a small drop in the glass and then dis- carding. Then pour about an inch of cognac the glass for tasting. Check to see if the cognac is clear or cloudy. Very old cognacs may become cloudy if exposed to the cold. Next note the color. Cognacs can range in color from light amber to darker caramel color.

Hold the glass just under your nose with the opening just at chin level. Don’t stick your nose into the glass to sniff. If you do, you might find yourself staggering back overwhelmed with the 40% alcohol head rush! This shock also paralyz- es our sense of smell. If you can’t smell it, you won’t be able to taste the flavors either. So, relax before you inhale and slowly bring the glass up to your nose. Then take small sips. Note the fla- vors. Are there spices like cinnamon or vanilla you detect? Do you taste herbs, coffee or leath- er? Noting these will help you identify a style of cognac you like, as you taste different producers.

"Fine Champagne" is a designation given to cognac made of grapes solely from Grande and Petite Champagne districts in Cognac.

I recently had the opportunity to taste some of the cognacs from the producer Delamain. Delamain only use grapes from the Grande Champagne district in Cognac. Moreover, they only produce XO quality and above cognac.

Delamain XO The entry-level cognac for Delamain is Pale and Dry XO. This cognac is aged 20-25 years. It is much paler then traditional cognac and the sweetness of the cognac only comes from the natural sugar of the grapes. You will notice its light amber color with flecks of gold. You will also taste the natural sweetness of the grapes. Look for floral and cinnamon aromas. Upon sip- ping you’ll taste vanilla and possibly liquorice.

Delamain Vesper Made with blends of 30-35 years, this cognac expresses a more classic cognac style. Cinna- mon, clove, toffee and vanilla flavors can be de- tected along with oak aromas. This is an elegant and full-bodied cognac.

So grab the throw, light the fire and enjoy the world of fine cognacs. Cheers!

Cocktail of the Week: Yes,We Canton!

This year’s inaugural season will be one of the quietest in years. The Obama-Biden inaugural committee has announced that ...

Tastes Great, More Filling: Guide to Washington Area Wine Dinners

Type “Wine Dinners D.C.” into an Internet search engine like Google, and a surprising number of hits come up ...

Wines for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving can be D. R. A. M. A. Trying to choose “the perfect wine” to go with your Thanksgiving feast ...


When I was invited in mid-June to have lunch with the CEO of the renowned California winery, Silver Oak, I ...

Trending Now: Rosé!

When the weather gets warm my taste for red wine changes (although I am sipping a beautiful La Linda Malbec ...

10 Summer Fruits for Your Face

Besides backyard barbeques and weekends at the beach, summertime is a great season for fruits that not only make for ...

Chefs Go Fresh

After a four year hiatus, local chefs are coming together to resurrect the popular event “Chefs on Bikes.” The revitalized ...

Window Into Wine

Read into this crash course on Wine Labels with Caroline Jackson. By the end, you will be able to select through the isles of wine and find the one with its origin and blend that is perfectly suited for your taste pallet.

Washington Harbour Restaurants Reopen

The businesses and restaurants of Washington Harbour are slowly returning to normal after being engulfed in 10-12 feet of flooded waters over a month ago.

A Window Into Wine

If there is one tool most vital in propelling the East Coast wine industry towards a West Coast level of prestige, that instrument is education. And there are more opportunities for wine education in the East than ever before.

A Window Into Wine: We’re Just Getting Started

Winemaking is one of the fastest-growing agricultural industries in the Mid-Atlantic area. Due to the rapid mutual progression of viticultural ...

A Window Into Wine

Virginia’s wineries are continuing to find new ways to work together to evaluate and improve the quality of their products. Virginia is now organized into six official AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas), a notable move towards industry coordination and quality control...

A Window into Wine

People have a rampant misconception that East Coast wines are sweet, simple, and unrefined. They say that our land is not suited for the growth of proper wine grapes. The truth is, we just got a late start. It won’t be long before “Monticello Viognier” will be as common a phrase as “Napa Cabernet.”

George Washington: Statesman, General, Distiller

A limited number of bottles containing George Washington's original recipe whiskey was made available this month at Mount Vernon. Our own Jordan Wright managed to snag number 30.

Wine and the City

With all the hype surrounding the opening of Sex and the City 2 that has hit this city, Shari Sheffield got to thinking: what kind of wine best pairs up with New York's fab four?

Forces of Nature

Organic wine is a hot concept in this age of green, but a survey of some area wine stores and restaurants turned up a paltry few venues that carry more then one or two offerings. Then I hit pay dirt.

Rumor Has It: Free Wine

So rumor has it there is a group of local wine lovers who taste wine every Saturday — for free. Want to get in on the action?

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:08:53 -0400

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