Tastings & Classes
Stop by for our weekend free tastings and check back here often for our wine class schedule, wine dinners and festivals through out the year, including our One Sip at a Time series.
Call us at 703.356.6500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what's coming up or make your reservations.
- Feast with Michael Honig and Explore Burgundy for Beginners in March!
March will be a very, very, tasty and satisfying month. In addition to two classes in our One Sip At A Time series, we've got two exciting events on the class/dinner calendar. Join us for both!
An Italian Feast with Napa’s Michael Honig
Wednesday, March 19 – Reception @ 6:30 Dinner @ 7:15
Cost $100 per person (inclusive of tax and tip)
Long-time Chain Bridge Cellars customers know the Honig family’s wines well. Their Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is always crisp, clean, and refreshing. And the Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa’s Rutherford Bench is a classic – dark, rich, and powerful with just the right touch of old-school American oak. If you know the wines, we suspect you’ll jump at the chance to try them with the family’s current leader, Michael Honig. And, if you don’t, this is a great opportunity to try some of Napa Valley’s best (and also best value!) wines with a sumptuous feast from our good friends at McLean’s Assaggi Osteria.
Assaggi’s co-owners Giovanni Cesaratto and chef Domenico Cornacchia have created a menu that will satisfy on its own and sing with Michael Honig’s sustainably farmed, very food-friendly wines. Here’s the line-up:
Baby artichoke mousse with shrimp
Provolone, cacciatorino & golden raisin skewers
Sheep’s milk ricotta, honey, mint bruschetta
2012 Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
Capesante saltate con gallinelle e nocioline tostate
Seared scallops, roasted chanterelle mushrooms and toasted hazelnuts
2012 Honig Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc
Pappardelle con ragu di cinghiale
Pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragu
2011 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Guancie di bisonte, polenta al gorgonzola e cavoletti croccanti
Braised Bison cheeks, gorgonzola polenta and crispy Brussels sprouts
2010 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci Vineyard
Fragole in liquore maraschino, gelato vanilla
Stewed Strawberry in Maraschino liqueur with vanilla ice cream
During the reception and meal, you’ll have a chance to meet Michael Honig and learn the story of this benchmark Napa Winery. Michael will share how his grandfather, Louis Honig, planted the family’s vineyards in 1964 and how the family moved to making its first wines in the mid-1980s. You’ll learn why Honig pioneered sustainable farming in their vineyards and how winemaker Kristin Belair coaxes layers of flavor and lush textures from the family vines year after year.
And, you’ll enjoy some great wines and a great meal, too! Assaggi Osteria is located at 6641 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22101, with plenty of free parking behind the restaurant. You’ll want to reserve your seats quickly by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us, or just stopping by the store. This is an exciting opportunity to get to know the family behind some of our most popular Napa Valley wines year after year. Join us!
Burgundy for Beginners – A Not Too Serious Tour
Thursday, March 27 @ 7pm
Course Fee $40
The timeless Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines of Burgundy are some of the most exciting in the world. But, we know it’s hard to get started with Burgundy. The labels seem complex, wine and vineyard names confusing, vintages highly variable, and flavors sometimes a little different from what you’d expect. And, the prices….!
We can help! Join us on Thursday, March 27, as we demystify the wine world’s most famous region. You’ll learn how to understand the story embedded in every Burgundy label, the difference between “Village”, “1er Cru”, and “Grand Cru” vineyards, and which Burgundy styles are best for you. And, you’ll get to sample at least 7 superb wines including Chassagne Montrechet, Puligny Montrechet, Meursault, Gevrey Chambertin, and more. You’ll even get to experience at least two Grand Cru’s – wines from the sites representing the historical apex for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
We’ll enjoy the wines with light snacks and lots of information about everything from vintages to aging and even how to read a Burgundy wine label. A fun and delicious evening of wine education. To reserve your seats, just call us at 703.356.6500, email email@example.com, or simply stop by the store.
- "One Sip at a Time" 2014 - A Wine Class Series for Beginners to Experts
One Sip at a Time classes focus on wine basics like how to taste, evaluate, and talk about wine, while helping you identify the wines and flavors you enjoy most. You can join us for the full series or just come by for a class or two.
Classes are the second Thursday of each month at 7:15pm (except August) and last about 90 minutes. Course fee for each class is $25.
New for 2014 - "Deep Dives" One Sip at a Time. We've added six classes on Sundays focusing on some of the world's greatest grapes! Also $25 each. See the line-up below.
2014 One Sip at a Time Thursday Class Schedule
Tasting and Talking About Whites: *Makeup Date* Thursday, Jan. 16, 7:15
Tasting and Talking AboutWhites: *Make up Date* Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7:15
Wine Doesn’t Get Wrinkles: What Happens When it Ages??
Second Thursday of March (March 13, 2014), 7:15
What happens when a wine ages – does it get better? Does it get different? Can I decant a young wine to make it taste mature? We have lots of information and opinions to share during this fun, free-wheeling session. Taste what happens when a wine is decanted, and compare a current release red and white with one that has five or more years in cellar. Is older better? Is young and fresh the way to go? You’ll definitely have your own opinions to share the next time someone says a bottle “isn’t ready”!
Good Wines Gone Bad
Second Thursday of April (April 10, 2014), 7:15
The wine you’ve just opened is not as exciting as you expected. Is it flawed? Or you’re at a fine restaurant and the waiter presents the wine. You get a pour and something doesn’t smell right … now what? Learn how to answer these questions in this class. Sample wines in perfect condition, and then taste some of the most common ways things go wrong. You’ll learn what a “corked” wine is and how to spot oxidation, heat damage and more. And we’ll give you some great strategies for dealing with the wine waiter anytime you have questions or concerns about a bottle
Old World vs New World Reds
Second Thursday of May (May 8, 2014) – 7:15
Taste a Cab/Merlot blend from Bordeaux and one from outside Europe. Try an oaked Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and one from Burgundy. Same grapes, different wines. What’s going on? Learn the answer as you sip pairs of wines from Europe and the USA. We’ll cover weather, winemaking, and soils, along with the differences between Old World and New World winemaking.
Old World vs New World Whites
Second Thursday of June (June 12, 2014) – 7:15
Discover the similarities and differences between white wines grown in classic European wine regions and their New World counterparts. As you sip, find the common thread in Chardonnay from Burgundy vs. California, and discover the stunning difference between classic Sancerre and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Then compare Mosel vs. Clare Valley Riesling ... a fun and delicious contrast!
Fun with Fizz
Second Thursday of July (July 10, 2014) – 7:15
In this fun and fizzy session, we’ll explore the world of beautiful bubbles, ranging from the classic vineyards of Champagne to the high desert of New Mexico. And, as if straight sparkling wine wasn’t delicious enough, we’ll even share a few of our favorite sparkling cocktail ideas. You’ll learn where the bubbles come from, what to eat with fizz, and figure out your favorite styles – One Sip at a Time!
Six (Other) Reds You Should Know
Second Thursday of September (Sept. 11, 2014) – 7:15
Cabernet and Pinot Noir…not going to be in your glass! Instead, we’re going to explore a world of flavor and fun with some of the world’s other great red grapes. These are some of our favorite food-friendly and sipping-friendly reds, some from “important” grapes you may have tried before and others from a bit off the beaten path. A world of interesting, delicious, and often super value reds awaits your discovery.
Hey, Wait A Minute: That’s Sweet!
Second Thursday of October (Oct. 9, 2014) – 7:15
We know, we know. “I don’t like sweet wines” is something we hear every day. But, have you ever tried a sweet-and-tangy Loire Chenin Blanc with a little mousse paté? Or, a golden Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend with bleu cheese? Or, perhaps most wonderful of all, a nutty, caramel-infused barrel-aged sweetie with toasted nuts? Come give these beauties a try, and you may just find yourself sweetly convinced!
Six (Other) Whites You Should Know
Second Thursday of November (Nov. 13, 2014) – 7:15
No Chardonnay. Not a taste of Sauvignon Blanc. Nope, we’re going to delve into some of the world’s most interesting whites, many of which come from grapes you’ve never heard of! Sure, we’ll play with Pinot Gris and rock out with Riesling, but we’ll also get to know some unique grapes you’ve seen on wine lists before, but not been sure what to expect. Now you'll not only know how they taste, you'll also know how to pronounce them!
Cheap vs. Expensive: Which Do You Really Prefer?
Second Thursday of December (Dec. 11, 2014) – 7:15
The Grand Finale: A blind tasting! Sample four pairs of wines “blind.” One will be a $12-$15 value; the other a $25-$40 star. Can you tell them apart? And which do you prefer? In this festive session, you’ll learn why wines cost what they do and tricks for getting the most wine for your hard-earned dollar. And you’ll find out how much a price tag may influence your preferences – One Sip at a Time.
Note: Registration for this December class opens to the general public on Dec. 1. Registration before Dec. 1 restricted to One Sip at a Time Passport holders and attendees of at least four other 2014 One Sip at a Time sessions.
NEW THIS YEAR - Sunday Classes - A Deep Dive Into Great Grapes
Each of these new classes focuses on one grape: how and where it’s grown, how it’s made into wine, and the major styles of wine it yields. You’ll sample at least six wines, including one over $40 wine. Choose from six bi-monthly classes on the second Sunday of the month. Each class only $25.
Great Grenache - Sunday, Jan. 12, 5:00 pm
Cabernet Sauvignon – Sunday, March 9, 5:00 pm
An essential grape in most ‘steak house’ wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, with its complex aromas and dark berry flavors, is one of the most popular red grapes in the world. The most famous examples of Cabernet come from Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley, and while you’ll certainly taste those, you’ll also taste some Cabernet from areas that you might not think of right away when you think of Cabernet. Join us for a fun, casual exploration of this bold, structured varietal.
Chardonnay – Sunday, May 11, 5:00 pm
Often referred to as the winemaker’s grape, Chardonnay is a chameleon. From steely, citrusy Chablis to full-throttle, lavishly oaked California examples, Chardonnay can taste radically different depending on where it was grown and how it was made. You might even taste one from a place you’d never expect to find Chardonnay, just to keep things interesting! In this casual, Sunday-evening class, you’ll explore the many faces of Chardonnay.
Sauvignon Blanc – Sunday, July 13, 5:00 pm
Aromatic, sometimes even pungent, Sauvignon Blanc is like that friend we all have who makes his or her presence known the second they enter a room! Despite its distinctive varietal character, there are many different ways to express this popular, citrusy varietal. From minerally Loire-Valley examples, to New Zealand “grapefruit bombs” to richer, oaked examples, learn all about this mouthwatering grape in this fun, casual One Sip at a Time class.
Pinot Noir - Sunday, Sept. 14, 5:00 pm
Delicate, ephemeral, and difficult and expensive to grow, Pinot Noir is the diva of the grape world. Maybe that’s why we love it so much? In this Deep-Dive One Sip At A Time class you’ll get to explore this complex, aromatic grape. You’ll taste everything from earthy red Burgundy to plush California Pinot, and maybe even find that elusive, delicious, great Pinot Noir for less than $20.
Riesling – Sunday, Nov. 9, 5:00 pm
One of the world’s most misunderstood grapes, Riesling is beloved by sommeliers, but causes an involuntary nose-wrinkling in most consumers. Wind down the weekend with a look at this surprisingly versatile grape. From bone-dry Australian Rieslings with racy acidity to unctuous German examples that are about as far away from Blue Nun as you could imagine, you’ll taste all that Riesling has to offer.
As with all our One Sip at a Time classes, you can reserve your seats by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just stopping by the store.
- Featured Wines Friday, A Visit With Winemaker Shane Finley Saturday, March 8!
You’ll want to join us both Friday and Saturday this week for two exciting FREE wine tastings. From 3-7pm on Friday, March 7, we’ll be pouring a blockbuster line-up of featured wines. You’ll find everything from 94 point Brunello to the “Caymus of Pinot Noir” Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas 2012 – a $45 “power Pinot” that’s on sale from $27.98 right now.
Then, on Saturday, we celebrate the return to the store of former Kosta Browne winemaker Shane Finley! While still at Kosta Browne, Shane started making small quantities of Syrah, Pinot, and a luscious Grenache Blanc under his own Shane Wine Cellar label. On Saturday, you’ll have a great opportunity to sample 5 of Shane’s current releases while getting to know one of California’s most exciting (and fun!) young winemakers.
As always, there’s no charge at all for our free Saturday tasting with Shane Finley, but wine quantities are limited and things usually get pretty busy around the tasting table from 2:30 on - come early and spend a little extra time getting to know Shane and his wines!
Big, Gutsy, Featured Reds For Late Winter (and Beyond!) – Friday, March 7 from 3-7pm
Someday, it will be warm enough outside that all you’ll want to drink are crisp whites and refreshing rosé. But, even then you’ll want some bold reds on hand to enjoy with cookout foods – and to keep you warm until the temps finally rise. So, this week, we’re showing off four bold reds on Friday, including all of our featured wines this week. Come by between 3-7 and try:
Villa Le Prata Rosso di Montalcino 2011 – While there’s plenty of richness in this “baby Brunello,” it’s strawberry fruit and floral accents will make it pretty fun to drink even when things get warm!
Villa Le Prata Brunello di Montalcino 2006 – Holy cow, what a great bottle of Brunello from the outstanding 2006 harvest. Coats your palate with bright cherry and strawberry fruit and goes on forever on the feathery finish. A huge “YUM” of a wine.
Ch de Casenove La Garrigue 2009 – A full-bodied, black-fruited, mouth-coating bottle of Rousillon red to lap up right now. As Robert Parker (92 points) said, it’s “a terrific example of how much wine one can buy for under $20 a bottle.” Just $14.98 case price.
Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas 2012 – Same deal as we had on Clark & Telephone last December, just a different vineyard. A slightly cooler microclimate gives the 2012 even more layers of flavor than the C&T but still plenty of power and heft. Was $45, now $29.98 for bottles and $27.98 by the six pack.
We’ll have some bold cheese and sausage out to enjoy with this powerhouse line up of rich red wine and plenty of fresh baked Lyon Bakery Bread to take home, too. Don’t miss it – and don’t forget to rest up for Saturday’s tasting, too!
Meet & Taste With Former Kosta Browne Winemaker Shane Finley – Saturday, March 8 from noon-4pm
For each of the past two years, a small group of you have been able to enjoy an evening getting to know former Kosta Browne winemaker Shane Finley and his Shane Wine Cellar wines. We thought it would be fun to open up Shane’s 2014 visit to a broader group, and he’s agreed to take charge of the tasting table this Saturday from noon – 4pm. This is everyone’s chance to get to enjoy both Shane’s funny, smart, and laid-back personality and his crushingly good wines!
Some background. Shane Finley is a man on a mission – specifically, to make terrific, small-lot, California wines from Burgundian and Rhone grapes that fully express vintage and vineyard. It’s a surprisingly unstructured approach for a graduate of VMI in Lexington, VA, but one that makes sense for a man who developed his winemaking philosophy while working for Pierre Gaillard in the Rhone Valley.
On his return to California, Shane made wine at Copain, worked with DuMol and Carlisle, and served as Assistant Winemaker for Paul Hobbs. From 2006 through 2012, he made wine at Kosta Browne (winner of Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year award in 2011) while running his own small operation on the side.
He’s left Kosta Browne to head up the winemaking team at Lynmar in the Russian River Valley, but continues to turn out a compelling array of wines through the Shane Wine Cellars project. You’ll have a chance to hear how Shane chooses his vineyards, makes the wines, and sees them evolving as he pours:
Shane Grenache Blanc Camp 4 Vineyard Santa Ynez 2013
Shane Rose Ma Fille Sonoma Coast 2013
Shane Pinot Noir “La Reine” Sonoma Coast 2012
Shane Syrah Valenti Vineyard Anderson Valley 2011 (IWC 92)
Shane Syrah “Unknown” Sonoma County 2011 (IWC 91)
These are all new releases for us, and we’re especially excited to try the Camp 4 Grenache Blanc (a steady 90 pointer lately) and the two new Syrahs (our first crack at Unknown since the 2009 vintage!).
The tasting is, as always, completely free and all 5 wines will be available at very special tasting bottle and mixed case sale prices. But, Shane doesn’t make a lot of any of these wines and things tend to get crowded after 2:30 – come early for best selection and to enjoy the best visit with Shane!