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 wineteam@chainbridgecellars.com to find out what's coming up or make your reservations.


Rare Relic Reds Friday, Austrian Beauties plus Vermouth and Aperitifs Saturday – Free Weekend Tastings

It’s time to pick your favorite wines for Thanksgiving dinner and the Holiday Season to come.  Our free Friday and Saturday tastings will offer plenty of great wine choices plus a chance to sample delicious vermouth (for cocktails or just sipping) along with three exotic aromatized wines to enjoy before and after dinner.  Great selections from the cheese case abound, and we’ll have some favorites out to sample while you taste the wines.

New Releases from Relic and a Turkey Day White – Friday, November 21 from 3-7pm

Our  Friday tasting focuses on the brilliant new arrivals from Mike Hirby and Relic Wines plus our featured Thanksgiving white.  Join us from 3-7pm on Friday to sample:

Steininger Grüner Veltliner Grand Grü 2012 – A Thanksgiving favorite here for years, the 2012 has even more lush pear and yellow apple fruit and a wonderful rich and creamy texture.

Relic Pinot Noir Kashaya 2012 – From a tiny vineyard just inland from the Pacific Ocean, this is easily the best Kashya we’ve tasted yet.  The fruit aromas and flavors are gorgeous – sweet cherry, wild strawberry, and a touch of sweet/sour blood orange – but the silky texture and fantastic focus might just be more impressive still.

Relic Pinot Noir Avion 2011 – A second Sonoma Coat Pinot that Steve Tanzer’s IWC described as “reamy, spicy fruit bomb on the palate, with lovely depth and energy to its sappy red berry and sour cherry flavors.”

Relic Ritual Rhone Blend 2012 –33% Mourvedre from Juliana’s Vineyard in Napa, 15% Carignane and 10% Petite Sirah from Al Frediani’s famous old-vine vineyard, 19% Syrah and 23% Grenache.  Old World earth, olive, and sappy herb aromas and flavors combine with very New World sweet black fruit and plush, velvety, texture to create a very, very, special wine for Thanksgiving and beyond.  

Relic Artefact Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – This simply blows away most $100+ Napa Cabernet Sauvignons from the tricky 2011 vintage.  Rich, lush, and powerful, 2011 Artefact is bursting with currant, cherry, and blackberry fruit framed by notes of sweet spice, fresh herb, and mocha.  A stunner.

We’ll have selections from the cheese case out to sample along with plenty of fresh baked bread from  Lyon Bakery to take home, too.  Join us!

A Thanksgiving Extravaganza With Austria’s Klaus Wittauer and Exotic Vermouth and Apertifs – Saturday, November 22 from noon-4pm

Sure, you’ll want to join us Saturday to explore great Thanksgiving dinner wines from Austria and taste with the always charming and enthusiastic Klaus Wittauer.  But just as Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, so Holiday Season sipping is about much, much, more than wine.  So, don’t miss this fun chance to explore some more exotic treats with good friend Philip Ehrlich from Williams Corner Wine.  Here’s the delicious line-up:

Thanksgiving Selections from Austria with Klaus Wittauer
Austrian native, sommelier, and now wine importer Klaus Wittauer has done about as much as anyone to introduce Washington, DC-area wine lovers to the delights of Austrian wine.  And, while we love Austrian whites and reds all year long, you’ll discover that they’re especially tasting and useful around this time of year.  Come meet Klaus and sample:

Steininger Gruner Veltliner Sekt 2012
– Sparkling wine are the Steininger family’s first love, and this rich, creamy, and very festive bottle of Gruner fizz shows why they are considered one of the very best sparkling winemakers in Austria!

Anton Bauer Riesling Berg 2013 – A fantastic dry Riesling that’s bursting with peach, apricot, and lime fruit supported by mouthwatering acidity and a lovely touch of spice.  Complex, food friendly and very easy to sip.

Steininger Grüner Veltliner Grand Grü 2012 – A Thanksgiving favorite here for years, the 2012 has even more lush pear and yellow apple fruit and a wonderful rich and creamy texture.

Hillinger Pinot Noir Eveline 2012 - This poised and pretty Pinot Noir is a wonderful value and a great companion on the Thanksgiving table.  Ripe red fruit, lots of spice, and subtle earthy note make this a perfect match for your Holiday feast.

Anton Bauer Zweigelt 2011 – Zweigelt is always fun to drink, but it will really shine this Turkey Day.  Purple berry and cherry fruit with a nice earthy, spicy, complexity, it drinks like a cross between Gamay and Cotes du Rhone with a touch of Zin thrown in there somewhere, too.  Yummy!

Vermouth and More with :  Philip Ehrlich, Williams Corner Wines

We had so much fun when Philip showcased Dolin vermouth for us last year around this time, we’ve brought him back for an extended encore performance.  The vermouth is as outstanding as ever, but this year, Philip will be pouring some exotic aromatized wines you’ll love for pre- and post-Thanksgiving dinner sipping.  Come taste:

Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Dry – From France’s leading Vermouth producer, this is a pure, focused, Vermouth with notes of herb and wormwood and just enough sugar to keep it round and delicious.

Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Rouge – Adds in notes of ripe cherry and red berry fruit with just the right note of spice and a pleasing, refreshing, bitter note at the end.

Cappelletti Aperitivo – A rosy red sipper that’s somewhere between Campari and sweet vermouth in flavor and is a great addition to Prosecco. It’s been made by the same family for generations and is one of the oldest of Italian Apeitivos!

Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo Americano - Made from two aromatic red grape varietals - Brachetto and Malvasia - plus a touch of quinine, this is lushly textured, loaded with Sangria-like fruit, and finishes with rich spice and just a touch of bitterness.

Cardamaro Vino Amaro -  Developed over 100 years ago by the Bosca family, this is created by infusing Cardoon, Blessed Thistle and other botanicals into wine before six months aging in barrel.  It’s a rich, smooth liqueur with wintry notes of fresh pine, roasted nuts and dried fruit, and a touch of subtle smokiness.

Philip will showcase all of these wines “straight up” but be happy to talk cocktails and blending with you as well.  It’s a fun and different tasting line-up you won’t want to miss.


"One Sip at a Time" Wine Classes - The Grand Finale!

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.

Sign up for any of the core classes, which take place the second Thursday of each month at 7:15pm (except August) and last about 90 minutes. In addition, you can sign up for "Deep Dives" into some of the world's greatest grapes on six Sundays throughout the  year. Course fee for each class is $25.

Reserve your seats by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us at wineteam@chainbridgecellars.com, or just stopping by the store. For more wine class options, check out our winemaker/importer classes.

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 Passport holders and attendees of at least four other 2014 One Sip at a Time sessions.)

Reserve your seats by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us at wineteam@chainbridgecellars.com, or just stopping by the store.

Coming in 2015 ...

Tasting and Talking about Whites
Second Thursday of January (Jan. 8, 2015), 7:15 pm

At one level, what could be easier than tasting wine: Tip your glass and swallow! At another level, it seems more intimidating: Why is everyone swirling their glasses? Why are they saying they taste star fruit, melon and spice? Taste through six different wines and learn the tricks for smelling, tasting, and feeling everything a wine has to offer. We’ll focus exclusively on white wines in this session, where you’ll sip your way to a better understanding of why wines taste the way they do, how to describe what you’re tasting and – most importantly of all – what kinds of wines you really love.

Tasting and Talking about Reds
Second Thursday of February (Feb. 12, 2015), 7:15

A natural continuation of our white wine class, but no previous class or experience necessary! We’ll do a quick recap on tasting skills then dive right in to helping you understand what’s happening in your mouth when you take a taste of Cabernet, Merlot and more.When we’re done, you’ll understand how acidity, fruit, alcohol and tannin work together to create balance and grace and the differences between light, medium, and full-bodied reds. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and other great red grapes take center stage in this fast- paced, delicious time of tasting, sharing and learning about wine.

Wine Doesn’t Get Wrinkles: What Happens When it Ages??
Second Thursday of March (March 12, 2015), 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 9, 2015), 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 14, 2015) – 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 11, 2015) – 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 9, 2015) – 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!

Port and Champagne - The Last of 2014 Wine Classes

We wind up our fall 2014 wine class season with two classes that have been so popular, we've decided to offer them twice! Both are perfect classes for the holiday season - whether you're planning to celebrate with Champagne or sip Port or Madeira by the fire or with a fine meal! Full details below.

Also, don’t miss any of our One Sip at a Time Classes. To register for any Chain Bridge Cellars class, call us at 703.356.6500, email us, or stop by the store. 

Fantastic Fortified Flavors of Port and Madeira
Course Fee $40
Sunday, Nov. 23, 5pm

As Fall turns to Winter and Thanksgiving and the December Holidays come close, it’s a fine time to explore the warming wonders of the world’s best fortified wines.  They can be dry and savory (like Rainwater or Sercial Madeira) or sweet and unctuous (like Bual Madeira or Port).  Some are complements to a fine meal, while others are the crowning touch after dessert.  But all are fascinating, fun to explore, and very, very, delicious.

Join us on Sunday, November 23, as we explore the world of sweet and savory fortified wines from Port and Medeira.  We’ll taste four Ports, ranging from a wood-aged white Port to a rare single-vintage Tawny and two wines from the great 2011 Vintage Port release:

Rozes Porto White Reserve NV
Quinta Dona Matilde Vintage Port 2011
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2011
Quinta Dona Matilde Colhieta Port 2004

For the Madeiras, we’ll travel back in time to the 18th Century, when Madeira was the most popular drink of our Founding Fathers.  The Rare Wine Company and Madeira producer Barbeito have created a line-up of wines that showcase styles most popular in various cities of Colonial America – we’ll try four of them:

Barbeito New York Malmsey Reserve
Barbeito Boston Bual Reserve
Barbeito Baltimore Rainwater Reserve
Barbeito Charleston Sercial Reserve

We’ll serve you some wonderful pairing bites like walnuts, dried fruit, salty bleu cheeses, and even a little dark chocolate so you can enjoy how well the wines play with food.  You’ll learn how they were created, are made, and the best way and time to enjoy each wine.  Most of all, though, you’ll enjoy eight delicious fortified wines and a rousing good time!

To reserve your seats, just call us at 703.356.6500, email us at wineteam@chainbridge cellars, or just stop by the store.  You’ll leave the class perfectly warmed up for the holidays to come.

Annual Champagne Celebration and Class
Course Fee $60
TWO DATES:  Thursday, Dec. 4, 7pm and Sunday, Dec. 28, 5 pm

So popular, we have to do it twice! And, this year’s holiday-season Champagne class will reach new heights of delectable fun.  We’ll pour eight Champagnes, each paired with a small bite or two from our own Cheese/Food selections and plus some fun special nibbles as well.  You’ll explore a range of styles from lean and crisp Blanc de Blancs to darker fruited Blanc de Noirs, and even try a compelling and pretty pink wine, too.  Here's the line-up:

L. Aubry Champagne Brut NV (IWC 91/WA 92)
Andre Jacquart Champagne Brut Experience Blanc de Blancs NV (WS 91)
Coessens Champagne Blanc De Noirs Largillier NV (WA 91)
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV (IWC 92)           
Eric Rodez Ambonnay Cuvee de Grands Vintages NV (IWC 93)
Cedric Mousse Champagne Brut Millesime 2009       
Billecart Salmon Brut Cuvee Nicolas Francois 1999 (WS 93)
Krug Grande Cuvee NV (WS 97)

This session starts out as a class and then usually devolves into a party as the evening wears on.  Whether you’d prefer to join us on December 4 to kick-off the Holiday Season or share bubbles with us on December 28 to prepare for New Year’s Eve, you’ll find plenty to delight.  Reserve your seats now – for yourself, for a group, or as a gift! – by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us, or just stopping by the store.