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.
- Featured Wines and Screaming Values – Friday and Saturday FREE Tastings
Wow. This Friday, September 19 and Saturday, September 20, we’ve got some of the most exciting values on the Tasting Bar that we’ve showcased all year. From very classy white Burgundy to juicy Piemonte Dolcetto and Barbera d’Alba to note one but TWO blistering, party-friendly, values, there’s a little something for everyone in our free Friday (3-7pm) and Saturday (noon-4pm) tastings this week. Join us to try:
Riebeek Sauvignon Blanc Swartland 2014 - A Sauvignon Blanc for folks who enjoy this varietal’s snap and zing, but don’t want to get overwhelmed by grapefruit and grass. It's a winner, with big aromas and flavors of fresh peach, green melon, just cut apple, and juicy lemon/lime acidity. Juicy, fruit-filled, fun!
Dom Michel Sarrazin Rully Blanc Sans Nom 2012 – There’s exactly one thing wrong with this ripe, generous, and classy bottle of Burgundy Chardonnay: there’s not enough of it to last long. Do not miss it!
Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba 2012 – You probably don’t realize it, but you really should be drinking more Dolcetto! In Italy’s Piemonte region, this is the bottle you pop open after a hard day’s work to revive and refresh and enjoy with a classic family meal. Drink Massolino’s delicious example and you’ll feel much more relaxed, happy, and stylishly Italian than you do right now. Promise.
Massolino Barbera d’Alba 2012 – If Dolcetto is what you open on a Tuesday night, Barbera is Piemonte’s go to for dinner with guests, Sunday family meals, or when you need to show off for your mother-in-law. Massolino’s is almost painfully beautiful with ultra-pure (and oak free) dark fruit aromas and flavors and a lovely note off Spring flowers. It’s also one of the few wines that really sings with Italian red sauce, so you can drink it with spaghetti, too.
Vina La Playa Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – No doubt of this bottles rich, currant and spice, Cabernet cred, but it’s a lot more like a ripe and black fruited bottling from California or Argentina than it is the typical light and herbal Chilean offering. A fantastic value in Cab for burgers, steaks, and sipping.
We’ll have some great treats from the cheese case out to sample and plenty of fresh-baked Lyon Bakery bread out to enjoy as well. Join us!
- "One Sip at a Time" Wine Classes - Go Back to School for Fall!
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 email@example.com, or just stopping by the store. For more wine class options, check out our winemaker/importer classes.
Back to School Time! One Sip at a Time Class Schedule
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!
OSAAT Deep Dive: 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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
- September Canard Wine Dinner & Fall Classes Featuring Oregon Pinot, Guigal Rhones, Cru Beaujolais ...
The best part about “back to school” season? Going back to wine school! We’re working on an exciting line-up of fun and tasty wine classes for you to enjoy this fall, all offered right here in our downstairs tasting room.
See the full descriptions of each of these classes below:
- Explore Willamette Valley Pinot Noir on Sept. 25
- Get to know Rhone giant E. Guigal on Oct. 2
- See how delicious and versatile Cru Beaujolais can be on Oct. 30
Keep watching for new sessions including:
- Fantastic Fortified Flavors of Port, Sherry and Madeira (Thursday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 23)
- Annual Champagne Celebration and Class (Thursday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 28)
Canard Estate Wine Dinner at Assaggi Osteria
Thursday, September 25 | 6:30 Reception | 7:15 Dinner
Cost $150 per Person All Inclusive
We were excited to introduce you to the old-vine Zinfandel and classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon of Canard Estate last summer, and now we're even more delighted to invite you to meet Adam Canard! Join us as McLean's own Assaggi Osteria hosts a fantastic feast with Adam Canard and his family's wines, including the blockbuster Zinfandel they make from 100+ year-old vines just outside of Calistoga. See all the details (including the full menu and wine list) here.
Wandering Around Willamette – Pinot Noir Vintages & Place
Thursday, Sept. 25, 7pm
Course Fee $30
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is arguably the best place to grow Pinot Noir grape outside of Burgundy. But in both Burgundy and Oregon, how even the best wines taste, smell, and feel in your mouth can vary extensively from vintage to vintage. And as more and more American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) are created in Willamette, Oregon winemakers and drinkers are coming to share Burgundy’s obsession with soil, microclimate, and place. It can all get pretty confusing!
During this tour of Willamette Valley vintages, regions and wines, we’ll our best to sort things out for you as we taste seven outstanding wines. We’ll taste wines from some of Oregon’s top winemakers (Ken Wright, Patty Green, and more!) made from grapes grown everywhere from the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge down to Eola-Amity and the Coastal Range. Some will be from cool, crackling-bright years like 2011, others from warm, rich, years like 2009, and a few from the stunning 2012 harvest that’s setting new standards for Willamette Valley Pinot excellence.
As always, we’ll serve light snacks to go along with the seven wines and give you maps, AVA lists, and plenty of great information on the wines, vineyards and winemakers. After wandering around Willamette with us, you’ll be ready to pick your own perfect Pinot Noir! To reserve your seats, call us at 703.356.6500, email us at email@example.com, or simply stop by the store!
From Condrieu to Chateauneuf: Wines of E(xtraordinary) Guigal
Thursday, Oct. 2, 7pm
Course Fee $40
“Legendary.” “Masterful.” “Extraordinary.” These are the kinds of words you hear again and again from experts and critics about the winemaking and wines of E. Guigal. Founded by Etienne Guigal and managed today by son and grandson Marcel and Philippe Guigal, this is the estate that led the re-birth of the Northern Rhone after WWII and continues to make great wines from Cote Rotie down to Chateauneuf-du-Pape today.
Come experience some of France’s greatest wines as Christophe Courteaud from Guigal’s US importer leads us through the history, vineyards, and wines of this great estate. We’ll sample whites and reds and wines from both North and South, including:
Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2012
Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2011
Guigal Condrieu 2012 (WA 93)
Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2010
Guigal Saint Joseph 2011 (WA 89-91)
Guigal Cote Rotie Blonde et Brune 2010 (WA 93+)
Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2007 (WA 93)
We’ll have light snacks to enjoy with the great conversation and outstanding wines. Just 30 seats available. To reserve yours, call us at 703.356.6500, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply stop by the store!
A Tour of Beaujolais Crus – Going Well Beyond Nouveau!
Thursday, Oct. 30, 7pm
Course Fee $20
The third Thursday of November marks one of the most important marketing days of the wine year – “Beaujolais Nouveau C'est Arrive!” When Georges Duboeuf popularized the annual release of what had previously been a simple country wine and turned it into a global marketing event, he certainly didn’t realize that it would forever confuse wine lovers and tarnish the wine he loved. So as the calendar gets ready to turn from October to November, it seems like a great time to take a tour of the great vineyards of Beaujolais and get a better idea of what great wine Gamay Noir can make in these granite soils.
We love the wines of Jean-Marc Lafont and his wife Annick, so we’ll use them to help you understand the differences between light, fresh, Brouilly, floral Fleurie, supple St. Amour, and majestic, ageworthy, Moulin-a-Vent. We’ll taste 7 wines in total, including a fun, festive, sparkling, cremant, including:
Cremant de Bourgogne (sparkling)
Beaujolais Villages les Granits Blues 2013
Brouilly Briante 2012
Fleurie les Granits Roses
St. Amour 2012
Moulin A Vent les Burdelines 2012
After tasting all seven wines, taking a virtual tour of Beaujolais via map and photograph, and enjoying a few snacks, you’ll be ready to resist the Nouveau hype and choose your favorite style of “real” Beaujolais like a pro! To reserve your seats, call us at 703.356.6500, email us at email@example.com, or simply stop by the store!