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.
- March/April Classes - Chablis, Rioja, Oregon & Chile with Three Winemaker Visits!
Following February’s big Billecart Salmon Champagne class and February’s One Sip at a Time session, we’ll be quiet for a few weeks before exploding back into wine class action for March. Three big classes on the agenda (plus two One Sip at a Time sessions – see here for the details on those). We’ve got visits from four world-class winemakers and an in-depth exploration of one of Rioja’s most important estates on tap for March. Call (703.356.6500), email (email@example.com) or stop by the store to reserve your seats today!
Xavier Choné Presents Wines of Chile from Calcu and Vina Maquis
Tuesday, March 10, 7pm
Course Fee $25
Xavier Chone made his reputation as a top global consulting winemaker in Bordeaux (Chateau Yquem, Leoville Las Cases) and Napa (Dominus, Opus One, Dalla Valle), but could just be doing some of the best work of his career right now in Chile. Since 2005, he's helped the value-oriented Calcu and super-premium Vina Maquis estates in the Colchagua Valley identify great sites, coax brilliant fruit from them, and create some of the most fascinating and delicious wines we've seen from Chile in years!
Xavier will join us to talk about his career and work in Chile while we pour an exciting set of seven wines. You’ll sample Sauvignon Blanc (probably Chile’s best white grape) and examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and more. Xavier will discuss the story of how Carmenere came to be Chile’s signature grape and why it’s so hard to grow and make. And, you’ll be blown away by an exotic Cabernet Franc that competes with the best examples in the world.
We’ll have light snacks to enjoy with the wines and plenty of opportunities for you to get to know and chat with one of the world’s top consulting winemakers – and learn all about the quality revolution underway in the exciting vineyards of Chile!
Guillaume Gicqueau-Michel Presents Chablis from Louis Michel
Thursday, March 19, 7pm
Course Fee $40
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet, taste, and learn from one of the very best winemakers in Chablis today, Guillaume Gicqueau-Michel. The more I drink them, them more impressed I’ve become with these no-oak Chardonnays from some of the best vineyards across Chablis. Since moving his young family back to Chablis from Paris and taking the reins from his uncle, Jean-Loup Michel, less than 10 years ago, Guillaume has continued to strengthen the reputation of this fine bastion of pure, focused, classically-styled Chablis.
Guillaume will share a bit about the history of Chablis and his own winemaking journey and lots of information on the region’s unique geology and climate. And he will also present a fantastic line-up of his 2013 releases, including:
Chablis 1er Cru Montmain
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons
Chablis 1er Cru Forets
Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnere
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesier
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
These are always some of the best value – and most delicious! – white Burgundies we offer each year, and you’ll find the 2013s are as fine as ever. Light snacks and plenty of great conversation will accompany the wines. Join us!
Rioja Old-School and Modern Classics from CVNE
Thursday, March 26, 7pm
Course Fee $30
Much of the world first really focused on the wines of Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España - abbreviated CVNE or Cune - last year when its 2004 Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva was named Wine Spectator's 2013 Wine of the Year. But fans of wines from Spain's most legendary wine region, Rioja, have known for years that Cune is one of the most exciting names in the region. Matt Daniels from Cvne's US Importer, Europvin, will help you understand why.
We'll focus on two of the three wineries that make up this benchmark estate, Cune and Vina Real. Established in 1879, Cune's cellars still sit next to the train station in Haro where thousands of gallons of robust Rioja were shipped north to Bordeaux during the phylloxera epidemic. It's a bastion of "traditional" Rioja - elegant, complex, and well-aged before release. Vina Real sits nearby and shows its relative youth (first vintage: 1920) in a style that shows more primary fruit without losing contact with Rioja tradition.
Matt will share the Cune story and some truly brilliant wines. n addition to rose and (if it's here in time) a great white Rioja, we'll taste Crianza and Reserva selections from both labels. And, for the grand finale, we'll sample the 2007 edition of the 2013 WS Wine of the Year, the majestic Imperial Gran Reserva. You'll enjoy light snacks and plenty of great information with the wines. Don't miss it!
Virginia is for PINOT Lovers - A Visit with Winemakers from Matello and Evesham Wood
Wednesday, April 22 @ 7pm
Course Fee: $40
Thanks to our good friends at Roanoke Valley Wine Co., we're delighted to welcome one one, but TWO great Willamette Valley winemakers to the Chain Bridge Cellars classroom on April 22: Marcus Goodfello of Matello Wines and Erin Nuccio from Evesham Wood. Both are among the very best young winemakers working the Willamette Valley today, although each represents a slightly different spin on technique and terroir.
Willamette Valley native (and former Portland bartender) Marcus Goodfellow founded Matello in 2002 and now makes about 3,000 cases per year from his base in McMinnville. He works primarily with fruit from dry-farmed vineyards in the northern part of Willamette and uses plenty of whole clusters in his Pinot Noir for structure and depth. While sometimes powerful, his wines are never heavy or thick - always elegant!
Erin Nuccio started his wine exploration here in the DC area before taking a winding path towards working with Rus Raney at Evesham Wood. While making wine with Russ, he launched his own Haden Fig label - and then unexpectedly had Russ offer him the keys to Evesham Wood!
Erin works mainly with fruit from the southern part of Willamette Valley, farms organically, and is always among the first to harvest his ripe but never very sugar-laden fruit. Modest use of wood, light extraction, and a special yeast cultured from the cellars of Henri Jayer make these some of the most elegant, pretty, and perfumed Pinots of the Valley.
During this class, you'll have the chance to get to know both Marcus and Erin as they tell you about their winemaking journey, share insights on Willamette valley styles and vintages, and - of course - feature their own wines. We'll set the wine list when we're closer to the class, but trust us: you won't be disappointed!
- "One Sip at a Time" Wine Classes - The 2015 Schedule
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. Course fee for each class is $25.
Sign up for any of the core classes, which take place the second Thursday of each month at 7:15 pm (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.
Reserve your seats by calling us at 703.356.6500, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just stopping by the store. For more wine class options, check out our winemaker/importer classes.
Wine Doesn’t Get Wrinkles: What Happens When it Ages??
Second Thursday of March (March 12, 2015), 7:15 pm
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”!
Cabernet Sauvignon - A One Sip at a Time Deep Dive
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 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.
Good Wines Gone Bad
Second Thursday of April (April 9, 2015), 7:15 pm
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.
Chardonnay - A One Sip at a Time Deep Dive
Sunday, May 3, 2015, 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.
Old World vs New World Reds
Second Thursday of May (May 14, 2015), 7:15 pm
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 pm
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!
Hooray for Rose!
Second Thursday of July (July 9, 2015) – 7:15 pm
See the world through rose colored glasses! We'll kick off the dog days of summer by learning all about everyone's favorite warm-weather sipper. During this fun and casual class, you'll try iconic, pale salmon styles from Provence, to pink fizz, to more unusual styles from around the world. You'll try an array of rose with complementary snacks, and learn all about how those gorgeous shades of pink get that way!
Sauvignon Blanc – A One Sip at a Time Deep Dive
Sunday, July 19, 2015, 5:00 pm
our every-other-month Sunday series gives you a “Deep Dive” into a single important grape variety – and this month we’re focused on a great summer white, Sauvignon Blanc. 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.
Six (Other) Whites You Should Know
Second Thursday of September (Sept. 10, 2015), 7:15 pm
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 Verdejo, sip on Chenin, and…well, you get the drift. A chance to explore some of the world’s most versatile, delicious, and great value whites.
Pinot Noir - A One Sip at a Time Deep Dive
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, 5:00 pm
Delicate and ephemeral, 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.
Hey, Wait A Minute: That’s Sweet!
Second Thursday of October (Oct. 8, 2015), 7:15 pm
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 pate? 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!
Riesling - A One Sip at a Time Deep Dive
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, 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) Reds You Should Know
Second Thursday of November (Nov. 12, 2015), 7:15 pm
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 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 away your discovery.
Cheap vs. Expensive: Which Do You Really Prefer?
Second Thursday of December (Dec. 10, 2014), 7:15 pm
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 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 2015 One Sip at a Time sessions.
- Featured Wines and Cordier Re-Do – Friday (3-7pm) and Saturday (noon-4), February 27 and 28
We’re very excited by the prospect of actually getting to finish our Friday and Saturday tastings this week! No more snow! This Friday from 3-7pm and Saturday from noon-4pm, join us to taste this week’s featured wines plus last week’s fantastic white Burgundies from Domaine Cordier. We’ll pour:
Dom Christophe Cordier Vire Clesse Vieilles Vignes 2012 – Fresh, precise, and loaded with limestone minerality, this drinks a bit like Chablis with just a touch more richness and depth. An outstanding value.
Dom Christophe Cordier Pouilly-Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2010 – Burghound said it well – this powerful, text-book, 2010 Pouilly-Fuisse is truly “Sweet Spot Outstanding!”
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc 2013 – A ripe but snappy blend of Grenache Bland, Sauvignon Blanc, and Terret Blanc from the windswept hills of the Languedoc. The peachy fruit is delicious and the hint of something waxy/nutty is captivating.
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé 2014 – Our first 2014 rosé is a winner with loads of ripe berry fruit and just the right dose of citrusy acids and crushed herb. “Berry” delicious!
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rouge 2013 – Best vintage yet for this gutsy blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsalut and Carignan. Plenty of ripe fruit and stony mineral here in a wine that’s as much fun to sip as it is to enjoy with everything from burgers to pizza and beyond.
Mendoza Vineyards Malbec Gran Reserva 2011 – What happens when a wine that was supposed to sell for $90 ends up available to you for $17.98 for bottles or $15.98/ea by the case? We suspect once you taste it, the result will be bottles and boxes heading out the door!
As always, we’ll have some treats from the cheese case out to sample and plenty of fresh-baked Lyon Bakery bread to enjoy at home. Join us!