Sunday, July 4, 2010

Check Out the Washington Wine Academy!

For anyone not familiar with the Washington Wine Academy, I would highly encourage you to check them out. Celebrating 10 years in business this year, WWA offers a host of different wine tasting and education events around the region. Since Washington, DC is among the largest wine markets in the country, WWA provides an invaluable service to a thirsty region.

I first learned about WWA through one of the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse’s Wine Nights some years back where WWA had a wine tasting set up and the Drafthouse had discounts on glasses, carafes, bottles and flagons of wine…Maybe not flagons, but there were certainly some good wine deals. WWA also sponsors wine tours, and has a prensence at many different food and wine events around the area.

I didn’t think much else about WWA until Caitlin recently got us tickets to one of their hour-long wine education courses. The class provided a great overview of enjoying wine for people of all levels - from novices to those who scrutinize the finest of wine lists to regional wine bloggers. There was enough information for everyone to make the course worthwhile and informative, while also making wine much more approachable. The instructor, Tom Finigan of Washburn Wine, did a great job of explaining the characteristics of wine, dispelled some of the common myths and misconceptions about wine, and most importantly, walked us through what to look for during a wine tasting.

The tasting included a Virginia wine: Barboursville Vineyards Octagon IX Edition 2006. The 2006 Octagon is a velvety red wine that has hints of blackberries, currants and oakiness on the nose. Based on the smell alone, it would be easy to think that Barboursville’s Octagon is simply trying to be a Virginia zinfandel, yet when you taste it, and sense the dryness and high tannins with a spicy, thick, fruity finish, then you know that it is not a zin knockoff at all but something else all its own. If you want to splurge on a Virginia red, you could do worse than this one at $40 a bottle.

Now that DC is in the full throes of summer’s heat and humidity, it is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Washington Wine Academy. It is nearby, well-run and air-conditioned. They do a lot throughout the region and certainly are worth the support of the community.