2016 was an unbelievable year. We drank some really great wine; traveled to new destinations; sampled amazing food and enjoyed some incredible experiences. Although we are already into 2017 we thought we’d do a quick recap of some of our favorite wine moments– believe us, it was tough to narrow down this list!
- Our First Trip to RdV Vineyards. If you haven’t been–go. We started off 2016 with an unbelievable visit to RdV Vineyards in Delaplane. It was our first trip there, but certainly not our last. The experience is one of the most educational opportunities for wine tasting on the east coast. Included in your tasting is a tour of the exceptional facilities including the production area, wine cellar, a unique look at the soil beneath the surface of the vines, and the blending and bottling facilities. Following the tour, you’ll be invited to enjoy a tasting of their current vintages– two exemplary Bordeaux-style wines (the Lost Mountain and the Rendezvous) paired with a locally sourced charcuterie board.
- A few Spontaneous Charlottesville Getaways. Charlottesville is one of our favorite places for a weekend escape to Virginia Wine Country. We love the scenery, the people, the wine and the food. This year, we were able to venture down south on several occasions and visit some of our favorite wineries and restaurants! Highlights included our first (and second) visit to Stinson Vineyards, Valley Road Vineyards and Pollak Vineyards, enjoying some local craft beers at South Street Brewing, Blue Mountain Brewery and Three Notch’d Brewing, finally checking out Charlottesville’s own speakeasy–The Alley Light, sipping craft cocktails at The Whiskey Jar and staying at some of the most adorable (and dog-friendly Airbnb’s).
- West Coast Exploring. A work trip to Palm Springs inspired our first visit to Temecula Wine Country in southern California. While we only had a day to enjoy a few wineries, our experience was top notch. We visit three wineries– Wilson Creek Winery, Ponte Winery and Leoness Cellars. Overall, we enjoyed each of the wineries and especially loved the variety of sparkling wines available at Wilson Creek and the wonderful deep, dark and flavorful reds at Leoness (not to mention the view). This visit also inspired us to author our first west coast wine series, West Coast Wednesdays, a weekly series in which we featured a different producer from California, Washington or Oregon. We had the BEST time sampling different varietals unique to their region, learning about the producers and their passion, and showcasing the talented winemakers to our followers.
- Our First Annual Fall Harvest Dinner. This year we also had the time to host our first annual Fall Harvest Dinner with friends! The theme was simple– fall, harvest, wine, and everything white and gold! Every course was paired with a wine that brought out the best in both the drink and the dish. The day was filled with preparation, from picking up last minute ingredients to decorating the table and making place cards (not gonna lie, that part was pretty darn fun for us winos!). The evening was filled with great food, great wine, the best company and some special memories (especially a few epic matches of Catch Phrase played post-feast).
- A Deeper Dive into some of our Favorite Virginia Wineries. Following our West Coast Wednesday series over the summer, we launched our Virginia wine “Taste of Terroir” series this past fall. Our goal was to give our readers an exclusive look at the stories behind the wines. We selected several of our favorite Virginia wineries including Stone Tower Winery, Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard and others, and told their stories. What was the first great bottle of wine they had? How did they decide to join the wine industry? What is the best bottle they’ve made? It was truly an eye-opening and highly educational experience for us.
- The Absolute Best Saturday–Small Town Christmas Tour. A few weeks before Christmas we decided to trek up to The Old Lucketts Store and snap some photos of their holiday design house (we were having major instagram envy). It was freezing outside so after our photo shoot we made our way to Leesburg and stopped in for a Hot Chocolate at Shoes Cup & Cork. While we were warming up we thought about where to head next and decided to keep the small town train running towards Middleburg. We did a little window shopping (excellent Christmas displays) and popped over to our favorite Middleburg winery for a tasting, Greenhill. It was over a few sips of bubbly that we decided there was only one way to end this day– dinner at our favorite little restaurant in the heart of small town Clifton, Trattoria Villagio. But that’s not all folks. Following dinner, we made our way out to the patio at Villagio where we walked into fire pits, complementary smores, holiday movies, cozy couches and blankets, and SNOW. We snuggled up by the fire, grabbed a glass of Cabernet and watched The Grinch Stole Christmas. It was perfect. This is absolutely our new annual holiday tradition and we are already counting down until next year’s Small Town Christmas Tour!
- Our Favorite Food & Wine Festival, Epicurience Virginia. This was our second year attending the annual food and wine festival in Loudoun County, known to us winos as “DC’s Wine Country.” Located for the first time at The Barn at One Loudoun, the event is a true showcase of Virginia Wine Country’s unique terroir as well as the talents of local chefs who are guiding the state’s reputation as a foodie haven. The day couldn’t have offered more perfect weather for us to taste, learn, socialize and enjoy the fabulous event. The Virginia wine industry is chock full of expertise, hard work and dedication to making outstanding wine and we feel so fortunate to be able to listen to and learn from the best in the business.
Overall, we’d say that 2016 was a pretty phenomenal year. We love being part of this amazing and ever-growing community of winemakers, bloggers, chefs and enthusiasts, and we can’t wait to experience new adventures in 2017! Cheers!