Virginia's Viognier and Cabernet Franc wines are our Best of April

Last weekend we made an annual pilgrimage to the actual cellar of Delaplane Cellars, an extraordinary Virginia winery that we've recommended before. There we loved -- once again -- a tasting that has become something of a ritual first day of the springtime wine tasting season for us, drawing winemaker Jim Dolphin's latest creations direct from the barrels wherein they have spent the last months aging. And so it is, in our minds at least, that the finest time of year for exploring stunning Virginia wine country is upon us. Indeed, the Commonwealth's wines are our Best of April.

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Renaissance is in the air at Washington Dulles International Airport

Don't look now, but Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) -- the DC area's third largest in terms of passenger traffic since being overtaken by nearby Reagan National (DCA) in 2015 -- is taxiing towards the runway of a veritable renaissance. This could be a big year here, and we could not be more excited for the principle international airport serving our home city.

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Washington National Airport is getting an entirely new concourse, and it looks gorgeous

I am beyond excited to see this moving forward. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia -- just across the river from Washington, DC -- is beginning $1 billion in renovations that will see an entirely new concourse added in addition to completely revamped ticketing and security facilities allowing passengers to move freely between concourses without having to pass back out of security. The artist renderings are gorgeous. Locals and anyone who has ever flown in from smaller cities featuring small commuter planes know what a big deal this is.

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Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge, Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) via Priority Pass is a true gem

I wrote last month about How to get and use Priority Pass lounges to find peace, quiet, (free) wine, and food at the airport, drawing on recent positive experiences in Göteborg, Lisbon, Boston, and London. Meghan and I recently spent a few hours in our absolute favorite of the Priority Pass lounges we've been to thus far, the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). In a sentence, "it was convenient, stylish, tasty, and popular".

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Revisiting Spain's excellent Elias Mora wines with our friends at Joselito in Washington, DC

Laughter and happy conversation fill this room of polished marbled tables and glasses, twinkling as the light of the long day's evening sun refracts through their sparkling contents. This is a party whose blend of elegance and warmly familiar charm could only have been the work of Javier and Christiana, proprietors at Washington, DC's Joselito - Casa de Comidas, our hosts for the evening. We've come to try a lineup of wine from Bodegas Elias Mora, a lovely winery that we visited in Spain's Toro region

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Virginia's Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery is made for celebration, summertime or any time

Twinkling filament lights hang on strands spanning the high-lofted ceiling, filling the arches and other last spaces not awash with sunlight from the glass wall of windows framing the sweeping vista of blue sky meeting grey mountain as if it were a painting hung to brighten the hall where we are sipping our wine. A din of revelry echoes through the bright and modern space, heralding what we suspect are at least three separate weddings-to-be, whose parties have come to celebrate today.

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Exploring Portugal's Manz Wines with our friends at Slate Wine Bar in Washington, DC

This Portuguese Wine Dinner featured wines from Manz Winery near the Atlantic coast outside of Lisbon, and food pairings from Danny Lledó, Slate’s Chef and Sommelier. Manz is a small, boutique winery in Portugal's Lisboa wine region, about six miles from the ocean. To quote their representative, Raul Silva, Manz believes “good wine is marked by wanting to open a second bottle.” They aim for minerality and freshness in all their wines, especially in their Jampal grape varietal.

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Celebrate Rosé Day with these four wines we tried at Slate Wine Bar in Washington, DC

With National Rosé Day just around the corner on Saturday, June 10, Wine:ThirtyFlight would just like to put it on the record that we were on the Rosé train way before it was trendy and became a fad. That said, despite some smugness about being the OGs of Rosé, I am still fully on board with a good trend and will gladly rock a Rosé All Day shirt while sipping on some Frosé down by the Georgetown Waterfront. For this year’s National Rosé Day we are going to take you back to Slate Wine Bar in Glover Park, where we recently tried these four wines with which we recommend you celebrate the day!

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Fine dining in Virginia Wine Country at Winchester's One Block West restaurant

It's springtime in the old town of Winchester, to which we've driven through the lush green in the heart of Virginia Wine Country, just north of that sparkling constellation on the map, stars formed by some of the Commonwealth's brightest wineries: Delaplane, RdV, Linden, Glen Manor. We've come looking for One Block West, the unassuming restaurant tucked away on South Indian Alley, (unsurprisingly) one block west of the main street that traverses the historic town.

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Big, lively, and high quality Stone Tower Winery is a great addition to Virginia winemaking

You'd not expect this at the end of a country road -- stones crackling, trees bending, and through the thicket, green rolling hills and mountains beyond, stretched beneath soft clouds patched across the cerulean sky -- but this is where you will find the immense (by Virginia standards) Stone Tower Winery, a rare feat of a winery that manages to perfectly blend its big, fun atmosphere with seriously well-made wine.

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Delicious pairings with Georg Albrecht Schneider wine at Washington, DC's Slate Wine Bar

Georg Albrecht Schneider, a family run winery located southwest of Frankfurt in Germany’s Rheinhessen, produces mostly Riesling on a bit more than 54 acres of land. Chef and Sommelier Danny Lledó of Slate Wine Bar in Washington, DC recently featured a beautiful four-course meal, each paired with a different wine from the Schneider Estate.

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Six winery recommendations for your next journey through stunning Virginia Wine Country

We're often asked to recommend wineries in Virginia wine country, a place that I wrote last year "is one of the world's most under appreciated yet truly delightful wine regions". Virginia wine country is our home turf, so to speak. The closest of its delightful wineries are about thirty minutes from our front door. In fact, there are few cities from which hundreds of thriving wineries are as accessible as Virginia wine is from Washington, DC and Arlington, VA just across the river. These are our recommendations for the wine excursion you should be planning as the weather warms into spring this year.

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Re-visiting Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, lighting the fire with two new vintages in Virginia Wine Country

Zephaniah has begun pouring two new vintages -- 2015 Steamship White and 2013 Three Captains Red -- since we last covered them. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, and cold weather decidedly upon us at least for a bit longer, we wanted to encourage your visit to this most special of Virginia wineries. 

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Returning to Williamsburg, VA as we investigate the renovated and re-opened Green Leafe tavern

Winter break is over for many a college student across America. We'll mark the occasion by returning to the alma mater of two Wine:Thirty Flight writers, The College of William and Mary, to share thoughts on the renovated and re-opened-in-2016 Green Leafe Cafe and Pub in Williamsburg, home not only to a college, but to a history tourism industry that attracts many thousands of visitors and families each year. 

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Elegant and intimate, new Joselito Spanish restaurant is an instant best of Washington, DC

The great European cities -- and much of the American variety they inspired -- are marked by their great restaurants, places of elegance or intimacy that wrap you up inside, and treat you to an irresistible menu of food and drink. Step through the door of newly open Joselito: Casa de Comidas in Washington, DC's Eastern Market neighborhood on Capitol Hill, the essence of a classic city in a delightful restaurant serving all Spanish food and wine.

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"Your Guide to Washington, DC-Area Airports" out in the "Washingtonian" last week

Washingtonian magazine was out last week with a DC-area airports guide that we want to share. We've made no secret of our love for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), we think one of the nation's very best, but there's great history and interesting things happening in the near future for travelers through all three of the airports serving Washington, DC. Locals and passers through read on.

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Zephaniah Farm Vineyard in Leesburg, Virginia is our favorite winery when the weather grows cold

Weather cools, and we begin thinking of Zephaniah Farm Vineyard in Leesburg, Virginia -- one of our favorite fall and winter wine destinations. We're writing about Zephaniah now in mid-November because we really hope you'll take the time to visit the farm this winter when it's at it's best. You will feel at home from the moment you walk through the tasting room door in the old farm house, settle into a big chair next to the wood fire, taste their great lineup of small production wine, and enjoy the hospitality that only a family winery can share.

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Hunter's Head Tavern, an authentic English Pub, is an essential Virginia Wine Country stop

You'll find Hunter's Head Tavern in the sleepy village of Upperville, in the heart of the best of Virginia wine country. Step through the door and feel you've slipped into a long time past in an authentic English Pub -- a true tavern in a house built around 1750 -- that's laced top to bottom with rustic sophistication. Old plank floors, fireplaces, exposed beams, farmhouse tables, and wooden chairs of which no two seam to be alike convey a homey sense of somewhere far away.

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