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.
Earlier this week we shared our 2017 Best Nine, the nine most liked photos from @wine30flight on Instagram in 2017, but we were interested that many of our favorites weren't actually the ones that had attracted the most likes. In fact, only a single photo -- from Vinarna Bokovka wine bar in Prague -- overlapped. No matter. This #ThrowbackThursday we're sharing our picks for Best Nine. They took us to Sweden, Hungary, Czechia, Spain, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. Each tells a different story.
We conceptualize our favorite wines in three dimensions, asking ourselves which bottles we'd characterize as having a special blend of being powerfully good, telling a richly compelling story, and transporting us (and you) to interesting places. So it is that as we look back on 2017 -- or any year -- we're thinking about our top 10 bottles a bit differently than simply making a list of the ten conventionally highest point earners we reviewed this year. Rather, we're sharing the ten bottles that most dominated our wine consciousness, that kept us talking and remembering every peculiar scent and taste, and that opened our eyes to histories and landscapes we may have not previously known.
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.
Plaza Mayor marks the historic heart of Madrid, Spain, one of the world's truly spectacular cities. Lined with shops and restaurants, overflowing with the near-round-the-clock energy of Madrileños and tourists alike, the site of celebration and horror throughout its history, this infamous city square has been a personal favorite place for what is now most of my life. The Plaza celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, opening up the festivities on February 17 with the most incredible light show spectacle we have ever seen. Though the show itself has passed, the anniversary celebrations are ongoing throughout the year. Whether now or in the future, we recommend that Plaza Mayor and Madrid in general be at the top of your travel list.
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.
We've tasted some extraordinary wine together with you, Wine:Thirty Flight readers and writers, in 2016. Today, the second-to-last Wine Wednesday in December, we're sharing our top ten wine picks for the year. These are the best that we've reviewed the last twelve months, and we hope you'll move meticulously-terraced mountains upon which vineyards grow (and wine shops) to find them yourself!
Whether you seek irresistible steak, a delicious all-around menu, the warmest hospitality, or Argentine cuisine in particular... Chimichurri Grill's new location on 61st between Park and Lex in Manhattan is where you need to be. Same great menu as the original at 43rd and 9th, same warmly candlelit ambiance, but with much more space and a toasty fireplace!
Sweden is a wonderful country to which I plan to return next year. I am a big advocate of modern city dwellers taking the time to get out of the city and into the beautiful country the world has to offer; thirty-six hours in Sweden certainly fits the bill, though is not nearly long enough. Grundsund on Skaftö is about as far away from tourists as you'll find. You'll be pleased with the quiet, the people, and the sea.
A little 101 on the basics of Spanish wine, looking at Spanish wine regions, grapes, and labels to help you navigate the Spain section of any wineshop, and to help you better understand all of the great wines we'll be sharing over the next several months. This is essential reading for anyone seeking to get your arms around the basics of Spanish wine.
I'll open with a bold statement: Madrid is the most spectacular western city that most readers of this blog have never been to. Wide avenues and narrow streets, outdoor plazas and taverns tucked away, the most intimate of neighborhoods in the European Union's third largest city... Madrid is the next city to which you should plan to say hello. Betting odds say that you'll fall in love with it, just as I once did years ago.
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.
It's Columbus Day in the United States -- you know, that quasi-holiday that might be the federally recognized holiday that your employer is most likely to expect you to work on anyway? It's also an absolutely beautiful time in the Northern Virginia region that we (and a lot of great wineries) call home. These are some of our top regional recommendations right now.
Another warm summer's evening in Arlington, Virginia sets on the patio at SER, the splendid Spanish restaurant. Simple. Easy. Real. This is the vision in which owner Javier Candon, a native of the region around Seville, Spain, has crafted one of the best restaurants in Arlington over the past couple of years. He's created something really special here.
Summer sun shines down from a blue sky that looks like the ocean inverted, reflecting brightly on the whitewashed Cape Cod style house and barn. Your chair sits beneath stately tree branches. A cooling breeze wafts through the yard as you put a cocktail to your lips. It's the height of summer, and you've discovered the exceptional rum, gin, and related cocktails at South Hollow Spirits in North Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
We're celebrating National Aviation Day, Friday, August 19, 2016! We'll also go ahead and, not coincidentally, wish Orville Wright a very happy birthday. He'd have turned 145 years old today. Wilber definitely got the short end of the quasi national holiday stick. We're celebrating with favorites from our stash of aviation photos we've taken this year. Two photos below, and only two photos, depict the exact same plane spotted on two separate occasions 1,010 miles away from one another. Which photos?
Were I to show you one picture that sums up "the good life in summertime", I'd be hard pressed to find something more compelling than the site of a sangria on your table and the harbor view from the Ross' Grill balcony beyond. Today we're going to our favorite place for lunch in our favorite town: Ross' Grill in Provincetown, MA, the last town on the end of Cape Cod.
We're big fans of sprucing up a bottle of bubbles to make a super-refreshing Sparkling Sangria. Don't go out of your way here, because the recipe is too easy... you're looking at about $12.50 per bottle all-in!
We've made no secret of our love for sangria, the (usually) red wine cocktail that hails from Spain but has become incredibly popular in the United States. It's our favorite summer drink, one that we look for everywhere we go. Today we're sharing our rather easy recipe.
The Fourth of July is the only major holiday that isn’t somehow underpinned by religion, race, occupation, or memorial. Simply put, it’s a holiday for all. Your Wine:Thirty Flight friends have two wishes. The first is that you celebrate the holiday for all. The second is that you wish a sincere thanks to the next Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee you come across at the airport. Wait, what?
You're going places, but you're busy. You probably live in a city, have a job that just won't quit, have to stay at least somewhat connected, and probably don't have all the leisure time in the world to get your life together before you travel. When I travel, I'm not worrying about liquids in plastic bags, toothbrushes, throwing my stuff together, hauling my tech gear, and figuring out where to get my next hit of battery power.
Of all the splendid places you'll find as you travel through New England, Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery in Westport, MA may surprise you most. The winery experience is delightful in itself, marked by a ton of outdoor character and of course Mao the winery cat roaming freely about the grounds and through the tasting room. Sparkling wine is a point of pride here, making them unique even among the already-unique world of Massachusetts wine.
Ambling up those stairs into the cabin, it's not tough for the mind's eye to conjure men in suits and ladies in fancy hats finding their seats and drawing their curtains, reading their newspapers and smoking their cigarettes in the soft light of each lamp. Hat racks hang above the original seats, which are unbelievably far more narrow than the confines we now "enjoy", for passengers were a bit more svelte in those days. A buffet in the aft part of the cabin served hot meals (and, dare we ask, wine?) alongside fine china and silver.
At the corner of 43rd Street and 9th Avenue in Manhattan, in Hell's Kitchen just west enough of Times Square to make it reasonable, sits an extraordinary restaurant called Chimichurri Grill. Stunning food and wine, warm-from-the-very-first-moment hospitality from our friends Carlos and Wilmer, and charmingly intimate spaces have made Chimichurri Grill one of our favorite places in New York City, and easily one of our top five restaurants anywhere.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport - better known to locals simply as "National Airport" or "National" - celebrated 75 years this week since its opening on June 16, 1941. We've been thrilled by this not just because National (IATA code "DCA") is quite literally in our back yard (we watch planes land from our dining room), but also because we're proud of the truly outstanding airport we have right here at home in Arlington, VA.
Today begins a long Memorial Day weekend in the United States. This is what we see: Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We hope you'll use this TGIflyday to get to a place you love, share a great bottle of wine, enjoy the weekend, and make time to remember the fallen in some meaningful way!
Happy National Wine Day! It's true, we struggle distinguishing May 25 from National Drink Wine Day (celebrated annually on February 18), but we don't like questioning an opportunity to try great wine. We're rolling with it. To celebrate, we've decided share a lineup of six greatest hits over the last year, a "Best of Wine:Thirty Flight", so to speak.
Owner and Winemaker Marco Montez has something really great happening at his Travessia Urban Winery on Purchase Street in charming downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts. Here Marco blends Old World instincts honed in his Portuguese family's Penada vineyard and winery with new world creativity in in the heart of one of America's most under appreciated wine making regions.
We're looking at four places in the world that make absolutely exceptional wine, but that you may not have tried. Explore them in person if you can, or just confidently choose them the next time you're staring down a purchasing decision!
We are impressed by a number of Virginia's vineyards and wineries. But among the impressive stand out what we'd consider to be world class: the elite few whose wine we'd consider when choosing from the very best in our collection, who have really driven Virginia's emergence as a (under appreciated) wine making region to be reckoned with. Delaplane Cellars is one of them.