2009 DC Wine Bar Review

I enjoy visiting wine bars. I will be beginning an all encompassing review of the wine bars of DC over the next couple of weeks. There are many many bars in DC that serve wine, so I will be trying to focus on bars that have an increased focus on their wine program. If you have suggestions of places for me to check out (in DC/NoVa/Maryland), please comment below. As of right now, I plan on visiting the following places:
1) Vinoteca
2) Veritas
3) Mendocino
4) Bistrot LePic
5) Enology
6) Dino
7) Bardeo
8) West End Bistro
9) Proof
I plan on grading each venue using a common scale (100 possible points):
1) Bottle Selection (1-20 scale)
2) Wines by the glass selection (1-20 scale)
3) Knowledge of staff (1-20 scale)
4) Ambiance (1-10 scale)
5) Price (1-20 scale)
6) Stemware (1-10 scale)
This should be fun.

2008 Bordeaux

As the last shipments of the epic 2005 vintage reach American shores, the wine industry collectively turns their gaze towards the 2008 Bordeaux futures market. In terms of futures sales, Bordeaux is unrivaled in their preselling power. I received an email today from my local wine merchant discussing the 2008 Bordeaux market, and it raised a couple questions. For those who are unfamiliar with the unique way in which Bordeaux sells their wine, here is a quick summary (thanks to the folks at Calvert Woodley for this great explanation):

1. Chateaux "release" their prices and assign the rights, or allocation, to their wine to a group of brokers in Bordeaux known as courtiers, who in turn sell to negociants in Bordeaux.
2. Negociants sell these allocations to the importers around the world who in turn sell to the retailers. In rare instances, retailers are direct importers as well and buy directly from negociants.
3. Retailers sell the rights to these wines to the consumer, who pay in advance for the rights to the wines that will be exported around the world 18-24 months later.

So basically, it's an elaborate process of ordering these wines. Add to that the fact that if a bottle/case is ordered today, it won't be received for 1.5-2years. Due to the global recession, interest in this 2008 vintage is understandably muted. The big players that dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars on the historic 2005 vintage aren't investing and global prices for Bordeaux are plateauing.

What I wonder is this; what will the current economic downturn have on wine prices? It's no secret that the 2005 Bordeaux market basically redefined the entire wine market - prices shot through the roof, demand skyrocketed, and huge profits were achieved. You have to assume that as the economy softens people will avoid buying "nice-to-have" items far more often than before...and with less demand prices will naturally correct themselves.

So what does all this mean to you? Avoid the Bordeaux futures market. Prices are still high due to the impact of the 2005 vintage and we will see prices come down from the pre-sale price (which is typically the lowest). If you are in a position to buy wine, a lot of shops and wineries are offering huge discounts to make up for the softening of demand. Seek out the values and stock up!


White Burgundy

Of all the wine regions in the world, Burgundy excites me the most. Massive reds and white characterize the region. Of late, one grape in particular has been the most intriguing - Chablis. Maligned in the US for it's jug wine history, chablis remains in my mind, one of the most interesting and exciting grapes available. There are three levels of Chablis available - first being the appellation controlee, or the base level. Prices for this type can usually be found under $20. Moving up the scale you have premier cru and then grand cru chablis. At its upper levels, chablis can reach the $70+/bottle range.

Tonight, I opened a bottle of 2007 Gilbert Picq Chablis. This falls within the appellation controlee level and cost $15.98. 100& chardonnay, this wine for me, beats many $30-$40 Napa Chards out there. Here are some tasting notes:

  • 2007 Gilbert Picq Chablis - France, Burgundy, Chablis (4/29/2009)
    Light straw color. Nose is full of lemon peels and grapefruit laced with petrol. Very nice acidity with this wine. Full of lemons....just packed with them. Can see this going perfectly with big fish, scallops, or oysters. There is a nice brininess to this wine too, and the mouthfeel is quite nice. Finish is round and enjoyable. Might be a bit basic in some sense - really nice QPR wine though. (88 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

For those of you out there that don't think white wines can be serious wines, I urge you to look at white burgundies. Incredible wines.


I'm pretty stoked about the Anwilka wine from last night. Luckily, I have two more bottles at home in the cellar. Hoping that putting some age on those puppies will yield a strong mid-90s type of wine.

My advice to anyone opening a bottle in the next 12 months...DECANT DECANT DECANT. Drinking straight out of the bottle won't allow it to open up enough. Just my $0.02.


  • 2007 Anwilka Stellenbosch - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch (4/24/2009)
    Really enjoyed the 2006 vintage of this wine, so was excited to get my first taste of the 2007. Immediately, I get the sense that I'm tasting this FAR too early. That being said, it's still tasting quite well. Dark, dark, dark color - oneo of the blackest wines I've ever come across. Nose is full of tar, plums and sour cherries. There are some blueberries mixed in as well. Very complex wine from start to finish. Great mouthfeel - silky smooth. The wine starts off strong with cassis, cherry, and a dusty tar taste. The end is a massive tannic explosion. Huge backend to this wine and quite dry at this stage. Could see this wine easily cellaring for 7-10 years. Very nice potential here. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker


  • 2007 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Rheingau (4/23/2009)
    Light golden color with an intense granny smith apple on the nose. After letting the bottle sit out and warm up a bit, the apples melded in nicely with pears and tropical fruits. Very nice mouthfeel with this riesling with subtle sweetness and bracing acidity on the backend. I found this wine to be far more enjoyable as it warmed up - the tropical fruit flavors, apple and pear really began to express themselves at that point. (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

  • 2007 Château Anniche - France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Contrôlée (4/21/2009)
    Pale straw color. Nose fresh pear, but not too much else. This is a nice little fresh wine...good entry level white bordeaux. The acidity on the backend is somewhat surprising - would probably be a nice play with fish/oysters. The pear is augmented with lots of fresh lemons and a bit of minerality. Niice QPR on this one. (87 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker