By Punch Correspondent Karen Garnick
Being from the Bay Area in California, I am a frequent visitor of Napa Valley Wineries. So I jumped on board when given the opportunity to attend Washington Wine Academyâ€™s Meet the Maker event Wednesday night with Saintsbury Winery.
Saintsbury is a mid-size winery in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, specializing in Pinot Noir (my favorite) and Chardonnay. Michael Brehart, the Associate National Sales Manager, walked us through the history of the winery, and explained the components of the different vineyards they get their grapes from, which gives each wine a unique flavor. We were offered generous tastings of 7 different wines, and I was impressed by how different each of the 5 Pinot Noirs we tried were, considering all the grapes are grown in the same general area. Some were earthy with mineral components, others were lighter, and tasted of sweet red fruit. The most common one you will see at restaurants and on the East Coast is the Saintsbury Pinor Noir Carneros â€“ which is the only blend they do and goes with just about everything.
Saintsbury is a little more laid-back than other Napa wineries, favoring the original facility built in 1983 over an elaborate tasting mansion. The founders, Dick Ward and Dave Graves, are there daily and love to chat with visitors. If you ever make it to Napa, Saintsbury does not do public tastings, but they are available Monday through Saturday by appointment if you call 707.252.0592. If you like Pinot Noir and French-style Chardonnay, this is your stop!
After the event, we all walked across the street to Washington Wine Academyâ€™s new Wine Shop, which officially opened this week. Crystal City Wine Shop is located right under the Lenox Club Apartments on 12th Street South in Arlington. They are only open from 4-8pm now, but they already have a diverse inventory, sorted by region. Each week they have barrel specials, where one white and one red are sold at-cost. Owner Jim Barker let us try this weekâ€™s special â€“ the Spanish Paso A Paso Tempranillo, which was so delicious I couldnâ€™t resist purchasing it for only $8.99.
Not only does the shop have a great, affordable selection of wines, but they have an entire section of microbrews. They even have a special where you can build your own 6-pack. Jim said customers were most excited about Hopslam Ale, a Michigan microbrew apparently hard to find in DC. The shop will extend its hours one a general manager is hired, and will definitely fill the hole of much needed wine stores in the Arlington area.
Washington Wine Academy
1201 South Eads St., Suite 400
Arlington, VA 22202
Crystal City Wine Shop
401 12th Street South, Suite 4
Arlington, VA 22202
1500 Los Carneros Avenue
Napa, CA 94559
Correspondent Karen Garnick is a California native trying to get accustomed to the East Coast lifestyle (and weather!). By day, she works as an event planner for a think tank, and by night you can find her out on the town. She is a world traveler, loves baby animals, and enjoys curling up to a good book and glass of wine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.