Oddly enough after family members told me that I was not allowed to travel by myself internationally, they now praise me for my recent trips  No, really.  There was a full conversation where my parents were told they should ban me.  Not sure how that would work since I am a woman in my 30s, but still  I appreciate that they love me, are worried about my safety, but also respect my desire to see the world. 

The video I am sharing is beautiful and I think those that live there sort of take it for granted.  It’s the call to prayer being played on loud speakers throughout the city.  It’s a gorgeous thing to hear, not when one is hung over per say, but still.

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Bodacious Bohigas

When I visited Spain in October last year with one of the goals being to drink all the cava I was lucky enough to visit Bohigas.  Maria Casanovas-Giró was gracious enough to give us a personal tour with a history of the estate and family.  The estate has been around since the 13th century with the family managing the vineyards for eight centruies and has been a witness to history in Spain.

Can Macià is composed of 35 hectares in a Mediterranean-continental-type of climate.  The family has generally planted the traditional cava varietals - Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada, but is open to experimenting with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  There is a second property area that is newer composed of 45 hecatares.

We visited the underground cellar.  It’s sort of breath taking to view these underground cellars.

Look at that creepy doll.  The house was filled with unusual items sort of like a Spanish version of Ripley’s.  I like anyone born in the early ’80s is terrified by dolls.  It all stems from Chucky.

At the end of our tour, we sat down and enjoyed a multicourse meal paired with different cavas from Bohigas.

Besides bringing home a bottle of Noa (one of my favorites), I have found Bohigas carried at shops in DC area like DCanter and at Mocking Bird Hill. 

If you see a bottle of Bohigas in a shop or on a menu, order it as it won’t disappoint.

cava bohigas spain

It’s Wine Time

ეს ღვინო დრო! (It’s wine time!)

I am excited to write that I will be attending the International Wine and Tourism Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia!

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Besides the conference, I will be joining some other cool wine people touring various wineries in Georgia.  My goal of the trip is again to consume all the wine in Georgia.  Secondary goal, learn more about orange wines.

Before Georgia, I’ll be in Instanbul!  I have already gotten some great recommendations from Twitter friends and other people.  Of course one of the recommendations included a wine bar.  Don’t judge.

Stay tuned here for moar about my adventures and follow my Twitter @justthebottle.

wine iwinetc tbilisi istanbul

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana

My birthday was January 13th and I decided to celebrate all month long.  On New Year’s Eve Man Friend and I went to Professionals in the City New Year’s Party.  I didn’t want to go, but one can’t really say, “Oh, you want to see someone that you were stationed in Texas with and served in Iraq with?  No. I don’t want to even though s/he lives in a different state.” Before the party we went to Red Hen and it was spectacular.  The service was amazing and the dishes were well executed. They also featured orange wine by the glass.

I arranged for Man Friend to take me to Komi for dinner another night and then a play at Studio Theatre.  Komi paced the meal perfectly.  It didn’t feel like two hours and we made the play in plenty of time.  Every dish offered a new set of flavor and texture.  I went with the pairing, which might not have been appreciated by others. However, I do what I want.  Anyways, one pairing was this really interesting Italian beer that had a nice funk.  I mentioned my interest in orange wine and they offered it along with a red so that I could compare.

Two other birthday celebrations included renting the private room at Black Squirrel and a Sunday Funday that involved bottomless brunch at Masa 14.  There was no fee to rent the room at Black Squirrel even though it was a Saturday night in Adams Morgan.  Masa 14 was a solid brunch that should be on one’s DC bucket list.

Back to the orange wine!  I have talked to some who believe that orange wine is a trend that has come and gone.  Others think it’s a current trend.  I am not sure what the average wine drinker will think, but I have found the few I have tried thus far to be very interesting and food friendly.

Orange wine is made up of white wine varietals that have extended skin contact during fermentation.  The color can be incredibly light to a more tawny like color.

Here’s the interesting part that I wonder if it will appear to beer followers…orange wines can be VERY sour and funky.  I tried another that came off as oxidized I expected sherry like flavors that did not appear.

Orange wine more commonly appears in Italy and Eastern Europe like Georgia and Slovenia.

I look forward to experimenting with them more.  Perhaps doing a tasting with some other wine friends?

Festivus Fun and Florida Beers

I was lucky enough to get time off to go home to the South Florida area for Christmas.  Well, lucky to be able to witness the crazy that is my family in person.  With that in mind, let’s list some of the great beers I had and perhaps throw in a great quote or two from my family.

Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale

Cigar City beers are finally appearing in the DC area.  The brewery is located in Tampa, Florida area.  This beer was full of flavor with notes of nutty coffee profile.  However, it was very light which gives you the darker flavors you want for the holidays, but easy to drink.  It was perfect for a Floridian who wants to enjoy the holidays even when it’s 80 degrees on Christmas.

Parental Unit

The male parental unit liked this beer.  The male parental unit also told me when I brought home cookies made from scratch based on my grandma’s recipe that the cookies were dry.  He then ate almost all of the cookies while I was at the beach.

Key West Southernmost Wheat

It’s an interesting take on the witbier style.  I didn’t get the cleaning product flavor that always seems to occur when I drink a wheat style beer.  For real, around mid-palate usually I get this Pinesol character.  Anyways, great citrus notes with a hint of lime and some spice.

Parental Unit

The male parental unit liked it, but this is also not his favorite style.  At some point during the visit a heated discussion emerged of whether my dad should date if my mom were to die.  She ends the debate by stating, “No skanks.”

The Eleven Brown Ale

Here’s another perfect beer for a Floridian who wants malty, toffee flavors in a lighter format.  I loved the flavor and slight hoppy notes on the finish.

Parental Unit

He dug this one.  We both like more malty flavors.

We visited my grandparents on Christmas day.  They always have something to say about my life, my weight or just about anything.  One of my favorite past anecdotes from my grandfather involves me suggesting he participate in a class in which he would write his autobiography.  He responded very negatively.  I asked why he wouldn’t be interested and he responded, “because I can’t remember all the ladies’ names.” 

Unfortunately, it was a very brief trip home over the holidays.  This made it difficult to see friends and visit breweries like Funky Buddha or Wynwood Brewing Company.  Well that and not having a car unless I borrow my parent’s car.

beer floridabeer

Champagne Tasting

Bell Wine & Spirits’ annual Grand Champagne tasting is Wednesday, December 11th 5:00pm - 8:00pm. They will be pouring 30+ Champagnes and sparkling wines, with highly rated Krug, Ruinart, Dom Perignon and more!

Tickets are available here for $25.  Is that too much?  Want a discount?  Well, maybe I can help you out.  Use the promo code justthebottle and get your ticket for $10.

If you end up buying any of the wines tasted - not only will they be on sale, but you’ll get your money back from your ticket.

champagne winetasting

Manel Avinyo, winemaker at Clos Lentiscus, is a very passionate man with strong opinions on wine and life.  But, you must be passionate if you are going to follow biodynamic winemaking practices. The Hedonista wrote up an excellent review of our time with Manel. I on the other hand will simply share a hilarious video recorded by Bucket List Journey of me finding the energy.

Christina loves Cava

I was lucky enough to visit Spain recently. After spending a couple days in Barcelona (pictures and stories to come later), I joined a group outside the city. Our mission was simple - drink all the cava.

One of my favorite wineries on the visit was Mascaró. Like most of the wineries we visited, it is family owned. They are led by the matriarch Ms. Monserrat Mascaró, Co-owner & Oenologist.

We were led on an amazing tour by one of the staff, Maria, who explained that 30% of the business was cava related. About 40% of their cava is consumed in Catalonia. They produce about 100,000 bottles of cava and 300,000-400,000 bottles of brandy a year.

The wines and cavas are grown in Mascaró’s Mas Miquel vineyards.

The facility we toured was considered an urban winery located in the downtown area of Penedès. The location was along a path that linked the city center to the train station.

One of my favorite cavas was Cuvee Antonio Mascaró. It is a Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature which means no dosage added with an aging time of 30 months or longer. This cava could be enjoyed as an appertif, but paired spectacularly with our lunch. The nose was aromatic with nutty and some minor floral notes. The cava danced in the mouth with fine bubbles and creamy notes. Would you believe it is super affordable as well?

I ended up buying a bottle of the Brandy X.O. Ego. I knew I would be hard pressed to find he something of that quality back home at the same price point. It was incredibly smooth and refined with slight vanilla and toasty notes.