The following is a shout out to the wine education seminars underway at The Curious Grape…maybe this post should be entitled “The Curious Tasting"?
Or "Curious KMango keeps posting so much in the same damn thread!"
Sorry, folks, this place is right in the middle of my 'hood, hence the frequency...
Over the past several years, I have run into a half-dozen DR members (sometimes literally, given my itty bitty tolerance after a pretty witty wine tasting) while attending the monthly cheese and wine classes at Cheesetique. Jill is, hands down, my favorite person to have at the helm of such boutique-hosted seminars. She exudes ingredient passion, compassionate humor, expansive knowledge, and an infinitely welcoming sense of fun, with her staff not far behind. The only downside to Cheesetique courses is they are primarily evening affairs. They also book up mad-dash quickly after the newsletter announcement. Such circumstances often clash with my “someone has no boundaries” long workday, or whatever other lame excuse come the weekend.
As noted in previous posting (and the one before that, and the one before that...KEcho?), the Curious Grape in Shirlington opened earlier this year. The venue features a multi-purpose model for their expansive space. It's an “oh my god, they need to be doing a lot of events and creative endeavors to pay for this” kind of space. If you have not been, go, if only to browse the store and procure a small bite from the cold case. You’ll be surprised with the vineyard-meets-private-collection ambiance, pleased with the selection of all things terrior (wine, cheese, chocolate, coffee, vinegars, olive oils, small condiments), and delighted with the friendliness of the staff. Stick around for small plates (and stick to the small plates, cheese or dessert) and half-pour wines on something other than a busy weekend night, and they’ll really knock your socks off.
A new part of the multi-purpose layout is a series of wine tasting seminars available for either Saturday 11:30 or Tuesday 6:30. One recent seminar featured four flights of two wines, each paired with either a cheese, chocolate, or small plate from the kitchen, and hosted in the private room at the back of the venue. An out of town guest adored the experience. The owner and business partners provided detailed educational materials, including topographic maps, to deepen the learning. For $36, and considering the palate interest of wines sampled (retail prices averaging around $25; ranged from $14 to $60), tastes paired, purchasing discount for attendees, and an accompanying geography lesson, it seems like a bargain if not a fun diversion for an hour and a half with a friend.
The schedule for the rest of the year is available on their website: http://curiousgrape.com/
The site indicates they also do custom-tailored group events. If 2013 gets here without too much Mayan drama, and if folks are interested, I will see if I can set up an event for the DR crew. Something grapey to look forward to during the post-holiday, darker time of the year.