Like a United Nations of varietals, some of the world’s tastiest wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Italy, and France are well-represented within Jackie’s Wine Bar. Connoisseurs savor the unique notes of each pour while investigating the black-framed pictures on Jackie’s coffee-colored walls and the shelves of wine bottles that vie for attention behind the bar by wearing chic designer labels. On Thursday evenings, free salsa lessons invite patrons to set down their glasses and grab their dance partner’s hand; Saturday nights feature live bands that serve dulcet melodies as aromatic bouquets serenade olfactory receptors. Fresh air courses through Jackie’s outdoor patio, where visitors can alternate between sips of wine or beer and bites of sandwiches, desserts, and appetizers.
Dealing directly with venerated wineries, the swirling and sniffing staff at Finewine.com purveys a fine roster of pleasing potables. The trio of vinos hails from California’s Vaquero Cellars, which selects the best grapes from nearby vineyards with a meticulous eye. After barrel-aging for 22 months, the merlot emerges with a full body and a crisp taste, and bright cherry and cranberry lend complexity to the pinot noir’s deep hue and dense poetry. A deep-colored syrah, bursting with the aroma of ripe fruit and knowing glances, rounds out the package.
Situated along the pastoral countryside, the family-owned-and-operated Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard produces flavorful Bordeaux-style wines in a charming, rustic setting. With today's Groupon, you and a fermentation fanatic get a full tasting of Sugarloaf's award-winning wines, from the brick-red cabernet Franc to the French-oak-aged chardonnay. Once you've introduced your taste buds to each potential grape suitor, you and your tasting-mate each get a glass of preferred wine and a scrumptious assortment of cheeses, complete with olive tapenade to pair. You'll also get two souvenir wine glasses, engraved with the vineyard's name, to take home and display next to other fine glassware, such as your Wrestlemania '87 juice glasses.
On February 1, 2011, Linganore Winecellars' staff members celebrated with a barrel tasting. They had just finalized the winery's transition to operating on strictly sustainable wind power.
Founded in 1971 by the Aellen family, Linganore has since expanded in every way, from its grape selection to new bottling rooms to a renovation of the offices in the 19th-century barn on the grounds. Today, the sustainable winery stocks more wines than ever before, with its award-winning selection including traditional grape varietals, fruit wines, and specialty bottles. The idyllic winery routinely hosts events as well, with concerts, tastings, and tours taking place 361 days out of the year, granting the grapes four days to just hang out.
Acacia Bistro & Wine Bar is located in the corner of a blocky office building in the decidedly uncharming Van Ness stretch of Connecticut Avenue. The interior is modern, neat and tidy, leaving the focus on the contents of the huge wine list and the creative menu. The underlying theme is Mediterranean--so you can find a variety of tapas, charcuterie and cheese plates and fresh pasta dishes. At lunch, paninis and burgers are the stars of the show, along with a few, well-chosen entrées. With so few decent restaurants in the immediate area, Acacia Bistro is the one place where you can depend upon a solid meal and a fine glass of wine. There’s also an ample patio area for outside dining.
Chef Nicolas Guardado and his wife Reyna infuse Spanish and Latin American dishes with vibrant and diverse flavors, earning their restaurant a spot on Zagat’s latest Tapas Tops list. Like jazz solos, small plates come in hot and cool varieties and have garnered applause on at least one occasion. Pan-seared scallops paddle toward mouths on portobello rafts and waves of basil oil ($8), and béchamel fritters brim with chicken and serrano ham ($5.95). Unlike their famous cousin, the french fry, deep-fried spanish potatoes dress themselves in smooth tomato sauce and spicy aioli ($5.95). Teeming with marinated tilapia, just-squeezed lemon juice, and a hint of cilantro, the ceviche ($7.50) at Guardado's tastes fresher than a starlight mint plucked fresh from the vine.