Two women with wine

A Taste of Wine and Jazz:
The 6th Annual Crystal City Wine Festival

Two women with wine

A Taste of Wine and Jazz, that took place September 16 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. could more accurately have been called A Taste of Wine and Salsa. The theme this year was Latin; wines from Latin America and Spain provided by local favorite Jaleo, tapas from local restaurants, free Salsa dancing lessons from The Salsa Room, and Latin Jazz from Trio Caliente, all conveniently located just steps from the Crystal City Metro station. This was not just a convenient location but also a more safety conscious one as well; this event did indeed offer as promised a fabulous selection of wines and anyone determined to properly sample the drinks (and food!) available would be in no shape to drive home.

Tickets were sold for $20 for a pass that would include food and wine (including your own Crystal City stamped tasting glass for you to keep), or just $10 to sample only the food. Either way it was an excellent value.

Food samples included paella from Jaleo, cheese from the Cabot Creamery, a variety of pizzas from Z Pizzeria, an unknown supplier of entire baguettes that you could just grab and munch on, pasta from Noodles and Company, and a Chocolate Sin Cake from Ruth Chris’s Steak House that lived up to the name. You could easily make a full meal (and more so) out of the food.

And the wine! When thinking of wine from Spain and Latin America you inevitably think of deep spicy red wines and indeed I was especially impressed with 2010 Mano Tempranillo from Granacha Spain which was a perfect accent wine for chocolate but there was also an excellent assortment of white wines and even a Rose (2009 Mont Macul Brut, Penedes Spain) to try as well.

My personal favorite was the Flare Espumos a sweet and sparkly Muscat from Alexandria. In keeping with the general “green-friendly” tone of the proceedings I also sampled a delightful organic Pinot Noir (2011 Cono Sur) from the Bio-Bio Valley of Chile.

Guests also had the chance to become educated on the topic of wine, thanks to wine tasting classes at the event by the Washington Wine Academy. It made for a festive afternoon; I noticed that at the beginning there were few takers for the salsa lessons but as the afternoon wore on visitors emboldened with some of the bounty of Spanish or Chilean grapes were quite happy to take lessons on the dance floor.

All this made for an extremely convivial atmosphere and it’s still possible to join in the fun. Vintage Crystal is also sponsoring Wine in the Water Park throughout September, every Friday night at the Crystal City Water Park 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. offering snacks from Jaleo and free admission.

On September 23, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. they are sponsoring Pups and Pilsners an inaugural dog-friendly beer festival with food from local restaurants and a beer garden offering stations from different breweries. Entry to the festival will be free; admission to the beer garden will be $15 if purchased in advance at Washington Wine Academy or $20 on-site.

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