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What to Expect at Our Wine Club Release Parties

We’re super proud of our Wine Club. Each month, you get 2 bottles of wine, a gift, and tasting notes. You also have a chance to join us for the release party the last Sunday of each month!

Technically, we host these parties for everyone. You don’t need to be a Wine Club member to attend and enjoy the festivities. In fact, a good portion of our members grabbed their first Wine Club selection by showing up to the party to wrap their heads around the program before taking the plunge.

So what can you expect? First off, we never taste the wines we selected. We want you to taste them for the first time however you see fit. We always, however, offer contextual wines to taste throughout the event. We want to educate through Wine Club, so we take the release party as an opportunity to showcase wines that illuminate something about the ones in the bag you take home.

Take our Bolivian themed release. For one of the wines for that month, we chose a Torrontés from the Samaipata Valley. La Salta, in Argentina, shares a similar climate phenomenon to Samaipata, because it is part of the same mega-area that encompasses southeastern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. By sampling a Torronés from La Sala at the party, we wanted to point out how the two wines are obviously from the same grape, but have distinct differences based on the terroir of each valley.

On top of multiple wines open to taste, we often invite over vendors from around DC crafting something we’re really into. We’ve had Peruvian Brothers out, Arepa Zone, Harper Mackaw chocolate, just to name a few, and we’ve got some great ones in the works.

While all the delicious things to drink and snack on are great, our favorite part of the Wine Club release party is the community atmosphere it fosters. We’ve seen many Wine Club members become great friends with other members they met at a release party, and many people come as much to see each other as grab the Wine Club!

Laid back, educational, and above all, fun, if you haven’t made it to one, we’d love to see you at the next one! You don’t have to attend the release party to get your Wine Club - the bags remain available most of the month following the release - it’s an experience that completes your membership. Come join us at the next one!

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A Day with Jimena Lopez of Graffito Wines

Graffito vertical tasting with winemaker Jimena Lopez.

Graffito vertical tasting with winemaker Jimena Lopez.

The last week of April our co-founder Pedro embarked on a wine adventure through the Andes. He had the honor and privilege to meet, taste and get to know more of the South American wine landscape like never before.

Graffito Winemaker, Jimena Lopez.

Graffito Winemaker, Jimena Lopez.

First, Pedro visited Mendoza City to learn more about the history of Argentinian wines and to understand first-hand the ongoing transformation of the identity of their wines. On a lazy but productive Sunday afternoon, Pedro set out with a group of wine professionals to visit a remote farm on the foothills of the Andes in Gulatallary. There he met winemaker and academic authority on wine, Mrs. Jimena Lopez - a charming, humble, and passionate winemaker. Along with many other winemakers, Jimena is shaping the wine landscape in Argentina by crafting the genuine approach of making “honest” wines; wines that speak about the history, soil, sense of place and that evoke freshness and drinkability. A philosophy Grand Cata stands behind.

Traditional Argentinian empanadas.

Traditional Argentinian empanadas.

After a horseback riding experience, Jimena and her husband Pablo (chief winemaker of Chandon in Argentina) invited us to do a vertical tasting of Graffito. They opened Graffito’s old vines 100% Malbec and 100% Cabernet Franc going back from 2010, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 to 2017. To listen and taste with them was truly a magical learning experience. Jimena has been making wine since she was 18 years old and has dedicated her life to wine and teaching aspiring winemakers one of the oldest crafts in the world. She’s a scientist and an artist, her approach to wines is simple, take care of the vines and they will take care of you. The afternoon could not have gotten any better after tasting her wines and enjoying it with a traditional asado Argentino!  

Jimena’s story is inspiring, she recalls that when she decided to pursue a career in wine she attended the local university and she was the only female in her class:

“I had to do double the work to be successful as a winemaker. In a male dominated industry, I had to prove to myself that I can be the best to compete with my peers. It became a personal challenge, an obsession to learn, travel and develop my own style” A never-endless task that keeps me going.

As we finished the outdoor outing of delicious food and Graffito wines she reflected on the future of Argentinian wines:

“Argentina has a great future, we understand better our soils, have improved winemaking techniques with sharing vast scientific knowledge between industry peers and we are moving forward to diversify the landscape of Argentinian wines. More freshness, balance and sense of place.”

We say thank you, Jimena, for your inspiration, vamos que se puede!



Horseback riding in the ANDES!

Horseback riding in the ANDES!

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Wine Club is Cabernet Franc

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It’s that time of year! Birds are chirping, cherry trees are blossoming, and there’s a wonderful scent in the air...the scent of fired up grills!

Lots of wines go great with grilled food, from light, zippy rosé, to savory Carménère, to smoky Pipeño. All of these are amazing options, but we think if you really want to nail a backyard cookout, you should serve Cabernet Franc. We’ve picked two great grill buddies for you this month!

Cabernet Franc, affectionately known as “Cab Franc,” is actually the father grape of the more famous Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cab Franc and Sauv Blanc. Generally more austere and focused than Cab Sauv, Cab Franc is know for a distinct pepper (the food, not the spice) note, firm and structured tannins, herbal aromas, and tart, red and black fruit tones. Both of the wines are textbook examples of the grape, with their own unique qualities that make them special.

Other classic expressions of Cab Franc can be found in the Loire Valley in France within the appellations of Chinon and Bourgueil, and classic blending grape in Bordeaux and in the new world regions such cold climate Leyda and Casablanca valleys, in coastal Uruguay as well and of course in high altitude Argentina keeps getting better every vintage!

So why does Cab Franc work so well with grilled foods? For one, it integrates well with the flavors imparted by oak barrels, giving the wine a nice charred flavor that doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the wine. In addition, those structured tannins we mentioned form a foundation for the types of things that love being grilled, like steak, eggplant, and sweet potatoes. These same tannins also play well with slow cooked, smoky barbecue like brisket or pork ribs. The only thing we would caution on here: don’t go too heavy with a sweet barbecue sauce.

We’ll leave you with a few tips when pairing Cab Franc with your next grill session. First, be careful to keep the wine at the right temperature. Don’t be afraid to throw the bottle in the cooler for 5 to 10 minutes if it gets too hot.

Second, Cab Francs will overpower lighter fare, like salmon, grilled corn, and the accompanying salad, so reach for something more mild for those types of dishes.

Finally, don’t forget about the vegetables! It’s easy to only consider the meat when it comes to grilling, yet vegetables like asparagus, carrots, poblano peppers (this one is a must with Cab Franc!) and squash, when tossed with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika, can often be the stars of a grilled meal. There’s a reason why your gift this month is either rocoto paste or ají amarillo, both ingredients you can slather on any part of your menu who’s flavors pair nicely with the wines.

So fire up that grill and pop open this month’s Wine Club and enjoy Spring! The release party is this Sunday from 1 to 7pm.



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