Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Inauguration Weekend

I think this sums up the Inauguration weekend in DC perfectly.

I'm sure Jose Andres was referring to the terroir and the history of the wine in his remark above, but wine can be transportive to a place in one's memory. Almost none of the wines I had that weekend were particularly spectacular or of note, but because of the context in which I drank them, I will relive these incredible moments when I see one of the bottles.

We started the weekend off with dinner at Bobby Van's on Friday night. With a good portion of their wine list half-price on Friday and Saturday nights, it made sense budget-wise to order a bottle (not like it really takes that much to convince me to order a bottle). We went for a Jean-Luc Colombo Croze-Hermitage Syrah 2006.  It was a very traditional Rhone Syrah, with notes of plum, black pepper, tobacco on the nose and similar spicy and herbaceous notes following suit on the palate.  Medium bodied and structured with medium tannins, it made good friends with our filet mignons.

Saturday brought us to the DC Armory for National Day of Service.  The air vibrated as thousands of people turned out to help and the rainbow population of volunteers melded together in camaraderie to create kits of grooming essentials for overseas troops.


(Dr. Jill and Vice President Joe Biden making a speech at the Armory)

We spent the remainder of the day walking around the National Mall and playing tourist until it was time to get ready for the Kids' Concert at the Convention Center.

Come on now, when you hear Kids' Concert, don't you think of choirs of children singing their little hearts out?  We did, and we were wrong. So, so wrong.  Our first inkling came when Usher opened the show.  By the time the closing act, Katy Perry, sang her last song to the cheering 4-ft-tall-and-under crowd, all we could think was, damn, feels good to be a kid.

Hungry and thirsty, we ended up at Tony Cheng's for Chinese.  Prosecco seemed like a good match for the Asian cuisine and with a group of 20+ people it worked as a crowd-pleaser, so we went with Lamarca Prosecco. The lightly yeasty notes mingled with hints of peach, apricot and other orchard fruits.  The mild bubbles gave it a good mouthfeel without overwhelming our food.

Sunday found us at brunch with my college friend, her husband and new baby.  Their awesome blog,, has been gaining quite the following and it was invigorating to talk shop (and food!) with them.

(Kennedy Center from the Georgetown Waterfront)

After, we wandered Georgetown for a bit until it was time for dinner at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Zaytinya (home of the opening blog picture).  However, after trying to coordinate with 15 people at a tapas dinner, I needed a drink - badly.  Unfortunately, I can't accurately report back on my glass of wine; I ordered an Assyrtiko but what I received lacked the stony flintiness and minerality normally associated with the grape.  Most likely, I received my neighbor's Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon/Assyrtiko blend as I noted pineapple and tropical fruits in this glass.  Still delicious, though.

Then (drumroll please)..................

Inaguration Day!

6:15am and we're downstairs, bleary-eyed but ready to start the day.  After security checks, we headed to the Capitol Building.

Everyone has been asking what it felt like to be there and the best I can say is, I felt like an atom, a tiny floating particle in a large moving object.  I was a part of something much bigger than I, but this grandness existed because of each of us present. The crowds flowed, swelled and crested with each speech and with each oath.  Never in my life have I ever felt so singularly alone yet an integral part of something.

(see the teeny-tiny monument in the background?)
(stage right)

We were next driven to our viewing spot for the Inaugural Parade:

(on your right, the presidential viewing box)

 (our view behind bleachers, oh yeah)

(I can't decide if I felt safe or scared with all those rifles)

Finally, onward to.... The Ball! 

(main room)
(I really wanted to show off my shoes)
(Katy Perry doing her thing)
(Dupont Circle VIP room)

So, what did we drink at The Ball?  Patriotic event = domestic wines.  Black tie event = sparkling wine.  Put those together and I'm drinking Woodbridge Brut sparkling wine from California.  It was simple and accessible: a little peachy, a little yeasty, small bubbles. But, as I'm drinking it at the Inaugural Ball, it's the finest champagne. 

The evening culminated with a private dessert reception at the Biden residence.  More wine, hors d'oeuvres, dessert, a dance floor, live band....

(our gracious after-party host)

....and a late-night performance by Darren Criss from Glee.

I'm grateful for wine.  I'm grateful because serves as another source of memory.  Beyond seeing pictures, beyond hearing songs, it's another sensory experience that can bring me back to this particular moment in my life.

Keep tasting....