10.28.2010

Wine Stores We Love: Grape + Bean



This is the third installment of Wine Stores We Love from the team at EatMore DrinkMore.

By Missy Hyatt
EatMore DrinkMore

Grape + Bean is about as opposite of a wine super store as it gets. No mass
produced bottles and no need to wander down long aisles hoping a
colorful label catches your eye in this cozy Old Town rowhouse.


Owners
David Gwathmey and Sheera Rosenfeld pride themselves on working with
small distributors and choosing wines with distinct varietal character
and whose terroir — or the unique aspects of a place that influence and shape the wine — gives each bottle a distinct fingerprint.


The
staff is knowledgeable and personable, not only taking the time to
suggest wines based on what customers know they like, but also pushing
them out of their comfort zone by encouraging them to try something new.



Even as more room opens up within the 19th century row house
(they recently opened a section on the second level for private parties
and classes), Grape + Bean has a comfortable, neighborhood atmosphere
that — like a good cup of coffee or great glass of wine — has customers
coming back for more.


Before they decide to carry a product, David says all the wines, coffee, cheeses,
charcuterie and chocolate the shop sells are sampled. In addition, David says he loves passing on
great deals he gets from distributors to the customers.


A trio of wines to look for at Grape + Bean.
Courtesy EatMore DrinkMore




Here are three of his favorite bottles:

• Under $15

Garofoli Anfora Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico DOC 2009, $13

Tasting notes:

From a long standing winemaking family located in the Marche region of
central Italy, Verdicchio — a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and
Chardonnay — is a medium bodied dry white varietal that is fresh, fruity
and slightly nutty. David recommends pairing it with fresh fruit,
tomato or eggplant bruschetta, niçoise salad, or a simple, young
pecorino cheese.

• Under $30

Lioco Indica, Mendocino County 2008, $23

Tasting notes:

Lioco, a relatively new winery providing a fresh take on California
Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, also offers “Indica,” a wine more
reminiscent of California field blends from the past. The 2008 Lioco
blends old-vine Carignan (66%), Mourvedre (25%), and Petite Sirah (9%).
With a nose of violet and olive and rich flavors of black fruits and
spice, this versatile wine goes with a range of foods including pizza,
lamb burgers, barbecued swordfish, and steak. David particularly likes
Indica with roasted duck or carnitas.

• Under $50

Viñedos de Ithaca Odysseus White Label 2005, $40

Tasting notes:

Made from old vines planted in the deep slate soils of Priorat (south of
Barcelona), this wine comes from one of Grape + Bean’s favorite Spanish
producers. Aged for 12 months in exclusively French oak barrels, this
wine is a blend of Garnacha (45%), Cariñena (35%), Cabernet Sauvignon
(10%), Syrah, Touriga Nacional, and Petite Verdot (10%). With flavors of
mint, chocolate, red fruits, and mineral, this refined, balanced wine
pairs wonderfully with meat dishes such as braised lamb shank or short
ribs and is great with paella and other traditional Spanish rice dishes.


Grape
+ Bean is so much more than a wine store we love. First, I’d really be
doing them a disservice if I didn’t mention anything about the "bean"
in their name. They are passionate about their single-origin, fair trade
and eco-friendly coffee, which is all custom-brewed on a Clover coffee
machine. Trust me, they make a seriously good cup of java.


The shop also offers a full lunch and dinner menu, including artisanal
cheese and charcuterie plates, sandwiches and salads. And finally, Grape
+ Bean hosts interactive and affordable classes about wine, beer,
cheese and more. For upcoming classes, check out their site.

Grape + Bean
118 South Royal St., Alexandria
703.664.0214

Also check out:
Wine Stores We Love: Screwtop Wine Bar
Wine Stores We Love: Potenza Wine Shop


EatMore DrinkMore is a team food blog providing restaurant reviews, news,
recipes and generally anything food and drink related that we think is
awesome. When we’re not contributing to Metrocurean, you’ll find us
eating and drinking in the DC area and blogging about it on EatMore DrinkMore.
Also check out:
Wine Stores We Love: Screwtop Wine Bar
Wine Stores We Love: Potenza Wine Shop


EatMore DrinkMore is a team food blog providing restaurant reviews, news,
recipes and generally anything food and drink related that we think is
awesome. When we’re not contributing to Metrocurean, you’ll find us
eating and drinking in the DC area and blogging about it on EatMore DrinkMore.

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