Washington DC – Embassy Row to Chevy Chase

9.04am, Saturday 21st January, South President Ave, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

OK folks, yesterday was our first day ” on the job” over here, and it was straight into the nation’s capital to the Australian Embassy for us – to see our good mate Mac who looks after the Wine Locker there. Mac is easily one of the greatest advocates for the Australian Wine Industry anywhere in the world – it’s a passion for him, and that’s one of the main reasons why there is such an excellent representation of regions and styles from our wine world at home tucked away safely under our Embassy on Massachussets Avenue. We did a tasting here featuring our new 2010 Grenache Shiraz & Mataro combination “The Strapper”, and the new blend of the fabulous old fortified -the 21 Year Old Tawny. It’s a hive of activity at the Embassy at the minute, as they’re getting set up for tonight’s big Australia Day event in conjunction with the Australian American Association. ***More on that a bit later on!

It was here that we nearly crossed paths with Obama, as he was at a charity event at the hotel opposite the Embassy, and we got a rock star car park for Danielle’s ( our gal in Dc, Baltimore, Virginia and the Carolinas) soccer mom mini van right out the front – nearly crossed bumpers with the convoy of Chevy Suburbans with the flashing lights and blacked out windows!

Then it was out into the DC suburbs to Paul’s Liquors in Chevy Chase for an in store tasting from 5.30 – 8pm with our rock solid long term wine rep from Bacchus ( our distributor in Maryland & DC) Sal the Smooth…..in a very nice way! Sal has a tremendous friendship with the Bellmann family that owns Paul’s, so we were able to have our own Yalumba table with 4 wines, and Danielle looked after Nautilus on another bench. Paul’s is a bit of a DC wine lovers institution, as it’s been out on Wisconsin Avenue since 1951. Rick, Steve & Sonny Bellmann have had the store for the last 25 years, and have an excellent selection of the interesting things from both the Old and New wine worlds. Rick runs the in store tasting program, so it was very good of him to let us get up close and personal with his customers – and for a chilly old Friday night – we did see a lot of folks.

I had the 2010 Y Viognier, 2009 Y Shiraz Viognier, 2010 Strapper and 2008 Patchwork Shiraz, and a stack of booklets that we made up at the winery WITH all the “where is Yalumba and the Barossa Valley” maps! Here’s the good news – we sold out the Y Viognier within the first hour, and the Patchwork not long after. We had a lot of fun, talked a lot about Vintage just kicking off yesterday at Yalumba with some Sauvignon Blanc from the Riverland to get everything working and primed for the local Barossa fruit. And we talked a lot about what food styles would go with each. By the time we packed up at 8 pm, we were at the last bottle of Strapper and Shiraz Viognier as well!! A top Friday night out in Chevy Chase folks – thanks to Rick, Sal and Danielle – and a good karma start to our Yalumba Visits America trip.

And here’s the fab old neon sign that’s been on the front of the store since it was built. Rick was telling me that he’s just fixed up some of the old tubes, as it’s never moving!

We’ll be back to DC today at lunch time to do an in store tasting with Elliott at Wide World Of Wine, then it will be into our princess dresses and off to the Australia Day celebrations at the Embassy for us!! Bring on the boys in their dress uniforms, I think Danielle and I will be in for a good time this evening. We’ll let you know tomorrow how it all went.

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