Wine Tasting Encourages Shopping and Inspires Mardi Gras Fun

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Wine Cheese and Chocolate Tasting to benefit 100 Women Strong.  The event was held at Fortessa, manufacturers of fine tableware ... and the best kept secret in Loudoun County!  Marianne Frantz, sommelier and owner of the American Wine School, gave an enjoyable [read 'hilarious'] presentation on wine.  Some of her tips are shared below.  Later, as we tasted wine from Sunset Hills and Corcoran Vineyards and nibbled on cheese, crackers and chocolate, we were encouraged to SHOP!  Fortessa has an Outlet Center (with a separate clearance room) which is open to the public.  They offer fine china, colorful base plates, whimsical serving dishes, lots of stemware and even nice flatware - and the prices are amazing!  I encourage you to visit, especially if you are shopping for new wine glasses for an upcoming cocktail party ... or something like that.

 I shopped.  I quickly found cute fruity cocktail glasses.  At the time, I was envisioning cool refreshing cocktails on the deck this summer but today, I thought these glasses - with their chubby bubble - could easily be used for a Mardi Gras party. Laissez les bon temps rouler!!

Food and Wine Pairing [Basic] Tips from the American Wine School
This is excellent and practical guidance for your next dinner or cocktail party!

Rich fatty foods pair with full-bodied Charadonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah.

Sweet foods need sweeter wine.  Keep the apparent sweetness of the dish less than the apparent sweetness of the wine.

Spicy, salty, smoked foods require fruity, low alcohol wines that have no tannins and no oak like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.

High-acid foods require high-acid wines.  Foods like goat cheese, tomatoes, citrus need wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel or Pinot Noir.

Finding similarities and contrasts of flavor is subjective.  So taste the food, sample the wine and trust your palate! 


  1. Sherry Spinelli9:27 PM

    Oh Ashleigh, I wish I could have gone with you. It sounds like a wonderful evening. If there's anything more to share please do so.

    Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Sherry! We should go shopping some day; it would be so much fun! They have lots of wine glasses =)