Do you love to dance? I do…I mean I REALLY love to dance, but it seems like as you get older unless you are involved in some kind of club or class, you seldom get the chance to break it down except in the privacy of your bathroom. Not that I do that of course 😉
A few weeks ago, we went with some friends to Tarara Winery in Lucketsville for a concert event.
A quick walk down memory lane, Tarara was the first winery I tasted after moving to the DMV (that’s DC, Maryland, Virginia for the outsiders) area back in 2003. I vaguely remember the details from tasting at Tarara, I’m not sure whether I should blame that on my age or the wine. Regardless, I do remember liking several of them, so much in fact that my two closest friends and I visited Tarara several times a year. There is a fantastic little porch in the woods outside the tasting room and they welcome picnics which meant we were free to pack WAY too much food for 3 people and head out there on a Saturday to buy a bottle (or 2 or 3) of their wine and relax.
The tasting room was pretty cool in that you walk through a short tunnel framed in stones…almost as if you are walking into a cave. I remember the staff being fun and friendly especially considering back then I had no idea what I was doing. Swirl the glass…now I remember that’s how my favorite sweater got stained. Oh yes, I definitely had no clue what I was doing but I was pretty sure I fooled them when I spied the group next to us sniffing their glasses and I did the same.
Who are we kidding, I am sure the staff was fun and friendly because they were laughing their butts off the minute we bought our bottle and headed to the porch. Nothing like cheap entertainment, although years later I am pretty sure we weren’t the only people they ever poured for that were a bit green.
Fast forward some years. I moved away to Washington State for work for a few years and then moved back to the DMV. One of the first things I wanted to do that first autumn back was visiting Tarara with my friends and enjoy the porch once again. When we got to the winery, we learned that it had changed ownership during my absence.
The facility looked much the same, but as we did our wine tasting, we found they no longer made the wines we had grown so fond of. Many of them were blends and we were quite disappointed. Now to be fair, I really like some blends now and I wish I could travel back and taste those wines again because I have a feeling we were much more disappointed that it was not the Tarara we remembered and we didn’t give the new Tarara a fair chance.
When Kris and I decided to go to the concert event earlier this month, I was excited to finally get back to taste the wines and show off my fancy swirling techniques without sloshing it all over myself! As I looked at the website to see what kinds of wines we would expect to try, I found that the new owners had really grown the property in leaps and bounds. They created a concert area where you can bring your picnics and enjoy music outside while drinking their wines. What a great idea!
So, I packed up the cooler bag (I have not gotten any better at portion planning…so of course, we had enough food to feed half the crowd) and headed off with our friends to see the show. Many of you may know who the Legwarmers are, they are an 80s tribute band that has been around for years and they routinely play at the State Theater in Arlington, VA. Kris and I saw them a few winters ago and it was fantastic! Folks dress up in their 80s best, though not required, and dance like you are in middle school while singing along to some of the most fun songs from that generation. I promise I was equally excited for the wine and music as I was for the opportunity to dance.
Upon arrival, I realized that I had messed up. I read online that the gates open at 5 pm, so we figured getting there around 4-4:30 pm would mean we would have our pick of spots to set up our picnic camp in full view of the outdoor stage. I was wrong. The place was already packed. Now, it wasn’t a complete bust because we did find a spot, but it was a bit of a bummer that apparently the insider knowledge comes in handy there and you can come much earlier than the website indicates. Oh well, we now know for next time…and now, so do you!
So we really didn’t have time to enjoy the tasting experience up at the winery, but there was a booth set up where you could purchase their wines by the bottle. We opted to try two different kinds. The 2014 Cab Franc and the 2014 Killer Cluster Galets. I was excited about the Cab Franc because I had read that Tarara won an award for it.
Rewind some years, when I first tasted Cab Francs they almost always tasted very green/young, but tasting them years later, they definitely got better. Tarara’s was good, not a big wine but earthy and easy to drink. I would buy it again. The Killer Cluster Galets was a nice blend, again not very big, but it had some vanilla notes in it which are some of my favorite characteristics in a red.
We had a fantastic time at the concert, the setup for the stage and dance area was perfect and the sound was awesome. Of course, I got to dance all evening and despite my efforts to not sing along too much, I was still hoarse the next morning. It was well worth it for the fun and we’ll be keeping an eye out next spring to see what performers are lined up for the 2018 Summer Concert Series. Just so you know, there are still a number of shows scheduled for 2017!
Concert aside, we will definitely be packing a picnic and heading back to the winery to do a full tasting and enjoy a bottle on the porch in the woods. The website has quite an extensive list but it is unclear what you get to taste so it will have to be a surprise when we go.