sips & steps

Weekends are great because you have enough time to just go all out on whatever activity you choose. Running, for example.

Whereas I normally can find about an hour on a weekday to run, today was a glorious, schedule-less Sunday. Which left me time to meet up with the DC Road Runners. I covered 7 miles with them, 3 on my own!

We met at Fuse Pilates, a local fitness studio kind enough to host our Sunday runs.

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Fuse sounds like a really fun little fitness community. If I had more time and money I would totes join.

Anyways, this run was great! After yesterday’s soggy, sickly jog, I felt on top of the world.

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The Sunday morning stroll was pretty uneventful, but I did find a random boot. It’s on Calvert and 29th NW if anyone needs to dress up their right foot.

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So apart from running, I also went all out on wine this weekend. Anthony got me the best Christmas gift ever, but I think I also got him a pretty neat gift! I hooked us up with a private wine tasting at Maple.

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Aaron Keller, the bar manager, spent a little over two hours sipping and sharing with just us.

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We learned a ton and also drank some fantastic wines! We went on a “tour de Italy” and sampled a pinot grigio, barbera, barbaresco, sangiovese, and a nebbiolo. Plus a bit of prosecco.

Aaron was really knowledgeable and could answer all of our questions. Not only did he share some great pointers on tasting, purchasing, and describing everyday wines, he also seemed to know a lot about the history of wine and the wine industry.

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For wine beginners, here are some tips I thought were useful:

  • Most wines are either high in tannins (which make your mouth sort of dry after), or acid (which makes your moth sort of burn along the edges).
  • When tasting a wine, think about three categories of description: fruit, earth, and wood.
  • Champagnes usually don’t have a vintage (a year stamped on them) because most producers blend multiple years’ product into single bottles to make the best and most standardized taste. If you see a champagne with a year stamped on it, it’s probably a good champagne because the producers must have had an exceptional year.
  • More alcoholic wines are made from riper grapes and have longer, more defined “legs” (the wine that drips down the inside of the glass when you swirl it) than nonalcoholic wines.

Thank goodness I took some notes or else all that useful info would have washed away by the end of the evening…

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Anthony has lived on and off in Italy for years and particularly liked discussing the culture, politics, and geography that impacted particular regions. Salute, Italia!

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We also grilled Aaron about running a bar and the DC restaurant scene. DC is a pretty small place with a very diverse population, so it’s interesting to see how restaurants shape success in different neighborhoods. Maple is a pretty hip, small spot located on the east side of Columbia heights. It’s situated next to a diner, a hispanic bakery, a pizza shop, and a couple other small local bars.

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According to the 2010 census, Columbia Heights is composed as follows: 43.5 percent African american; 28.1 percent hispanic; 22.9 percent white. The median age is 31, and 58% of people are single. Median household income is $31,497. I don’t know if those numbers really paint a picture of this neighborhood, but anyways, I find this up-and-coming part of town sort of fascinating.

But, moving on. We had a tough time deciding which wine was our favorite of the family, but I think Anthony and I liked the barbaresco and the barbera the best. Not to mention that each wine was paired with yummy food to make each sip taste just that much better.

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A final pour of limoncello ended this awesome wining and dining adventure.

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Maple continues to be one of our favorite local bars. The end.

  • Do you know anything about wine?
  • How far did you run today?
  • What’s your favorite weekend hobby?
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7 comments

  1. Hey, you found my boot! How did that end up in DC!? I love weekend runs too! There is something about a lack of schedule that leads to the best runs of the week by far. I am just jealous you get to run around DC. I almost ended up moving there, and the Old Town area still has my heart.

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