DC Wine Week, founded by Lisa Byrne and Vanessa French, is a week-long celebration dedicated to enjoying wine, wine education, and an opportunity to help support the area’s growing local wineries, wine shops, wine bars, restaurants, and merchants. Ristorante I Ricchi hosted CIAO BELLA! an Italian Wine Fest on Wednesday, October 16, which featured 16 wines representing a vast selection of Italian varietals accompanied by a selection of Italian bites. This event was an excellent opportunity to become further exposed to and learn about Italian wine!
The event was hosted on I Ricchi’s outdoor patio on a beautiful DC fall evening. 4 wine tables were placed strategically around the patio to allow for plenty of room for mingling guests. Each table featured 4 wines (two whites, two reds) and was represented by a different DC wine retail store whose representatives was knowledgeable and provided an overview of each wine and answered any questions. Varietals were vast and ranged from the unfamiliar Greco to the more well-known Sangiovese. While I tasted a number of excellent wines, my personal favorites included a Barbera d’Asti - Damilno, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - Fattoria Del Cerro, and a Dolcetto - Maracarini Boschi Di Berri.
Chef Christianne Ricchi offered a number of delicious bites to accompany the featured wines, including 5 Italian cheeses, two types of focaccia, fresh salami, and two small bites. Chef Ricchi said one of her goals is for her customers to educate their palettes and eliminate any intimidation when confronted with unfamiliar varietals by a simple concept – “taste the wine!” She’s absolutely right – one of the best ways to learn about wine is to try a number of different varietals to learn what really speaks to you. Every palette is individual.
In the future, the founders would love to expand DC Wine Week by partnering with additional local restaurants, wine shops, and experts to further involve the DC community with all of the wine resources our area has to offer. One of their goals is to provide an opportunity for Washingtonians to learn about wine in a relaxed and fun setting, and I’ll say – mission accomplished!